Production to contract? Among the imported meat trade elite gathered at Butchers Hall to mark New Zealand Farmers sales chief Owen Ferris' retirement in suitable style was a competitor who mentioned his conviction lamb could become a scarce and surprisingly valuable commodity within a few years. The theory of production subsiding because the coming generation of farmers will not tolerate the frustrations of small flock management is hardly new, but this trader has seen the industries of the Continent and South America and has experienced the technical complexities of a sector often wrongly assumed to run smoothly with little skilled labour input. Meanwhile a lamb marketing project has been set up by Brecon Beacons producers hoping to secure their futures using a mobile abattoir and mail order distribution. Similar initiatives are emerging in the Scottish Highlands and Islands, and in the west of Ireland. The paradox is they might prosper if the forecast of scarcity and rising prices proves correct, but its accuracy depends on the failure of small flock enterprises like theirs. {{MEAT }}

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