This the twin project to the suckler beef project. They have been designed together to have a common approach; thus to simplify them in the minds of both the farmers and the consumers.
As with the suckler beef project, the project be built upon a new quality and origin designation scheme for traditionally-reared Irish lamb [and less traditional older sheep-meat products]. The baseline scheme will also have similarities to the premium-level French 'Label Rouge' scheme and it will again have its own set of rules and regulations. Membership of the Bord Bia Quality Assurance Scheme is likely to be required/recommended to maintain non-scheme market access.
The project will then have a multi-label structure to accommodate the inclusion of a number of more specific lamb products. A second ‘tier’ will be an Irish Hill Lamb designation that will allow all such designated hill lamb to be marketed together as well as under its own [when available] more specific label. The latter will almost certainly relate to the hill-farming region of origin. That may in turn also be related to the stewardship of high-nature-value farmlands and/or renown landscapes.
Further scheme labels may relate to being 100% 'grass-fed', finishing sheep at older ages and/or the use of heritage breeds [albeit this is likely to be much more limited than with beef cattle].
Again, the use of multiple labels will mimic that used for French sheep-meat products where a product can be a part of the premium-products 'Label Rouge' scheme, a yet-more-enhanced-quality Label Rouge scheme, a more 'in-depth' appellation d'origine contrôlée and also qualify for an EU protected origin designation [that is potentially four different quality and origin labels].
The sheep quality and origin scheme project is also to be developed in parallel with the route-to-market and local processing initiatives presented elsewhere on the Foundation’s website.
For further information on this project and how it is progressing please contact us.