Farmers help deliver lamb to 30,000 pupils

Farmers selling sheep via an IAAS mart can donate the proceeds from the sale into the Lamb Bank
Farmers selling sheep via an IAAS mart can donate the proceeds from the sale into the Lamb Bank

Scotland’s red meat industry has united to deliver an unprecedented amount of lamb to school children across Scotland this St Andrew’s Day.

In the penultimate week for donations, the Lamb Bank has received a 300kg boost from meat processors and packers, as well as lamb and cash donations from farmers.

With the contributions to date, 28,693 pupils in 189 schools will be cooking or eating lamb this November.

However, to meet its ambition to deliver into at least one school in Scotland, the Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers in Scotland (IAAS) - which initiated the Lamb Bank - is calling on farmers and processors to donate lamb proceeds or money to meet the target of delivering three tonnes.

Alan Hutcheon, IAAS member and Director of Aberdeen Northern Marts said: “Seeing the industry pull together like this to encourage more school children to taste, eat and cook with Scotch Lamb is exceptional.

“The more school children we reach, the more we can share the positive story of eating lamb and sheep farming.

“We still need a last push on donations so if you haven’t already contributed, it’s not too late and every pound makes a difference.

“Please contact your local mart this week so we can commit to as many schools as possible and plan appropriately.”

Lamb for St Andrew’s Day is a marketing initiative kickstarted in 2010 by auctioneers to boost lamb sales among consumers.

In 2020, when large gatherings and eating out were largely closed down, IAAS supported by redirecting its main focus to schools, delivering 1.2 tonnes of lamb into canteens and Home Economics’ classrooms.

To build on this, IAAS created the Lamb Bank in 2021, to amass donations from the industry with the ambitious goal to triple last year’s achievement.

Farmers selling sheep via an IAAS mart can donate the proceeds from the sale into the Lamb Bank. Other businesses can make direct financial contributions.

Woodhead Brothers in Turriff has committed to donating 300kg of lamb, approximately 20-25 lambs, which will reach 3,000 pupils in schools in the North East.

Department Manager, Gordon Taylor said: “We wanted to be part of this and to make a substantial contribution as we support everything it stands for.

“Not only does it give thousands of schoolchildren the chance to taste this tasty and nutritious food, but it will initiate important conversations in the classroom about climate change and is a chance to share the positive messages about rearing livestock in Scotland.

“We want to see those children sharing their enthusiasm with parents and friends and we’d also urge all those in the industry to spread the word.”