Lambs to slaughter: A New Zealand perspective at Murrayfield

The chairman of Beef + Lamb New Zealand Ltd, the farmer-owned industry organisation representing New Zealand's sheep and beef farmers, will give a key note address at a special conference next month focussing on the Scottish lamb supply chain.

The conference, taking place at Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh on Wednesday 5th October, will strip apart the entire chain, from farm to plate, and examine how to improve communications and efficiencies along the various links of the chain.

James Parsons, the chair of Beef + Lamb New Zealand Ltd, will outline his experiences of the supply chain in New Zealand, a country which has traditionally been a big competitor of the Scottish red meat sector.

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Conference organiser, Ian Watson, chairman of Farm Stock (Scotland) Ltd, commented: “As a key link in the red meat supply chain, sourcing prime lambs and beef animals direct from farm, Farm Stock (Scotland) Ltd has been involved in various initiatives and projects to try and create greater efficiency in the chain.

“In a recent project in the Scottish Borders we worked with our farmer members to look at how they might secure better returns by having a greater understanding of the needs of others in the supply chain.”

Mr Watson continued: “We are now rolling this discussion out to a national level and have invited farmers and key stakeholders from across Scotland and the meat industry to attend our conference on 5th October.

“A question that often comes to the fore in such discussions, especially as we now look ahead to a post-Brexit marketplace, is how can our farmers better compete with imported meat. I am delighted that James Parsons has accepted our invitation to speak at the conference; what better way to gain a better understanding and knowledge of our competitors than to hear from them - and quiz them - first hand?”

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Fergus Ewing, Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity, is set to give the opening address to the conference, his first major speech on the red meat supply since taking office earlier this year.

The conference will also hear a farmer’s perspective, from Marcus Maxwell, director of the Galloway Lamb marketing group and the views of Jonathan Birnie, head of agriculture and research at Dunbia Ltd, the major international red meat processor.

Afternoon sessions will focus on the retail and consumer ends of the chain represented by Steve McLean, head of agriculture and fisheries sourcing at Marks and Spencer plc, and Nathan Ward, business unit director for meat, fish and poultry from Kantar Worldpanel, respectively.

“I am hugely enthusiastic about the quality of the information and discussion that each of our speakers will bring to Murrayfield,” Mr Watson continued.

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“I would encourage any members of our six marketing groups, which cover the Southern half of Scotland and the northern counties of England, to attend the conference and would also welcome any of our other farmer customers and those from further afield and from different sections of the chain - from livestock hauliers to butchers and chefs - as I see this as a great opportunity to work out how primary producers can better meet the needs of those further up the chain and how efficiency can be improved throughout the chain to the benefit of all concerned.”

The Lamb Supply Chain Conference is being hosted by Farm Stock (Scotland) Ltd as part of the co-operative’s efforts to celebrate its achievements in the 20 years since it was established in 1996 by the joining together of two lamb marketing groups in the Borders. Since then well over three million lambs and 100,000 prime cattle have been handled by Farm Stock.

The conference takes place within Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh on Wednesday 5th October, for further details please contact [email protected].