If I were a shepherd...
HE role of the good shepherd should be recognised at all times of the year (not just in the bleak midwinter, COUNTRY LIFE, December 7, 2016), especially when agricultural policy is reshaped post-brexit, says the National Sheep Association (NSA). The UK produces one-third of EU sheep meat, but there are many opportunities outside Europe, if only we could be more competitive.
The thrust of an NSA paper launched this week is that the importance of flocks of native sheep to Britain’s loveliest places—41% of breeding sheep in England are farmed on Less Favoured Areas and a far higher proportion in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland— goes far beyond food production and the local economy. Sheep benefit the environment, culture and society, as well as our health— thanks to modern breeding and butchery, trimmed, lean lamb only contains 8% fat.
The NSA believes in greater promotion of upland sheep genetics, wool and heritage meat, with projects such as Marks & Spencer’s deal with Swaledale breeders; it refutes accus-