Get to know our British sheep farmers

Ewe and her lamb - Love Lamb Week 2020_74576

September is the perfect time to buy British lamb. Not only does it taste great, it’s also has excellent environmental credentials and is naturally rich in protein and provides vitamins which are good for health and wellbeing. But where does your British lamb come from? It comes from family farms like this where caring for their animals is a top priority.

Meet the farmers:  Sioned Davies | Anna Hunt | Adam Quinney

8 things you didn’t know about British lamb

Sioned love lamb week_74616NFU Ambassador and young farmer Sioned Davies has given us 8 facts about British lamb that you may not have known,and a few reasons why you should be buying British lamb.

1. Nutrition

During these uncertain times, health is something a lot more of us are now taking more seriously. But it’s hard to sometimes search through the misinformation and slim tea diets for the correct information on what our bodies needs. Well, one thing’s for sure, lamb should definitely be on your list of go to health foods. It’s packed with protein, and is rich in Vitamin B12, essential for blood formation and brain function. Lamb is also packed with iron which is extremely important for adolescents as it helps with muscle development and growth, but many adolescents are not consuming enough iron which can impact cognitive ability and behaviour.

AHDB Love Lamb Week infographic_74617

2. Environment

65% of UK farmland is best suited for growing grass, and sheep love to eat grass! It’s incredible really, these animals are able to utilise areas of the UK that farmers would never be able to use to grow fruit or veg and turn it into delicious and nutritious meat.

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3. Low and slow (cooking)

So, what’s the best way to eat lamb? One tip: low and slow. Slow cooked lamb is one of the most delicious foods, and so easy! Stick a joint of lamb in the slow cooker either overnight or all day and you’re guaranteed a delicious meal.

4. Flavours

You’re probably familiar with some of the classic lamb flavours such as mint, rosemary and garlic. But how about pomegranate, apricots or honey to give a fresh and flavourful snap to your lamb meals.

5. How many sheep in UK

Did you know there are approximately 22.5 million sheep in the UK?!

6. Just meat?

Meat is the main product of sheep, but their wool, milk and skin can also be used, which makes them one of the most sustainable animals. Wool is an amazing product with so many uses and sheep need to be sheared to keep them fit and healthy. Many farmers this year have struggled to sell their wool so more needs to be done to demonstrate the versatility of British wool.

Sign the petition calling for British Wool products to be mandatory for insulating in the government’s new home insulation scheme and for insulation and carpeting in any public financed building projects.

7. Breeds

There are approximately 90 different sheep breeds and crosses in the UK with each one uniquely bred to thrive in certain environments. For example, a hill breed such as a Herwick has been bred to be hardy and able to live in difficult terrain and harsh weather conditions. Whereas a lowland breed such as a Texel has been bred to grow quickly. The badger face welsh mountain is believed to be one of the oldest British sheep breeds.

8. History

Sheep have been a common sight in the UK since Roman times with their wool, meat and milk forming and essential part of Medieval Trade.

5 reasons why British lamb is best

Anna Hunt Love Lamb Week_74618Lamb has a number of qualities it brings to the dinner table. So NFU Student and Young farmer Ambassador Anna has given us 5 reasons why we should all enjoy British lamb well beyond Love Lamb Week.

1. Tasty

The most important reason - British lamb is full of flavour! Many chefs have sworn by British lamb in the past and MasterChef’s John Torode is a great lover of this great product.

2. Good for the environment

Due to Britain’s climate and weather patterns, we have an excellent ability to grow grass and this goes hand in hand with rearing grass-fed livestock. Most lambs spend most of their life outside on pasture, which is not only extremely healthy for livestock, but also has benefits for our landscape. 70% of British sheep live on land that we cannot grow crops on, like mountain and hills. Livestock grazing helps to manage grass species and encourages wild flowers and species of insects to flourish.

AHDB Love Lamb Week Assets_74619

3. Health benefits

British lamb is very good for you; not only is it a source of high-quality protein, but it also a source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B12, zinc, potassium and iron. These are very important for muscle growth and repair, so lamb is a great recovery aid for athletes especially. Lamb also contains health-promoting omega 3 fatty acids.

4. High standards

British lamb is produced to some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world. Lamb which has the Red Tractor label on it is part of an assurance scheme which means that the product is fully traceable, safe and produced to high welfare standards. Each farm must undergo an annual inspection where farmers must, amongst other things, prove they have completed records for movements of animals and medicine records, as well as having their farm inspected physically.

5. Low food miles

British means British! And that means low food miles, and therefore less global greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. Agriculture is responsible for around 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions, whereas transportation is responsible for around 27%. Therefore, buying local food can help our planet!! If lamb is sold locally, why not buy it locally?

6 ways to show your support for British lamb

  1. Cook one of our delicious British lamb recipes. If you find one you like, make sure you share it on social media.
  2. Sign the petition calling for British Wool products to be mandatory for insulating in the government’s new home insulation scheme and for insulation and carpeting in any public financed building projects.
  3. Share your lamb pictures and videos on social media to inspire others.
  4. Use the hashtags #LoveLamb and #MakeitLamb in your posts.
  5. Download AHDB's infographics, containing health and environmental information to help spread the word.
  6. Sign up to our Back British Farming newsletter for recipe ideas and other ways you can show your support.

 Adam Quinney talks us through his farm in Warwickshire

Here's Warwickshire farmer Adam to tell us more and to give us an insight into his life as a sheep farmer.

Last edited: 08 September 2020 at 10:16

Have your say

Laura Grey - 21/09/2020 14:05:03

Happy it heathy food is good

JeanHorler - 10/09/2020 22:30:20

There is no better meat than English bread and they are well cared for and looked after keep english meat

Alan Dyer - 10/09/2020 10:01:08

I try to buy British at every opportunity, unfortunately so many products are not identified as being British on labelling. My local Coop is the only supermarket that labels meat and fruit with the UK flag. Can we not legislation to have country of origin on all packaging?

Rachel Taylor - 09/09/2020 11:39:29

We love to support British farmers and UK farmers ,and whenever and wherever we can we try to buy organic produce because it is so important to the Survival and biodiversity of all our native Species , insects, animals and plants. and to the health of our planet and our own health too! And very importantly the food tastes the best! I was brought up on a large 1200 acre farm, of various rotated crops, dairy beef and sheep.. And I’m very proud to say that my younger brother who has taken over the farm since my father passed away, has made the whole farm totally organic! I would love to encouragre everyone to buy British where ever you can. Rachel

Jeanie Johnston - 09/09/2020 07:48:50

I'll be buying plenty of lamb this month - thanks for this info, very inspirering

DENISE COOPER - 08/09/2020 23:57:15

Are all the sheep in this article bread out side.

Jane Theakston - 08/09/2020 20:25:58

Delighted to hear and see sheep farmers talking about their job. I like to buy meat from farmers who adopt a high standard of animal husbandry and where fewer food miles are involved from field to table. We should support home industries and not import meat from countries with liwer standards than our own.

Nick Parker - 08/09/2020 20:14:00

I can't use Facebook or tweets and I'm not going to. I have supported British farmers for decades and still do. Winston Churchill said that just after the second world war that British farmers should supply everything they could. Before we joined the EEC - later the EU, it cost the Government to subsiside farming in the UK. After we joined the EEC it cost more to subsidise expensive food than it had subsidise cheaper food before we joined. Now we have left the EU I would like to see the previous EU farming budget paid in various ways to British, no UK, farmers to produce everything they can to feed this nation. Mr Churchill, Sir Winston, was right. We can't grow everything we need - citrus fruit, coffee, tea and other overseas things we enjoy so much. Every last thing we can grow here should be grown here and only have to rely on imported food when we have to. I know the world won't like it and the UK in particular. If the people without a palette didn't buy the imported, poor tasting fruit when it wasn't in season here the imports would reduce quickly. I'm sorry, supermarkets and shoppers, wanting year round supplies of every last item. It's about time you thought about seasonal food, and supplying it. The customers - maybe decades younger than me - should manage to enjoy UK seasonal produce and find what they never knew! My regards to the nation in our moving forward, Nick

John Hines - 08/09/2020 19:55:51

We should buy British produced Meat, Fruit, Vegetables Greens Potatoes Salads Wines The freshest and finest products in the world Buy British Reduce the Food Miles

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