A NEW regional campaign aims to highlight the positive contribution grazing livestock brings to food production, the environment and the local economy.

Set up by the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) North-East, the #LoveLivestock campaign was unveiled at this year’s Northumberland County Show, at the union’s eye-catching stand, complete with a simulated landscape, animals and a virtual reality experience.

Farmers and members of the public were encouraged to take home a set of free #LoveLivestock promotional signs, designed to be placed on stiles and gateposts across the region where they will attract public interest.

The signs provided information on how grazing livestock maintain the area’s spectacular landscapes, why some farmland is only suitable for livestock rather than crop production, how the permanent pasture land provides a valuable carbon store and why field boundaries are vital for wildlife and help with climate change.

The campaign also reminds people that in Northumberland alone, the sector’s produce is worth more than £190m, and is home to 250,000 cattle and nearly two million sheep.

NFU county chairman and Cambo organic livestock producer, Simon Bainbridge said he hoped the campaign would encourage some reflection on why livestock are so integral to farming and rural life.

“Our Northumberland landscape is one that has been formed and managed for generations by the grazing action of livestock, delivering the setting for our wonderful national park that attracts more than 1.5m visitors every year.

“Our farm animals do make a valuable contribution to our region, and while as an industry we work hard to become ever more sustainable, we must not lose sight of what the ‘law of unintended consequences’ might deliver if we were to see our regional herds and flocks diminish.”