ABP announces £1.5 million investment in beef & lamb sustainability programme

The beef & lamb processor ABP has announced an investment of £1.5 million in a sustainability programme which will support 350 of its farmer suppliers across the U.K. and then share wider learnings across the UK beef and sheep sectors.

The new programme, called PRISM 2030, will provide participating farmers with a support framework initially over 2-3 years. Its aim is to help them to improve their carbon footprint and sustainability across the entirety of the farm. The detailed programme will include assessment of carbon footprint, soil health, water use and support biodiversity creation and resource efficiency.

Support from Harper Adams University and The Andersons Centre will ensure that farmers have direct and ongoing access to the very latest environmental innovations and methodologies. A sustainability grant will also be available, alongside peer-to-peer learning and expert advice throughout.  Andersons will focus on carbon assessments as well as other sustainability benchmarking. Professor Jude Capper will lead input from Harper Adams to indicate what areas each producer could be focusing on over the duration of the project to achieve most gains.

Commenting, Dean Holroyd, Group Technical and Sustainability Director for ABP, said; “British red meat production is amongst the most sustainable in the world, but we can and must do more because as an industry. We are well placed to be part of the climate solution.”

Explaining his decision to take part in PRISM the Northern Irish beef farmer Sam Chesney said, “Farmers can be a major part of the climate change solution, as potential carbon mitigators, and the PRISM process will enable us to demonstrate and measure that potential.”

“British beef is often broad-brushed with the rest of the world. We are already engaging in carbon audits and although the results are very good, they don’t currently take in to account our grasslands or hedges. We hope through this process we can demonstrate that with all measurements considered we are well on our way to being a net zero operation.”

The Co. Down sheep farmer Crosby Cleland is also participating in the programme. He said, “I’ve found throughout my farming career that to be able to compare with others gives me a drive to make positive changes that will help both financially and in regard to climate.

“Gathering data is extremely important and is a key component of the PRISM project – we all need to know where we are performing well and badly, so we can identify improvements that can be made and drive the industry forward. Only then can we turn the target on farming’s back and send a clear message why exactly UK farming is ahead of the world when it comes to animal welfare, quality assurance and climate mitigation. We are constantly progressing, and this work will capture some of these efforts.”