A new agreement has been signed between AHDB and Defra setting out how AHDB could develop a new multi-species livestock traceability service for England.
The initiative was instigated by key industry stakeholders and is set to be rolled out from 2019.
Activity will take place over the next few months to undertake due diligence and develop a target operating model for the new service. That detailed work will enable a final decision on whether to proceed with the collaboration to be taken in the autumn.
This development follows the announcement from Defra in April about the go-ahead of the service, providing the foundation for some of the best farm-to-fork traceability in the world. The heads of agreement was signed during a visit to AHDB’s Stoneleigh Park headquarters by Farming Minister George Eustice.
Key stakeholders represented by the Traceability Design User Group (TDUG), including the NPA, have been involved in developing the vision and design principles and determining how all parties can work together.
The aim is that the new service will add value for the livestock sectors, as well as providing a statutory service that will better protect against disease and bolster trade negotiations.
AHDB chief executive Jane King said: “AHDB is in a unique position to be able to lead the collaboration between government and industry in order to deliver a future traceability service which is truly transformational.
“By working closely with industry through TDUG we will ensure that the needs of the user are at the heart of the developing service, resulting in a system that delivers for farmers and processors across the livestock sectors.
“As we prepare to leave the EU, a robust service delivering farm-to-fork traceability is fundamentally important to the future health of livestock farming in this country. Being able to evidence our world-leading production standards for quality meat and livestock products will continue to set us apart from our competitors.”
Farming Minister George Eustice said: “We have been clear from the start that we need government and industry to work together in providing this service, which is why I am pleased to see this next stage of delivery underway.
“The service will be instrumental in improving traceability and ensuring we continue to provide some of the best meat and livestock products in the world.”
John Cross, independent chair of TDUG, said: “It is essential that the service is delivered in partnership with industry. It must underpin on-farm productivity and enable better management of risks to animal health in order to connect our supply chain, help us to evidence our high standards of production and protect and access markets both at home and internationally.”
The Traceability Design User Group (TDUG) is a group comprising industry and government representatives who provided guidance to the Livestock Information Programme. Its members are:
Animal and Plant Health Agency
Animal Health & Welfare Board for England
Approved Livestock Identification Manufacturers’ Association
Association of Independent Meat Suppliers
British Horse Council
British Meat Processing Association
British Pig Association
Food Standards Agency
Harper Adams University
HCC (Meat Promotion Wales)
Livestock Auctioneers Association
National Beef Association
National Farmers Union
National Pig Association
National Sheep Association
Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers
Rural Payments Agency