INTEREST from farmers, processors and retailers in the newly-published Protected Geographical Indications (PGIs) for West Country beef and lamb has been incredibly positive, with many seeing it as a huge boost for the region.

A PGI for beef and lamb from the West Country was formally announced last month and “went live” last week after years of hard work behind the scenes.

It means beef and lamb from the region, which meets specific criteria such as being at least 70 per cent forage-fed, will be eligible to carry the PGI logo and will be badged as West Country and promoted on the basis of their rearing environment, hopefully boosting sales.

And since the formal announcement was made by Defra, Meat South West (MSW) said there had been a fantastic response in the supply chain from those keen to make use of the differentiation of product that it brings on retail shelves.

MSW chairman Peter Baber said: “We have been delighted with the interest since the PGIs were formally registered on February 4.

“There is real interest in the region and people really see it as a huge boost to the beef and lamb we produce. This is really gratifying after all the hard work that has been put in over a number of years.

“We are currently pulling together some resources which can help those organisations which want to make use of the PGI which we hope to get online via the EBLEX website in the next few weeks.

This will include answers to frequently asked questions, audit forms and the detail of the PGIs themselves. In the meantime, you can find some information on the Defra website.”

Qualifying criteria will include beef and lamb coming from stock born, raised and finished in Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Gloucestershire, Dorset or Wiltshire.