Even as my sheep graze on the North Yorkshire moors, I can’t help but think about the huge challenges the red meat sector is facing, especially from the new free trade deals with the likes of Australia in particular. Like every other farmer across the country, I'm looking at the SFI23 offer and considering if it will work for me. My farm hasn’t escaped the crippling costs of feed, fertiliser and fuel, and I am acutely aware of what that might mean for the public as the cost-of-living crisis continues to bite.
I can’t remember a time when we were fighting so many battles on so many fronts.
Battling rising costs of production
While the liveweight lamb price is currently 40p above the five-year average, any margin this might have previously given us is being totally eclipsed by the rate at which our costs of production are rising.
Given the current economic situation, AHDB's Love Lamb Week has never been more needed than it is right now.
This week is a great opportunity to show consumers that British lamb, with its quality, unique taste and sustainable production here in the UK, is worth the investment.
“I can’t remember a time when we were fighting so many battles on so many fronts."
NFU Livestock Board chair Richard Findlay
Retailers and food service businesses have a huge part to play in the promotion of home-grown lamb. That’s why we’re urging retailers to honour their sourcing commitments, champion British lamb produced to world-leading standards and support their suppliers.
Levy payer investment in targeted campaigns such as Love Lamb Week and the wider Eat Balanced campaign are vitally important for the whole supply chain, from farm businesses and processors to retailers and food service, to help promote the benefits of eating red meat as part of a healthy, balanced diet.
Farmers must play their part
Just as the supply chain, retailers and food service must play their part, we too must do what we can to keep the market operating as smoothly as possible.
Crucially, we must maintain the quality of the product. The whole point of Love Lamb Week is to promote a delicious, versatile, climate-friendly product, so we must continue to hit market specifications.
AHDB's Love Lamb Week runs from 1-7 September 2023. To get involved visit AHDB | Love Lamb Week.
You can find out about AHDB's We Eat Balanced campaign at AHDB | We Eat Balanced.