The National Sheep Association (NSA) has said it is in agreement with the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board's (AHDB's) decision to stop its funding to Red Tractor.

“While NSA is a strong supporter of the principle of farm assurance in order to demonstrate the sector’s credentials to the market place, and has also supported Red Tractor Assurance for many years, NSA is in agreement with this decision made by AHDB,” said NSA chief executive Phil Stocker.

“For lamb producers it is questionable that all levy payers should contribute financially to one assurance/branding scheme when only circa 40% to 50% are actually members of it,” Stocker continued.

“It is also right to point out that there are other British assurance and certification schemes that have never enjoyed levy support.”

AHDB to stop funding Red Tractor

The AHDB announced its decision to stop funding to Red Tractor, as of this financial year, yesterday (Tuesday, December 14).

Red Tractor is the UK’s biggest farm and food assurance scheme. Its symbol denotes that a product has been farmed, processed and packed in the UK.

It was founded in 2000 and, following an industry consultation in 2008, has received funding from the AHDB.

According to the board, Red Tractor is now “financially established and self-sustaining”, and thus no longer requires the board’s basic annual financial support.

A spokesperson for Red Tractor has said the not-for-profit is “disappointed”.

“Regrettably, the AHDB’s funding decision means we will now need to reconsider our advertising plans, which we understand will come as a disappointment to farmers and the wider food supply chain,” the spokesperson added.