Yorkshire farmers launch local lamb scheme

A group of Yorkshire farmers have joined forces to supply traditionally-reared lamb to their local Asda.

The arrangement, facilitated by the Farexchange Programme, will see the new co-operative – Seven Hill Farmers – supply Asda’s principal lamb processing partner, Welsh Country Foods, with up to 1200 lambs every month from September to mid-December.

The meat will be branded on supermarket shelves as unique seasonal specials from the North York Moors National Park. Farexchange believes that by establishing guaranteed secure supply chains it can halt the decline of sheep flocks in this important wildlife habitat.

“Seven Hill Farmers is just that at the moment, but as demand grows from other retailers more farmers will be able to join the group – if they can match the same high standards of environmental care and quality of product,” Farexchange’s Andrew Loftus, said.

“Fixed price contracts afford the farmer a better return, so by working together they get a better deal, which they couldn’t achieve if negotiated individually.”

Farexchange is also looking at establishing a supply chain with Marks & Spencer for pure-bred Swaledale lamb from the Moors, while it recently brokered the deal between many of Yorkshire and Humber’s barley growers and the brewing industry, known collectively as the Muntons Malt Supply Chain.