Campaign to Support North East Sheep Farmers

EBLEX has launched a regional marketing drive to help support North East sheep farmers and boost demand for English lamb.

The campaign is designed to help improve market returns for the region's 1500 upland and 800 lowland sheep farms dealing with the effects of disease restrictions imposed on the livestock sector in the wake of FMD and bluetongue.

The ban on exports has led to a surplus in the domestic lamb market at a time when around 30% would normally be sent overseas. This has resulted in lower farmgate prices and reduced returns.

One NorthEast has invested £40,00 single programme funding into the regional campaign of media adverts, recipe booklets and mobile advertising on major roads, shopping centres and towns, which will use iconic images to make consumers in North East England more aware of Quality Standard Mark English Lamb. The regional support is part of the nationwide campaign which uses the famous 'Beefy' and 'Lamby' characters - based on England cricket legends Ian Botham and Allan Lamb.

Adrian Sherwood, senior rural specialist at One NorthEast, said: "Sheep farming is a key part of North East England's agriculture sector and this is an enormously difficult time for these businesses.

"Increasing domestic demand for quality English lamb is an important way of helping farmers to get the greatest possible returns at this time, so we're pleased to be supporting this campaign.

"Increasing the number of shoppers actively looking for Quality Standard Mark Lamb will also help its retailers, so there are benefits further along the supply chain too."

Steve Powdrill, North East Regional Manager of the English Beef and Lamb Executive, said: "Our national advertising campaign is currently promoting Quality Standard Lamb and pointing out to consumers the great taste and value of lamb particularly at this time of year.

"We're absolutely delighted to be able to work with One NorthEast to emphasise the importance to the rural economy here in this part of England of the agricultural sector, to reinforce our message promoting lamb and to point out to consumers here the merits of a great food that's produced right on their doorstep."

EBLEX began a renewed promotional push for Autumn Lamb in September, backed by celebrity chef Oliver Rowe from BBC2's Urban Chef series. This campaign in North East England will see high-impact advertising carried via ad vans throughout Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, County Durham and the Tees Valley. The first week alone will include stops at Berwick-upon-Tweed, Alnwick, Ashington, Blyth, Cramlington, North Shields, South Shields, Sunderland, Gateshead and Newcastle.

For more information on the wider EBLEX 'Beefy' and 'Lamby' campaign or on the Quality Standard Mark, visit http://www.beefyandlamby.co.uk/