Consumers are increasingly demanding that their food is produced to high environmental standards.
Luckily, Wales has the climate and the landscape to produce lamb with the lowest impact possible on our planet.
Dubai receives around 95 millimetres of rain a year. London enjoys 615 millimetres, but the upland areas of Wales, where sheep farming is central to the way of life of many communities, have between 2000 and 3000.
This, combined with the landscape – plenty of hills but few high mountains, and a climate that rarely gets too hot or cold – means ideal conditions for growing grass to rear sheep.
Welsh Lamb has long enjoyed a worldwide reputation for its quality and taste, and now is increasingly winning customers for its environmental record too.
Recent independent studies have shown that Welsh Lamb ranks among the lowest in the world for greenhouse gas emissions, and farmers such as Huw Alun Evans and his family are part of the reason why.
Huw Alun and sons Huw Ynyr and Rhys farm at Hengwrt near Dolgellau, in the scenic Snowdonia National Park. Farming in tune with nature is part of their ethos.
“We farm within the natural abilities of the land, using native stock, not overstocking and not pushing the farm,” says Rhys Evans. “It’s important to work within the natural production capacity of the farm, without buying concentrates and fertiliser in bulk.”
The Evans family are involved in a number of projects aimed at ensuring that Welsh Lamb is produced in as environmentally-friendly a manner as possible.
At the moment, a project is helping upland farmers to measure the nature and biodiversity on their farms.
Trickling brooks and small ponds dot Hengwrt farm. The variety of plants and flora is varied within the meadows, grassland and mountainous areas of the farm. Heather, wild orchids, dewdrops, sedges and wild thyme to name but a few, attract bees, insects, birds and small mammals.
Rhys Evans said, “If you have a thriving biodiversity and environment then the condition of your natural resources is strong and that is what gives you the bedrock to produce food. We’re confident that our biodiversity is good at Hengwrt, but we need it measured so we can sustain it, and further improve it.”
With the next generation of Welsh farmers so determined to look after their land, Welsh Lamb will continue to be the choice of discerning customers who are aware of the environmental impact of their food.
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