A group of industry experts met for the first time in Aberystwyth this week since being appointed as members of a new Sustainable Innovation and Research Working Group.

Twelve individuals have been selected, with the aim of supporting and guiding Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) on areas of innovation, research and development in relation to the sustainability of the Welsh red meat sector.

Chaired by HCC board member and beef and sheep farmer Emlyn Roberts, the group’s expertise ranges from grassland, soil health and biodiversity to livestock systems, animal health and genetics alongside experience of sustainable supply chains.

Their duties will include upholding a holistic approach to sustainability for all aspects of red meat production in Wales; sharing information on new developments, activities and research; horizon scanning the sustainability agenda; and advising on potential suitable strategic collaborations.

HCC’s head of sustainability and future policy, Rachael Madeley Davies, who attended the first meeting on 27 February, said: “HCC is committed to reducing the impact of Welsh red meat production and processing on the climate, the environment and waste.

“Another priority is to contribute towards improving the profitability and sustainability of the industry here in Wales.

“With that in mind, this new group has been put in place to support the delivery of our strategic ‘Vision 2025’ document which outlines the key priorities, opportunities and challenges for the red meat sector.

“We got off to a great start with a very positive meeting. The members engaged in enthusiastic discussion about the sustainability of the sector, and shared constructive thoughts and ideas on how it can be enhanced to safeguard its future.

“This conversation will continue within HCC and we look forward to working with the group over the coming months.”

The Working Group members are: Arfon Williams, RSPB; Charles Bowyer, Agri-EPI Centre; Claire Jones, WVSC; Dr Christina Marley, IBERS; Dr Julie Finch, Kepak; Dr Nicola Lambe, SRUC; Dr Prysor Williams, Bangor University; Dr Sarah Morgan, Harper Adams University; Emlyn Roberts, HCC board (Working Group chair); Leisia Tudor, Dunbia; Professor Mike Humphreys, HCC board; Neil Howard, independent; Neil Shand, NBA; Steven Williams, Food Technology Centre.