Farming News - Independent report on beef and lamb production standards released

Independent report on beef and lamb production standards released

The first of four reports evidencing current competitive English farmgate production standards for the beef and lamb sector has been released by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).


The independent reports will help inform the future direction of the industry by comparing the voluntary assurance standards and regulatory requirements of the English beef and lamb sector with other key suppliers from around the world. The first report compares English standards to Australia and New Zealand. This will be followed by three further reports throughout 2024, as well as a report on Cereals & Oilseeds in the summer.

Will Jackson, AHDB Divisional Director (Engagement), said: "This report delivers a clear comparison of the different standards and regulatory requirements with two key competitors for English beef and lamb. By the end of 2024 we will have a series of reports evidencing where we stand compared to other important suppliers around the globe.

"Together, these four 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.

"The output of this work will also be essential in the wider industry assessment of the challenges ahead and provide important evidence for others, such as the recently announced independent Farm Assurance Review. It will also be central in helping AHDB to underpin our messaging in key areas, such as marketing and exports.

"The importance of this work is based on the fact that all the investigations are independently reviewed by industry experts to ensure accuracy and eliminate bias."

The beef and lamb 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 has been independently reviewed by the following 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 

Nicholas Saphir, AHDB Board Chairman, said: "The AHDB Beef & Lamb and Cereals & Oilseeds sector councils are focused on delivering their sector plans, based on helping levy payers succeed in challenging times. In order to develop programmes that support our industry and the reputation that underpins it, this series of independent reports will establish evidence of our current competitive position regarding production standards and importantly help inform the future of our industry."

The timeline for the beef and lamb reports is as follows:

  • April 2024: Australia and New Zealand standards
  • July 2024: Key EU country standards
  • September 2024: North America standards
  • November 2024: South America (Brazil) standards

A report on Cereals assurance and UK imports is planned for Summer 2024.

For more information, including a copy of the report, visit: