Sustainable meat production discussed by Harper Adams professor on BBC’s Countryfile

A Harper Adams University professor and animal scientist has appeared on BBC's Countryfile to discuss the science behind sustainable meat production.

Jude Capper and Adam Henson
Jude Capper and Adam Henson

Professor Jude Capper’s appearance draws on her experience as an agricultural sustainability expert in both Britain and America – where she developed research into beef’s carbon footprints in agriculture.

Since returning to the UK, she has gone on to receive awards from Women in Dairy, the British Farming Awards, and the British Society for Animal Science among others. She has also continued her work as a keen advocate for sustainable livestock production as a viable means to feed the world using fewer resources and with an improved carbon footprint.

At Harper Adams, she is mentoring early career researchers and students, and developing wide-ranging beef and sheep research to enhance the sustainability of livestock systems.

Professor Capper said: “At Harper Adams, I am the ABP Chair in Sustainable Beef and Sheep Production, and it was through our strategic partnership with ABP, that I talked about livestock and sustainability for a podcast with Adam Henson.

“After the podcast Adam asked me to appear on Countryfile, which was a great opportunity to visit his beautiful farm and see his herd of rare breed cattle, and to discuss the ways in which all beef farmers can reduce their environmental impacts.

“We talked about some of the major issues faced by beef producers, including whether methane is as much of a climate threat as we often see in the media and whether we should all adopt plant-based diets to help save the planet.

“We often see global averages being used to represent the impacts of UK beef production – I think it’s really important to understand that the high standards of cattle productivity, efficiency, health and welfare in UK systems mean that our impacts are considerably lower than those within other regions.”

And while the programme may be a Sunday evening stalwart, she admits she wasn’t fazed by the thought of millions of viewers watching her Countryfile interview, which screened last Sunday, August 29.

She said: “I am so passionate about beef production, that I’m willing to talk about it to anybody or everybody – the only concern I has was not tripping over my boots when being filmed by a drone while walking into the field!”

Having taken up her role at Harper Adams University in May, Professor Capper is now looking forward to the start of the forthcoming academic year.

The Harper campus – despite having changed over the years – is one which she remains familiar with, having first attended as both an undergraduate, undertaking a BSc in Agriculture with Animal Science, and a postgraduate when she studied for a PhD.

She added: “It has been wonderful to return to Harper Adams – many old friends and great colleagues from my undergraduate and PhD days are still here, yet the investment in technology, new buildings and diversity of newer staff is amazing and adds so much to our current and future possibilities for research, teaching and industry outreach.”

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