Scottish farmer-led group beefs up against climate change

It will consider proposals for alternative ways to support the suckler sector mitigate its environmental impact and identify practical ways to reduce emissions

A new farmer-led group has been set up in Scotland to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions within the suckler herd.

The Scottish Government has chosen Jim Walker, former President of National Farmers Union, Scotland, to co-chair the group, which will consider proposals for alternative ways to support the suckler sector mitigate its environmental impact.

The group will also identify practical ways in which the sector can reduce its emissions.

In addition, it will produce recommendations to improve the efficiency, productivity and profitability of Scottish beef, including changes to breeding and feeding practises and the restoration and improvement of natural on-farm habitats.

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “Our beef sector must change and adapt if we are to meet our ambitious climate change and biodiversity targets.

“While our Programme for Government has already set out sets in response to the climate emergency, I have asked Jim Walker to chair a farmer-led group to specifically look at what our beef suckler herd needs to do and bring forward initial proposals next month.

“I have been clear that our farmers, crofters and land managers are part of the climate solution. But equally, I am clear that achieving our legally binding commitments will require everyone to consider what they can do to ensure they play their part in driving the sector towards a low carbon, sustainable future.”

Mr Walker added providing progressive beef farmers with the tools to make their businesses more productive and efficient, alongside measures to reduce emission to tackle climate change, could be “game changing”.

He said: “Naturally reared, climate-friendly Scotch suckler bred beef needs to be differentiated from imports and dairy beef to give consumers a clear choice. This initiative will give those farmers who want to be involved a real chance of delivering this, helping make their businesses more robust.”

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