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Celebration of British beef for farmers

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: May 18, 2014

By Belinda Hargreaves

Peter Pearson, who farms at Longsden, near Leek, with Karen Bradley MP in London.

Peter Pearson, who farms at Longsden, near Leek, with Karen Bradley MP in London.

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A Staffordshire Moorlands farmer has visited Parliament to take part in a celebration of British beef and to lobby MPs about important sector issues.

The NFU event, which included farmers from across Staffordshire, Worcestershire and Herefordshire, was part of the two-week Great British Beef Week ( GBBW) campaign led by Ladies in Beef, which drew to a close on Friday, May 3.

The House of Commons lunchtime reception was organised to promote British beef and the importance of the suckler industry.

The NFU and its members spoke with MPs about GBBW to highlight some of the challenges facing the sector and invited politicians to champion what is a great tasting product, produced to world beating standards.

Peter Pearson, who farms at Longsdon, near Leek, with his wife, Gwyneth, converted to beef farming from dairying back in 2009.

He now has a beef suckler herd and a longhorn beef box scheme selling direct to the public.

He said: "I got out of dairying when Dairy Farmers of Britain went bust in 2009.

"We got into suckler cows and run a longhorn beef box scheme.

"We only slaughter eight to 10 longhorns a year and the rest of the commercial sucklers, 35 of them, run across 100 acres.

"It's a small farming area so there's always competition for land and not much comes up for sale.

"The upland areas are struggling because people can't afford to run suckler herds and the heifer numbers are going down, which doesn't look good for the future.

"I support initiatives like GBBW because farmers are struggling to make a living from beef and the numbers of cattle are going down.

"To keep the countryside looking like it does we need livestock farmers, so you need an initiative to relate farming to this so that the consumer can relate to it."

Karen Bradley, Staffordshire Moorlands MP and Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Home Office, said: "Agriculture and farming is absolutely integral to Britain.

"In my constituency we have got the only surviving livestock market in Staffordshire at Leek and I was there at Easter and know how incredibly important it is.

"I hope people see and understand what a fantastic product our beef is.

"Agriculture and farming is absolutely integral to Britain and I hope people see and understand that from this campaign.

"If you buy a rib of beef on a Sunday it will feed your family for days; it's fantastic quality, you know where it's come from and you know it's been looked after to the highest standard.

"It always also seemed to me that it was a bit of a no-brainer that British produce should be bought for schools, hospitals and the rest of the public sector where possible.

"Encouraging this would help create a market for some cuts that are not necessarily as attractive or popular over the counter.

"The best bit of my job is spending time with my constituents and hearing what they have to tell me, and while my voice is here in Parliament there's nothing better than being at home in the Moorlands.

"I always find it useful hearing what farmers have to say about the industry and their produce is the best."

Farming: Page 42

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