A SUSTAINABLE online meat company is using an innovative funding scheme to help the revival one of Britain’s rarest breeds of cattle.

Ripon-based Farmison & Co has bought a herd of White Park cattle – the symbol of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust with their distinctive wide horns.

The herd and calves are now grazing on a farm in Wensleydale, and under the scheme the farmer will pay for the livestock over 18-months. When the cows are ready to calve again, a bull will be acquired to expand the herd.

Not only does it spread the financial cost for the farmer, Farmison & Co provides a guaranteed outlet for the meat, reducing the risks of rearing and managing these distinguished but rare animals.

Farmison & Co has previously piloted the scheme to build up Dexter breed cattle and now has a herd of 150.

Although they have existed for more than 2,000 years, White Park cattle came perilously close to extinction as other commercial breeds came into favour.

Numbers plunged as low as 60 in 1973, but have since recovered to 950, though they are still classed as “at risk”.

John Pallagi, Farmison & Co CEO, said: “We’ve shown there is a proven demand for heritage breed meat and consumers appreciate its taste and quality. So long as customers demand this type of beef, these breeds will have a guaranteed future."