Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Farmers Urged to Study for an Improved Future

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Farmers Urged to Study for an Improved Future

Article excerpt

Byline: By Anna Lognonne

Nuffield Scholar and Berwick farmer Donald MacPherson is encouraging other farmers to study for their own future and that of the industry.

He will be one of the main speakers at the first Nuffield Scholarship Roadshow to be held in the North of England, which aims to encourage more farmers and those involved in agriculture to apply to study under the scheme.

The event, which is being hosted by George F White, will take place at Hexham Auction Mart on June 29, starting at 7.30pm.

Mr MacPherson, who set up his own company Well Hung and Tender, through which he markets his meat direct to the public, completed a Nuffield Scholarship in 2002 to learn how he could produce tender, tasty beef every time.

He visited Australia and America to find out about their meat production methods, as well as carrying out extensive research in the UK.

And the conclusions he reached have been implemented at his own business, so that he can now guarantee the quality of his beef. He said: "At the time I applied to do a Nuffield Scholarship we had just diversified our farm business so that we could sell our meat direct to the public at farmers' markets. Although I had a lot of knowledge about how to run a farm, I didn't know very much about meat quality, which was why I applied for the scholarship.

"It was a fantastic experience and much of what I've learnt has been implemented into our own business so that I can put a quality guarantee on the beef that I sell. It is one of the best things I have ever done and it really builds up your confidence."

Mr Macpherson explained that in Australia and the USA, beef is graded for its eating quality, rather than for the conformation of its carcase and the amount of red meat it produces, which is the situation in the UK and the EU.

By taking on board the production methods used in the USA and Australia, Mr Macpherson has changed his suckler herd from Continentals to pure-bred Aberdeen Angus cattle, finishes all his stock from grass to improve the flavour and health benefits of his meat, keeps animal stress to a minimum, as this can affect meat eating quality, and then hangs his beef for 28 days to ensure it is tender and tasty. …

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