Company Name: Pasture-Fed Livestock Association

Summary: A membership organisation offering a certification mark for 100% grass fed beef and lamb.

The Product:

Founded by a small group of farmers, Pasture-Fed Livestock Association (PFLA) champions the unique qualities of beef and lamb from animals raised exclusively on pasture and reared to exacting standards.

Pasture containing grasses, wildflowers and herbs is the natural diet of cattle and sheep, yet today very few animals are fed on pasture alone. Many farmers now try to produce their meat as quickly as possible and use cereals and soya to speed up the meat development process. The PFLA certification mark recognises 100% pasture fed meat – and promotes the nutritional benefits of this premium meat to the UK market. It brings together British farmers committed to producing high quality food in a more natural way.

Many PFLA members are using innovative methods to sell their meat to a diverse market – such as via meat box schemes, farm shops, buying groups, butcheries and through foodservice. Members discuss and share ideas on everything from seed mixtures to meat pricing and all are seeing a growing interest for their produce from consumers – particularly from fitness enthusiasts and the health conscious who appreciate more natural diets.

Meat carrying the ‘Pasture for Life’ logo is guaranteed to come from animals that have only ever eaten pasture and have been looked after extremely well. More often than not, they will have spent their whole life on the farm where they were born. Following the horse meat scandal in 2013, consumers are increasingly concerned about product provenance and traceability and are more inquisitive about the complex meat supply chain. Buying Pasture for Life beef or lamb from a supplier who has been certified by the Pasture-Fed Livestock Association offers verification that the animal has been kept according to the ‘Pasture for Life’; standards. Shoppers or diners can instantly trace any meat they buy with the ‘Pasture for Life’ logo on it, right back to the farm it came from – simply by scanning a QR code with their smartphone.

On working with Farm491 and the RAU:

The connection to Farm491 came about from one of the board Directors who is also a lecturer at the Royal Agricultural University. Russ says “Farm491 offers a central location with good links into London, as well as excellent working facilities. The rise in membership and the number of farmers becoming Pasture for Life certified shows how seriously people are now taking 100% grass-fed production. Being close to the RAU also gives us opportunities, not least to offer work placements for students, but we also now have room for other volunteers to come and help with the running of PFLA. We’re excited to be part of Farm491 and look forward to seeing the hub grow.”

Main challenge of being an entrepreneur:

Russ explains, “We have dedicated a lot of time and effort into developing the online application systems and process of audit for producers to go through before qualifying for the certification mark. Raising livestock on a pasture-based system will not be suitable for every farm. However, for those farmers that can, Pasture for Life provides an important distinction over food produced by more intensive methods – and may attract a price premium when sold. Developing our network of producers is a challenge we face with a positive outlook. For there to be growth in the number of farmers and livestock sold under this brand, and in turn growth of our business, there will need to be greater integration of our certification mark across the supply chain, allowing us to work with more innovation businesses to bring this to reality.”

For more information, please visit; www.pastureforlife.org

Meet one of the team: Russ Carrington

The PFLA began with an initial meeting among a small group of farmers who came together to share ideas and information. From this meeting it emerged that the meat they were all producing was special and needed recognition and identity through a brand.

The board of the PFLA is now currently made up of directors representing a wide and varied set of expertise suited to the running of a farmer-led organisation – and Russ Carrington leads the day to day running and management of the organisation, based at Trent Lodge at Farm491 in Gloucestershire.

Although Russ grew up on his family’s farm in Herefordshire he left to study Civil Engineering at Cardiff University, however after a few years of office life and a stint of international travel he decided to return to full-time farming. He brought with him a string of off-farm skills and a passion for embracing the challenges of food production in the 21st century. Russ helped to manage Caplor Farm, a 326ha mixed farm in Herefordshire for nearly two years, before taking the opportunity to become executive secretary for the PFLA.

Want to join Farm491?

Becoming a member couldn’t be simpler, you pay a monthly membership and that’s it.