Ripon meat firm bids to boost herds

Ripon-based Farmison & Co, with its supplier and partner Stuart Raw, have brought in two new bulls to two of its rare breed herds to increase the stock of some of Britain’s oldest cattle breeds.

Earlier this year, the sustainable meat company, which specialises in heritage breeds, invested in two new herds of White Park and Gloucester cattle to help safeguard the future of these breeds.

Farmison & Co founder and CEO, John Pallagi, said: “British heritage breeds are this country’s great contribution to global cuisine: all over the world these breeds are prized for their flavour. One of our founding principles was that we need to support heritage breeds, by eating them.

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“Today, many breeds remain in a precarious situation. While the meat tastes fantastic, starting a new herd is risky for a farmer.

“We’re working hard to encourage demand from customers for these wonderful animals that addresses this risk.

“We look forward to nature taking its course and next year see the arrival of our first Yorkshire-bred White Park and Gloucester cattle.”

The White Park – with its distinctive wide horns – is the symbol of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust and in the 1970s numbers plunged as low as just 60, though they have since recovered to around 950 breeding cows.

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The Gloucester – famous as the breed used by smallpox vaccine pioneer Sir Edward Jenner in the 18th Century – was down to just one herd in the 1970s and has since recovered to about 700 registered breeding cows.

Farmison & Co is working with one of its farmers, Stuart Raw, on building the two herds which have spent the summer grazing on land at Wensleydale where the cows have now been joined by a bull from each breed.

Cadzow Peebles is the White Park bull and Melsop Franklin is the Gloucester bull.

Farmison explained that choosing a bull is a careful process considering the limited gene pool of rare breeds and Stuart has had to consider the breed standard, the consistency of the meat, and the overall health of the herd.

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Stuart is a long-time supplier of beef to Farmison & Co and has worked closely with the company to build up a herd of Dexter cattle, another heritage breed that is making a comeback.

“We’ve worked hard to build our Castle Bolton herd of Dexters and we’re looking forward to doing the same together with Farmison & Co with the two new herds and playing our part in saving these two ancient breeds,” said Stuart.

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