Farmer ‘thrilled’ to lead national project to transform animal traceability

PUBLISHED: 14:54 11 February 2020 | UPDATED: 15:21 11 February 2020

Norfolk farmer John Cross has been appointed national chairman of Livestock Information Ltd. Picture: AHDB

Norfolk farmer John Cross has been appointed national chairman of Livestock Information Ltd. Picture: AHDB


A Norfolk farmer will lead a national project aiming to revolutionise the traceability of animals within the livestock industry.

John Cross has been appointed chairman of Livestock Information Ltd to steer the creation of the new Livestock Information Service (LIS) which will replace existing tracing systems for cattle, sheep and pigs in England.

Livestock Information was created in October 2019 as a subsidiary company of the levy-funded AHDB (Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board) - owned 51pc by the AHDB and 49pc by Defra.

Mr Cross, a fifth-generation farmer based in west Norfolk, said: "Livestock Information is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to transform the way traceability is managed in the livestock industry.

"The massive strides this programme has made since its inception will soon start to produce real-world results which will positively impact producers at all levels. As a farmer myself, I know the sectors need world-class traceability to deliver, and as someone who's supported the programme for many years I can see the way we can make those changes come about in a user-friendly way.

"I'm thrilled to take up this opportunity on behalf of the farming industry as a whole."

Mr Cross was previously chairman of the English Beef and Lamb Executive (EBLEX) from 2002 to 2015, and is currently chairman of the Traceability Design User Group (TDUG), the industry body set up to advise on the creation of LIS. In 2015 he was awarded the Royal Smithfield Club Prize for outstanding contributions to the livestock sector.

AHDB chief executive Jane King said: "I'm delighted that John has accepted this post. His experience has earned him the respect and trust of the whole industry, making him the ideal leader for a programme which will set new standards for collaboration between government and producers.

"He's been part of the Livestock Information programme from the early days, and I'm confident in his ability to lead the company to success as it moves into delivery, taking the programme from the drawing board and into the real world."

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Biosecurity minister Lord Gardiner added: "I am delighted that John Cross has been appointed as the chair of Livestock Information. His work with stakeholders from across the meat and livestock sectors has been vital in driving the delivery of the Livestock Information Programme.

"Through John's leadership, the programme will continue to pioneer a new and closer way of working between government and industry that will cement the UK's reputation for producing high quality, sustainable and trusted products."

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