Beef and lamb sector plan

We cannot ignore the significant challenges ahead for beef and lamb, with tension points around our reputation, major changes to farm policy and direct funding, a volatile global trading environment and the need to become more efficient in producing a highly valued product in a way that creates resilience for the future.

However the outlook can be positive for the English beef and sheep sectors at home and overseas. This is being driven by a rising global middle class, consumers who love the taste and nutritional benefits of red meat and more opportunities in valuable markets.

Over the next five years, everything needs to be absolutely focused on reputation, both with consumers, and far more commitment to the progress and adaptations required on farm to create a profitable and environmentally sustainable sector, able to make bold, proud reputational claims.

These are the areas we need to address:

  • How do we make the most of the opportunities and prepare for the impacts of leaving the European Union? Key to this are changing global trade patterns and adapting to a world outside of CAP.
  • How do we work together on farm performance to ensure that farm profitability and productivity is such that we can enhance and deliver on key areas of reputation?
  • How do we work together to drive exports, and communicate better our credentials around reputation domestically to ensure consumers continue to enjoy British beef and lamb?

* Beef and lamb in England only

Growing our markets at home and overseas


  • We will continue to build on our international export activity. This has seen us partner with Government, veterinary experts and processors to open up market access for beef and lamb in countries such as the US, China and Japan. Growing markets in this way helps support domestic farmgate prices.

  • Using our latest global consumer and market insight, we will continue to support existing market opportunities for beef and lamb in Europe and Asia. We will do this through having specialist staff on the ground in key markets, providing expertise and support.

  • We will focus our consumer marketing campaigns towards driving a longer-term positive shift in consumer attitudes towards beef and lamb to underpin a thriving market at home. This will be done by communicating the positive health benefits of red meat and demonstrating how the English beef and lamb sector will track and continually improve its environmental record.

  • We will continue to use the current Industry Reputation Working Group to bring farmers, processors and industry organisations together to develop, share and fund activities which can be used by all in strengthening the confidence of consumers that purchasing beef and lamb is a positive choice.

Improving farm performance

  • To truly support our industry in achieving strong reputational credentials requires focus on the greatest impacts. We will narrow the areas of our research and on-farm delivery programme and specialise in those areas which are vital to support the wider reputation of beef and lamb – these are genetics, enhanced animal health to reduce antibiotic usage and the environment (including soil and grassland management)

  • In partnership with others in the sector, we will expand our network of Strategic Farms, increasing this network will help farmers share best practice in better business planning and improving their environmental footprint. This will be done through providing a tool to track performance in key areas to help farmers improve their profitability and underpin the reputation of red meat.

  • We will continue to support the Livestock Information Service (LIS) to ensure a quicker, convenient, and more practical way for farmers and the supply chain to record animal movement data. LIS will help the sector to better manage and respond to disease outbreaks, as well as providing a system with added value in longer term areas such as recording animal medicine usage and bringing together national data to power genetic improvements.

  • We will continue to support the industry’s BVD Free initiative in England to eradicate this costly disease from British herds.

Learn about our current beef and lamb work


Download a copy of the full strategy proposal

Change Programme and Strategy 2021-2026 (PDF)

Have your say...

Feed back on the AHDB strategy using our online form

The closing date for feedback is January 31, 2021

To feed back via email, please send your response to strategy2021@ahdb.org.uk

Alternatively, you can send us your feedback by mail at: AHDB Strategy Feedback, AHDB, Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, CV8 2TL

Town Hall meetings

You are welcome to join our series of sector-focused town hall meetings on our strategy, running from December to January 2021.

This is your opportunity to ask questions on the strategy and feed back on your sector’s plan.

  • 14 December to 28 January – Horticulture 
  • 7 January 2021 – Dairy, Pork, Potatoes 
  • 13 January 2021 – Beef & Lamb 
  • 15 January 2021 – Cereals & Oilseeds 
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