Relief at lifting of US ban on lamb

Sheep breeders have welcomed the recent news that the United States is set to lift the ban on the importation of British lamb, which has been in place ever since 1989.

But they also recognised that the move was unlikely to lead to any major changes to the marketplace over the short term.

“We shouldn’t expect to see any sudden surge in volumes going to the US,” said National Sheep Association chief executive, Phil Stocker.

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“But we do know there is strong demand for UK sheep genetics – semen and embryos. Many British sheep breeds are in the US but are numerically too small to have a strong gene pool, so the demand for our genetics is strong.”He said that, with sheep meat consumption being very low in the US, he believed it would be possible to stimulate interest in lamb and quality mutton through exporting high quality British sheepmeat.

“We also believe we can tap into British heritage that is appreciated in the US through our many breeds and their connections to our heritage landscapes and culture.“This creates another opportunity for our industry to maximise trade opportunities and we have always seen the US as being a potentially important market,” said Stocker.“After the domestic market, which takes 60 – 65 per cent of UK production, the EU is still our largest export market and is on our doorstep.“However, access is more difficult than it was when we were part of the EU.

"It’s essential to maintain EU access but is also important to work on any market that gives us future potential.”



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