British Lamb Week aims to help struggling farmers

A grassroots campaign is aiming to the spread the love for British lamb and support crisis-hit farmers.

Thousands have pledged their support for holding a British Lamb Week from 1-7 September.

Sheep farmers suffering from low prices want butchers’ shops, pubs and restaurants to promote British lamb over that week.

They also want producers and the public to cook with lamb, sharing pictures and messages on Facebook and Twitter.

See also: UK lamb trade shrinks by third as sterling bites

The new campaign is an unofficial follow-up to No Lamb Week in early August, which saw some producers stop selling stock to protest their poor returns.

Northumberland sheep farmer Rachel Lumley, who came up with the idea, said the situation was so bad farmers could not just stand back.

“We are proud to produce British lamb and we need to get that message across to the public,” she said.

“Whether it is cooking lamb on the Sunday and having a roast, or a barbecue with lamb burgers and kebabs, or anything – it might not make any difference but it won’t do any harm.”

The British Lamb Week initiative is being pushed through a Facebook page and event.

There is a @LoveBritishLamb account on Twitter and farmers can show their support using the hashtag #BritishLambWeek.

Miss Lumley has got local traders in Cumbria and Northumberland behind the plan and secured press coverage. She says farmers in other areas could do the same.

The National Sheep Association (NSA) has swung behind the British Lamb Week plan.

NSA chief executive Phil Stocker said the campaign came out of an immediate need, with many factors coming together to depress lamb prices and average UK consumption falling.

He said his organisation would work with others to ensure a co-ordinated effort.

Levy board Quality Meat Scotland is also running its Love Scotch Lamb Weekend on 5-6 September.

“A strategically planned lamb week has the potential to bring more focus to many of the existing promotional activities, and add to it by encouraging more social media activity, local and farm-based events, and media coverage,” Mr Stocker said.

Prime lamb prices remain under heavy pressure from healthy UK supplies and the strength of sterling.

The British liveweight SQQ average dropped 7p/kg to 151p/kg in the week to 12 August.

Prices are more than 15p/kg lower on the year.


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