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Insights into the needs of sheep and goat farmers in the UK

As part of the iSAGE project, the Organic Research Centre (ORC) and the National Sheep Association (NSA) interviewed sheep and goat farmers in the UK to identify challenges and constraints they face, and the innovations that iSAGE should bring to the sector.

“We rely on researchers and innovators”, a farmer said when we started asking the first question for our interview. In the everyday challenges that surround the sheep and goat sector, farmers perceive research as key to finding solutions to their real problems.

Dairy farmers, meat producers and wool producers all identify climate change, poor marketing skills and changes in consumer demand as major threats to the sheep and goat sector.

Farmers during the interviews showed a genuine interest in participatory research and knowledge exchange with researchers, industrial partners and consumers that iSAGE will bring, whether through innovative management practices, breeding programmes or new recipes.

A more extensive survey including a large number of farms throughout the UK will take place in the next months to gain deeper insights into the sheep and goat farming sector.

Below are some images from the farms we visited for the interviews.

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Lesley Prior’s Farm in Devon produces high quality wool from merino sheep and cashmere goats.

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Upper Booth Farm in Peak District, where sheep grazing systems are integral part of the landscape in the National Park.

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