A new farmer-led climate group has launched to reduce carbon emissions and usher in a step change in the Scottish beef sector.
The group will be co-chaired by former NFU Scotland President Jim Walker and will consider proposals for alternative ways to support the suckler sector mitigate its environmental impact and identify practical ways in which it can reduce its emissions.
It will also 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.
“Our beef sector must change and adapt if we are to meet our ambitious climate change and biodiversity targets,” said Scotland’s Rural Economy Secretary, Fergus Ewing.
“While our Programme for Government has already set out steps 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 improve on farm emissions to help fight climate change, is yet another chapter in this story and is potentially game changing.
“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.”