Ulster lamb could be cleared for sale to the USA by next year an Ulster Farmers’ Union officiali has revealed.
Deputy president, Victor Chestnutt said US Department of Agriculture plans to relax their BSE and TSE restrictions would be welcomed by livestock producers adding that while the proposals are currently still in consultation, there is hope that exports of sheep meat from the EU could resume in early 2017.
Stressing that access to new markets for all agriculture products is a key priority for the UFU he said: “The UK is perhaps in a unique position given that it is expected we will soon begin a process to officially leave the EU.
“However we would fully expect that until such times that the UK has officially left the EU that DEFRA and DAERA will work hard for local sheep producers - ensuring our industry can source export opportunities in the US and other markets,” he added.
“While lamb consumption in the US is relatively low in comparison to other meats, they are still only 47per cent self-sufficient meaning they are heavily reliant on imports to meet demand.
“Competition from New Zealand and Australia in this market is strong, however we believe we have a unique, high quality product which will appeal to US consumers wanting to try something different.”