29th May


Media Release 08 – Sheep Farming Should Be Highly Valued By The Nation

The Tenant Farmers Association is using its presence at this year’s NSA North Sheep Event to highlight the vital importance of sheep farming to the nation.

TFA Northeast Regional Chairman, Ken Lumley said “Sheep farming is one of the most significant enterprises on rented land. It also covers vast swathes of our countryside including many of the remotest and most iconic, treasured landscapes in our country. These landscapes have been managed with sheep by generations of farmers whose skills and expertise are not always as appreciated as they highly as they ought to be”.

“Sheep are such a valuable resource for both sustainable food and environmental management. As grazing animals they are excellent converters of the solar energy stored in the vegetation they eat in two ways, 1, by converting vegetation into protein for human consumption and 2, their droppings provide a key resource of nutrients for the soil, insects and beetles which enhances bio-diversity,” said Mr Lumley.

“Properly functioning markets for sheep and lamb are a fundamental perquisite for ensuring the sustainability of the sector. In recent years there has been a reduction in the number of livestock markets throughout the country and those that remain are often dominated by a small handful of purchasers operating for the major retailers who have crowded out the many small and medium sized buyers who are much needed to ensure both the stability and vibrancy for the long-term success of the sheep sector. This has been coupled with the loss of many local abattoirs which result fewer slaughter options and sheep having to travel vast distances for processing. We need to give some serious thought to pulling back some of the structures which we have to easily allowed to disappear,” said Mr Lumley.

“We also need to review the regulatory environment within which we are operating. As we stand on the verge of another round of CAP reform it will be essential to ensure that only active farmers are able to be in receipt of the much-needed support through the direct payment system and that it does not become capitalised into land values which will be of no benefit to the nation. Issues like the six-day standstill on stock, carcass splitting, overburdening requirements of animal identification and movement recording and on farm burial of fallen stock need to be looked at afresh,” said Mr Lumley.

Ref:  MR08

Date: 26 May 2013

Notes for Editors:

The TFA will be on stand 125 at NSA North Sheep on Wednesday 5th June at Crimple Head Farm, Beckwithshaw, Harrogate. In attendance will be the TFA’s National Vice Chairman Stephen Wyrill and North East Regional Chairman Ken Lumley

For further information contact the TFA’s Communications and Events Coordinator Julie Sheehan on 0118 930 6130.

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