Rachael Hamilton MSP, Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, has welcomed the news that the United States of America will open its doors to Scotch Lamb from January 2022.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirmed it has amended the rule which currently prevents imports of lamb from the UK into the USA. The amended “small ruminant rule” will come into force on 3 January 2022.
UK producers will soon be able to sell their lamb to a market of over 300 million people with the US market estimated to be worth £37m over five years for the farming industry.
The US decision comes after President Biden committed to lift the ban in a meeting with the Prime Minister in September. Exports of British lamb to the US market will be able to resume after more than two decades of restrictions.
Mrs Hamilton has hailed the announcement as a welcome boost to Borders farmers, and hopes that the region will take full advantage of the new opportunities presented by the lifting of the US ban.
Rachael Hamilton MSP said:
“This is a major announcement which offers opportunities to sell to the US market.
“Thanks to the UK Government, we now see this two-decade-old ban lifted, with the potential to reach 300 million consumers.
“Scotch lamb is world-renowned and this is testament to the high animal welfare standards which makes for a high quality product.
“The demand for lamb is increasing and I hope that Scottish farmers can tap into this upward trend with this latest boost for the farming and food industry”.
UK Government Minister for Scotland Malcolm Offord said:
"This massive new export opportunity is fantastic news for farmers in Scotland and around the UK. US consumers will be licking their lips at the prospect of soon being able to tuck into our world-class lamb.
“Scottish farming is crucial to the UK's recovery from the pandemic and the UK Government will do everything it can to support it.”
Environment Secretary George Eustice said:
“This great news follows years of negotiations and builds on the success in securing the resumption of UK beef exports to the US. UK lamb is renowned for its high quality, food safety and welfare standards. Millions of US consumers will now be able to enjoy British lamb as early as next year.
“The US market for lamb is growing as consumer trends change and there are now new opportunities for farmers and meat processors in this market."