Seventy Northumberland farmers, all members of North East Grains
Ltd, one of a successful group of co-operatives in the region,
are aiming to produce local meats of such high quality that their
proposed new marketing tag “Northumberland Meat” is
set to rival Aberdeen Angus brand of Scottish beef.
Neil Carr dispenses some of the high quality animal feed of North East
Grains Ltd to the cattle of farmer Dave Jordan.
They will do it, the farmers say, by increasing the use of the
quality assured animal feed made from the barley, wheat, beans,
peas, and other products of their farms which are supplied to
the Longhirst, near Morpeth, co-operative complex for manufacture
They are aware of the magnitude of the task, but are confident
they have the resources and the will to successfully complete
“At first glance it may seem that a bid to make the marketing
tag ‘Northumberland Meat’ synonymous - or perhaps
as instantly recognisable as ‘Aberdeen Angus’ beef – is
very ambitious but it is certainly achievable,” said Neil
Carr, general manager of the co-operative.
“The manufactured animal feed North East Grains provides
is recognised as being of exceptionally high quality and we want
to reach the stage where Northumberland farm animals are flourishing
on feed produced by Northumberland farmers from Northumberland-grown
grain, and that we end up providing excellent field-to-table
food under the proud banner ‘Northumberland Meat’.”
North East Grains has come on by leaps and bounds since it was
first created by only 12 members in 1987. It began as a
hands-on venture by members dealing mainly with grain drying,
storage, and marketing.
Now it does much more and has plans to increase even further
its range of services to members as well as the geographical
scale of its operation.
Membership now exceeds 70 and is growing as more farmers realise
they cannot afford not to be part of the on-going success story.
Most of the members of North East Grains farm within a 15-mile
radius of Longhirst. Eight of them comprise a Board of
Directors which meets regularly under the chairmanship of Ian
Craigs, whose Tritlington Hall Farm is near Morpeth.
Neil Carr, who manages the co-operative so successfully with
a low overhead cost structure, is a Wearsider who has worked
in agriculture all his life. During his six years at Longhirst
he has helped to mastermind and implement many of the innovative
moves made by the organisation.
“One of the many problems facing farmers of today is the
time-consuming and seemingly never-ending deluge of legislation
and form-filling with which they have to deal,” observes
Mr Carr. “It is one of my functions to simplify the
contents of the deluge and to help members cope with it. It
is a service I know is appreciated.”
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