If I were a shep­herd...

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

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-


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