Eblex report says sheep sector must modernise

The English sheep meat industry must exploit new markets and halt a fall in consumption if it is to have a profitable future, according a new report.

'The outlook and opportunities for the English sheep industry 2012 and beyond', by Eblex sector director Nick Allen, identifies the need to change and work more closely together if the industry is to fully realise its potential.

"We need to challenge ourselves to drive the industry forward," said Allen. "If we miss these chances or simply decide we are happy where we are at this moment, the future of the sheep industry in this country will not be secure.

"To take the industry forward, we need to identify and exploit new markets, improve uptake of technical improvements and genetically superior recorded animals, address consumer concerns over lamb to halt a decline in consumption and maintain throughputs in a climate of declining numbers."

However, Allen did add that "There is much to be optimistic about. Higher prices have brought increased returns for producers. The tightening supply is leading to new market opportunities worldwide," he added.

The report was commissioned at the behest of the Royal Agricultural College (RAC)/Rumenco Annual Fellowship in Beef/Sheep Research. Founded in 2004, it appoints a fellow each year to present on a selected topic, delivering a final report and lecture at the RAC.

'The outlook and opportunities for the English sheep industry 2012 and beyond' was launched at the Royal Agricultural College, in Cirencester, on 28 October, 2010.

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