Cumbrian beef and sheep farmer Alistair Mackintosh has been appointed as the new vice chair of Red Tractor, the UK’s largest and most comprehensive food assurance scheme.
In addition to roles as chair of the National NFU Livestock Board and vice chair of the European farmers’ union Copa-Cogeca, for the last five years Mr Mackintosh has held the position of Red Tractor sector chair for the beef and lamb board.
During his tenure he has been instrumental in addressing key issues in his sector such as driving up improved animal welfare outcomes with the establishment of annual vet visits to improve the working relationship between vets and members, introducing recommendations for medicine training and promoting the responsible use of antibiotics.
Mr Mackintosh will formally take up his new position in November, when fellow farmer Andrew Blenkiron’s second term comes to an end after almost eight years.
Red Tractor chair Christine Tacon said: “I am delighted that Alistair will become Red Tractor’s next vice chair. His wealth of knowledge and experience will be a considerable asset as we navigate the significant challenges our industry faces posed by climate change, international trade agreements, shifting public attitudes and the supply chain shortages.
“Findings from our Trust in Food Index have revealed how the public feels about the food they eat. This independent research found that by far the biggest reason why people trust British food, is the strength of our food standards, regulations, and independent assurance schemes like Red Tractor. If we want to maintain this high level of trust in UK produced food over the coming years, we need to make sure that we continue to show strong leadership to protect the integrity of the food chain and British agricultural standards.”
Ms Tacon added: “I would like to sincerely thank Andrew Blenkiron for his leadership and years of dedicated service to Red Tractor, not only as vice chair, but throughout the scheme’s 21-year history. Personally, I am grateful for the support and guidance he has given me since my appointment as chair in January. I know everyone who is involved with Red Tractor will join me in wishing him all the best for the future when his term ends.”
Alongside supporting and deputising for the chair, Alistair will be responsible for chairing the Standards Committee which oversees and recommends policies and actions on technical aspects of Red Tractor’s operations which effect all sectors.
The recruitment process for the Beef and Lamb sector board chair will begin later in the year.