Sheep forum debates global issues

Attracting young people into the sheep industry is a global issue, attendees at an international sheep meeting were told.

Representatives from the international sheep sector met recentlt in Brussels to discuss the troubles facing the industry at the International Sheepmeat Forum.

According to the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) lamb chairman Robert Davidson, many countries are “grappling” with the same issues, “such as profitability, an ageing population, and competition for land”.

“One of the main challenges across the board at the moment is trying to attract young people to the sheep industry,” he said. “Profitability remains a significant barrier as many young people struggle to see how they can make a living rearing sheepmeat. Processors and supermarkets would do well to remember it is in their interest for producers to be profitable and that failing to help attract young people to the industry will be to their detriment as well.”
Meanwhile, UFU policy officer Gill Gallagher attended a COPA and Commission Advisory meeting on sheepmeat. Issues discussed included the current market situation, CAP post-2013, promotion, trade and sheep EID.

He said: “The UFU has welcomed the news that EU legislation has been amended to allow for funding for the generic promotion of sheepmeat and we hope that this will aid in increasing consumption and ultimately help improve producer profitability. Also, the UFU is continuing to push the EU Commission for an amendment to the EU legislation on sheep EID, to allow for more tolerance and to request that sheep do not need to be tagged until they leave the holding of birth.”


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