New chair for North East task force

A group set up to help farmers in the North East and beef up the value and importance of the red meat industry has announced its new chairman.

The North East Red Meat Industry Task Group has appointed farmers' son Warren Butterworth, 58, to the role.

Butterworth said he is determined to raise the profile of the Task Group and ensure farmers in the region are well positioned to face the challenges and opportunities post Common Agricultural Policy reform.

The group has also taken on an industry development co-ordinator, Sam Jones, who is employed by the Red Meat Industry Forum, to ensure the day to day running of projects come to fruition.

The Red Meat Industry Task Group was set up two years ago as part of the NorthEast Sustainable Farming and Food Strategy. The group is responsible for driving forward an agreed action plan designed to add or retain value for the livestock sector within the region, research export opportunities, stimulate integration of the red meat supply chain and improve efficiencies within livestock production and the supply chain.

Butterworth is now working with Jones on a Swedish Export Project, which is looking to establish whether there is potentially a viable new market opportunity for North East beef and lamb in Sweden.

He said: "My ultimate aim for the Task Group is to raise the profile of what we do and essentially get more money for local farmers by ensuring we have excellent local products to boost the industry.

"I grew up on Village Farm in Longhorsley and started my career by going into the butchery trade in the retail section and then 20 years ago I moved into the catering section. I now own my own catering meats company in Throckley with 30 staff and a turnover of £6million."