N.I. Beef Week - Meet the farmer, Roberta Simmons
Northern Ireland Beef Week is a great opportunity to highlight those working in the industry to deliver a quality product. Today’s focus is on Roberta Simmons. By her own admission, she does not live on a large farm, but Roberta grew up on the family holding, rearing store cattle from calves to finishing.
Roberta is one of four daughters on the farm at Annaclone in County Down. She had plenty of opportunities as a child to help her father, and muck in with jobs around the farm. She had a great love of farming from a young age, and as soon as she was old enough she was straight into driving the tractor.
Although Roberta now works as a legal secretary, and has just finished a two-year term as President of the Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster, she is very much a working partner on the family farm, always finding time to help out.
Like other beef farmers across Northern Ireland, Roberta believes traceability is vital, helping as it does to give local beef an edge in a competitive market. “We work with Aberdeen Angus that are sold through ABP in Newry. Traceability is central everything we do, which is why we only produce Farm Quality Assured beef. Our cattle are looked after in the best way we can. They are fed on good quality grass in the summer and silage in the winter months, topped up with meal. Knowing the quality and what goes into everything we feed cattle is vitally important to every beef farmer,” says Roberta.
With that commitment she is enthusiastic about the Beef Week initiative, and as someone meeting lots of people outside farming takes every opportunity to encourage them to seek out locally produced meat with the Farm Quality Assured logo.