AHDB Beef and Lamb has refused a £50,000 proposal to fund Ladies in Beef’s promotional activities including its Save Our Sucklers (SOS) campaign).
The board decided it was ‘better value for money’ to use existing in-house resource, including communications, resource production and marketing, to help cut external spend by the group.
It comes after the levy board was heavily criticised by its members for the delay in signing off a £1.6million autumn red meat campaign last year.
AHDB Beef and Lamb board chairman Adam Quinney said: “Our approach to this kind of request needs to be consistent and we have already changed the way we support the Mutton Renaissance campaign, for example, by bringing support in-house rather than using levy funds to pay an agency to do it.
“As with any other investment, the beef and lamb board must demonstrate return on this investment, while also being transparent about exactly where beef and lamb levy is being spent.”
The proposition included £25,000 for core publicity costs and £25,000 for SOS.
Ladies in Beef co-founder Jilly Greed said: "The AHDB Beef and Lamb board members unanimously support the work of Ladies in Beef and we look forward to receiving the in-house integrated marketing plan including social media and broadcast activity."
She said raising awareness and debate around the SOS campaign would be key going forward and the group would continue to promote the benefits of grass-fed beef.
"We hope that after further consumer research in the spring, AHDB Beef and Lamb board will look at product differentiation," Ms Greed added.
"The UK suckler-breeding herd, the second largest in Europe after France, has declined to its lowest level for 30 years, having lost over 230,000 breeding cows in the past decade including 140,000 in the past four years.
"In England the suckler beef breeding herd has stabilised but it is still at its lowest level. Suckler beef accounts for 45 per cent of the beef supply chain, with dairy beef at 55 per cent.
"We believe that differentiation is good for all consumer markets as the poultry sector demonstrates. Under the consumer facing theme of ‘Nurtured by Nature’ and its association with traditional grass-fed beef, we could compete more dynamically in the domestic market and export as other beef producing countries such as Ireland and Australia achieve with their branded offer."
The farmer said she believed it was possible to promote the benefits of grass-fed traditional suckler beef without product differentiation being detrimental to dairy beef.
"A premium image for suckler beef could have a positive halo effect on all beef including dairy beef," she added.
AHDB Beef and Lamb said it had approved a ‘variety of consumer activity for beef in the coming year’.
To register your support for the Save Our Sucklers campaign visit www.ladiesinbeef.org.uk