Support is critical for sheep sector this Love Lamb Week, says UFU

Support is critical for sheep sector this Love Lamb Week, says UFU

The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) says it is more important than ever for consumers to show their support for Love Lamb Week as the sheep sector continues to be hit hard by soaring input costs.

Working together on the promotion of the annual event, the UFU will focus on the production of lamb on farm, with the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) putting their efforts into the processing and cooking aspects to provide that wholesome farm to fork story.

Commenting ahead of the campaign which is running from Thursday 1 – Wednesday 7 September, UFU beef and lamb chair Pat McKay said: “Sheep farmers have been enduring soaring production costs since early spring and it has put great financial pressure on their farm business. Therefore, this Love Lamb Week, we are urging consumers and everyone within the farming community to show their support for Northern Ireland’s sustainable sheep production that supports the environment and allows us to make use of land that cannot grow crops, resulting in nutritious lamb products.

“From a carbon sequestration perspective sheep production is a vital part of the climate change solution. Grazing sheep also helps us to maintain our iconic landscape and prevent wildfires. No product is greener or more environmentally friendly than sheep bred on the hills and finished on lowland pastures.”

UFU hill farming chair Alastair Armstrong said: “Our sheep farmers work around the clock to produce lamb to world leading animal welfare and environmental standards that they’re proud to uphold. This results in a high-quality local product with an array of health benefits including protein and omega three fatty acids, and not forgetting the short supply chain promises a delicious, fresh taste.

“Love Lamb Week is a great opportunity to focus on all the positives of lamb production from beginning to end. Through informative, interactive social media posts we’re going to clearly demonstrate why sheep production on farm is a key part of maintaining our NI landscape, and a major contributor to the local community and wider NI economy.”

LMC marketing and communications manager Lauren Patterson said: “LMC is delighted to once again back Love Lamb Week. The annual initiative provides a superb platform to inform consumers of the many health and environmental benefits of Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assured (NIFQA) lamb.

“Lamb production is central to the agricultural economy in Northern Ireland. We have the perfect climate to produce a natural and sustainable product. When consumers choose NIFQA lamb they are assured it meets world leading standards for quality. NIFQA lamb also boasts an impressive nutritional profile and as a highly versatile red meat, it can be enjoyed in a variety of dishes throughout the year.

“Throughout Love Lamb Week LMC will continue its year-round promotion of local lamb via traditional and digital platforms. The relaunch of our Good Honest Food campaign, coupled with factual social media posts will drive home messaging about biodiversity, carbon sequestration, NI Farm Quality Assurance standards, nutritional benefits and tips for cooking with lamb.”

Caption:  UFU beef and lamb chair Pat McKay, Hilary and Roger Bell, UFU hill farming chair Alastair Armstrong and LMC chief executive Ian Stevenson.