The entire supply chain is set to benefit from a sheep event
being held on Tuesday 26 June 2007.
The event is being organised by NFU Scotland (NFUS), Quality
Meat Scotland (QMS) and the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group
(FWAG) and is kindly hosted by John Cameron at Balbuthie near
Kilconquhar in Fife.
The hill sheep sector is the basis of communities in many remote
areas and underpins biodiversity and iconic Scottish landscapes
shared by many.
Feedback from a series of on-farm events held in 2006 emphasised
the fragility of traditional systems and the crucial need for
generating new structures, on-farm efficiency and a sheep meat
chain which delivers for the primary producer.
The hill areas can deliver a series of unique meat dishes to
consumers with genuine green credentials and the potential for
real benefits throughout the chain.
The June event will bring representatives from all elements
of the supply chain together to demonstrate how the sheep meat
chain can become more profitable for the primary producer as
well as delivering the high quality and flexibility that retailers
and consumers demand.
Nigel Miller, NFUS Vice-President and co-organiser of the event,
“This last year has been very tough for the sheep industry,
following a similarly depressing price pattern as early 2006.
Feeders having held animals back over February to avoid real
punishment and are now being forced to sell on a continuing weak
market. Many must therefore be forced to consider their commitment
to supporting lamb sales in 2007.
“Old season liveweight lamb prices are currently £1.15
per kilo against last year’s price of £1.25*. This
is simply not sustainable and so we are endeavouring to improve
the fortunes of the industry.
“We now want to bring together people from all parts of
that supply chain, from farmers through to processors and retailers
and restaurateurs, as well as those in government, to prove how,
with the right knowledge, promotion and determination, the hill
sheep industry within Scotland can have a positive future.
“At the end of the day, dynamic dialogue between those
on the farm and those behind the desks of power, whether that
be within government or the large retailers, is the best way
to secure a sustainable future.
“I feel positive about the future of the sheep sector
and now is the time for us to help to inject some of that positivity
into the industry. The hill sheep industry can deliver for communities,
landscapes and as a unique ‘green’ food resource.
Anyone with an interest in the hill sheep industry, whether
it be as a farmer or someone selling lamb to consumers, is encouraged
to attend to learn more about how the entire supply chain can
benefit from working together.
Attendance is free, but places are limited and so must be booked
in advance by calling 0131 472 4000. Lunch will provide an opportunity
to experience different classic sheep/lamb flavours.
*MLC figures co-ordinated on behalf of Quality Meat Scotland
and published in The Scottish Farmer
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