Farm standards review – Beef & Lamb

During 2024, we will be exploring and evidencing farmgate production standards in England and comparing them against those of key international markets around the world.

To drive forward our world-leading industry and the reputation that underpins it, we are producing a series of independently reviewed reports to evidence the current position regarding farmgate production standards – at both a regulatory and voluntary level – in England.

The reports will deliver clear evidence to support crucial discussions for the beef and lamb sector, including the impact of standards on farmgate returns, the involvement of the wider supply chain in conversations about future standards, and maximising value from higher standards when it comes to market access or higher prices.

They will inform the future direction of our industry and show how our standards compare with others around the world.

This work will be essential to support wider industry assessments of our current landscape, while supporting and progressing our key focus areas of marketing and exports.  

Farm assurance review latest updates

We will be comparing standards in England with those in:

  • Australia and New Zealand (April 2024)
  • Key EU countries (July 2024)
  • North America (September 2024)
  • South America – Brazil (November 2024)

Australia and New Zealand

The review delivers a clear comparison of the different standards and regulatory requirements faced within two key markets for the English beef and lamb sector.

The findings can be used to inform the future direction of key industry initiatives and underpin the broader farm assurance review

Key findings

Baseline legislation and guidelines are available across all markets compared, Australia offers a more complex baseline to assess due to a mix of federal and state legislation.

The level of audit of national regulations is a major challenge, leading to the need for voluntary schemes to provide and demonstrate additional assurance.

Key voluntary assurance schemes are available in all countries. The dominant scheme in each nation was chosen for this study, as follows:

  • Livestock Production Assurance (Australia)
  • New Zealand Farm Assurance Programme (NZAP)
  • Red Tractor Beef and Lamb Standards (England)

Download the full report: Australia and New Zealand

How has this report been delivered?  

This report has been delivered by Birnie Consultancy*, focusing on both the underpinning legislation and key voluntary assurance standards within each country of focus.

The report was independently reviewed by four experts: 

  • Jude Capper – Livestock Sustainability Consultant 
  • Nigel Scollan – Queens University, Institute of Global Food Security 
  • Mandy Lucas – Farm Animal Welfare Consultant 
  • Jonathan Statham – Veterinary Surgeon and Livestock Sustainability Consultant 

Once all four experts and Birnie Consultancy were supportive of the report, it was then released to AHDB for circulation.

The report provides a robust, stringent and ardently independent summary of the current landscape.  

*Birnie Consultancy is a solutions-driven consultancy working with primary and secondary food processors, farmers, supermarkets, levy bodies, research institutions and governments across the UK and Europe.

If you have questions or wish to discuss this review of farm standards, get in touch via: