THE nation’s favourite foodie week is returning from this weekend – from April 23 to 30, the Great British Beef Week is celebrating its 11th year of supporting Britain’s beef production and local farmers.

This year, it will focus on recognising and highlighting British beef famers and the work they do to support sustainable production practices and the passion behind it, and it wants to celebrate all the great things British farmers do to make British farming one of the most sustainable in the world.

British farming is also aiming to reach net zero GHG emissions by 2040 and working to achieve further production efficiencies is a key part of this, so managing land in a sustainable way is a fundamental of that aim.

This includes farming regeneratively, improving grasslands and paddock grazing, planting trees, maintaining wildflowers and flower rich meadows for the bee population, or harvesting and giving cattle rainwater to drink. 

British beef production has a carbon footprint of just less than half the global average and reflects the hugely important and positive work farmers are putting in every day.

This week, it is heroing ‘Ladies in Beef’ across Scotland and the UK, so The Scottish Farmer managed to talk to Denise Walton, of Peelham Farm, Foulden, Berwickshire, who shared her passion about the beef she produces from Aberdeen-Angus cattle and how her family is committed to delivering high-quality red meat for consumers to enjoy.


Denise also runs the farm’s on-site butchery which offers a range of beef products, including charcuterie, direct to consumers, as well as butchery courses. Running a very much family business and farming 650 acres of mainly beef animals – having increased their herd by 50% in the last five years to 150 sucklers – as well as running a flying flock of sheep for their own on-farm butchery and outdoor free range pigs, the family is certainly always kept busy!

As a result of the family's hard work and attention to detail, the farm butchery quadrupled in size over the last year. “We have been looking to expand our butchery for some time now and it has been in the planning for a long time. The pandemic exposed us to a totally different market, with the online side of things as well as the growing market for beef, lamb and pork direct from the farmer,” said Denise.

“GBBW is a wonderful opportunity to hook our brand on. For Ladies in Beef and a woman in agriculture, it is really important that we promote the positive message about Scottish beef, especially now.

“It has always been challenging being a woman in agriculture due to the stereotypes with farming being male dominated, however we have been the ones behind the scenes and are increasingly more involved in the industry.

“Women in farming businesses drove the opening of farmers markets to sell their farm products and women also tend to be our biggest customers. We very quickly picked up directly from our customers what they are looking for and we need to act on that.

“Women in farming businesses selling direct have tended to do most of the marketing and brand development based on what our customers want,” she added.


Just like any business, product diversity is crucial to having a strong future and not leaving all your eggs in one basket, to pardon the pun.

“Dealing with an industry that is so volatile, diversity has never been so important. We need to watch the consumer behaviour and adapt to what they want,” she added.

“The ongoing behaviour as the preference to plant-based products – I do not believe to be a threat to our industry, I think of it is a challenge. And challenges teach us and show us opportunities, we need to understand our consumers anxieties and overcome them as to why beef is the answer.

“There is a very strong future with the opportunities that are on the horizon for our industry, but there is no future for the status quo. We have to be seen to be acting!” added Denise.

The industry has always got to be going that one step further to be ahead and for a voice of the industry to be heard is vital in succeeding.

“We have got to have the policy and government support behind us, we have got a good message to show them, so they need to back us. Farmers manage the bulk of the land in the UK, we have the solution under our feet for carbon neutral, biosecurity and climate change, they have got to work with us, and we can make the best of that solution.

“We need to be part of the solution and not the problem,” concluded Denise.