This year’s NBA Beef Expo event will focus on the future of the industry in a year of political change through various seminars on the day.

Government and shadow ministers, MPs, supermarket procurement directors, breeders, and farmers will shine a light into the future of the British beef industry to be staged North West Auctions, J36, on April 27.

“The seminar programme covers some fundamental issues for our industry at a particularly challenging time,” said NBA CEO Neil Shand.

“The industry is facing political uncertainty with a looming General Election casting doubt over future government policy, and high inflation and rising costs have put enormous pressure on the economics of raising and supplying food to consumers in this country.

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“We are extremely grateful for the time and trouble our speakers are taking to come to Beef Expo to discuss these issues with breeders and farmers who need to know how to plan their way forward.

“I am absolutely certain that we can expect packed audiences absorbing every word, and our panelists are primed to expect some extremely penetrating questions from the floor at the end of each seminar,” he added.

Food, Farming and Finance

The first seminar, Food, Farming and Finance, will call on the three main political parties to explain how they will support farming after the General Election, expected this autumn.

Speakers include: Mark Spencer MP, minister of state for food, farming and fisheries; Daniel Zeichner MP, Labour’s shadow minister for environment, food and rural affairs; and Tim Farron, Cumbrian MP and the Liberal Democrat spokesperson for environment, food and rural affairs.

They will be joined by Prys Morgan, livestock procurement director at meat processor, Kepak.

State of the Industry Survey

In the second seminar, the panel will discuss the results of the Farmers Weekly State of the Industry Survey which are due to be published prior to the event.

The speakers, who will present their own analysis of the results, include: John Powell, Defra deputy leader, head of agriculture sectors team; Meleri Griffith, Ireland and UK growth manager, Herdwatch; Sarah Haire, head of agriculture, Dunbia; Tom Spears and Stuart Duff from KW Feeds; and beef farmer and vice-chair of the NBA, Ben Harman.

Building Bridges from Farm Gate to Basket

Building Bridges from Farm Gate to Basket will give beef farmers the opportunity to hear from senior representatives of the UK’s biggest supermarkets and how the industry can build better relationships with its principal customers.

In a global marketplace where major chains can source their meat from anywhere in the world, how can UK beef producers secure a viable future supplying British beef of the highest quality and value?

Chaired by Alice Swift, CEO of the British Limousin Society, the panel of speakers for this seminar includes: Steve McLean, head of agriculture and fisheries for M&S Food; Chris Brown, senior director sustainable supply chains, Asda; Joseph Keating, senior agriculture manager, Co-op; Nick Rose, buying director, Aldi; and Laurie Ibbotson, commercial director, Dovecote Park, which is the leading meat processor for Waitrose.

AHDB – Sucklers Without Subsidy

In the final seminar, AHDB – Sucklers Without Subsidy, the panel will address the existential question facing many beef farmers today: In a world without a basic payment scheme, is there a place within a financially sustainable farming business for suckler cattle, or are they just part of our land management toolkit?

Speakers include: Cumbrian beef farmers Claire Beaumont and Ruari Martin; and Andrew Robinson from Amstrong Watson, a leading farm business adviser and accountant.

Neil Shand concluded: “We hope that these seminars will give our beef producers some important insights into the political and economic factors that will directly affect their future.

“Livestock farming is a multi-generational way of life, and we hope the politicians, the supermarkets and the processors will offer their commitment to the industry and to the dedicated people who supply British consumers with the best beef in the world.”