Organic sheep farmers enter into agreements to offer organic lamb all year round
Groenlo, 13 January 2023 – With the signing of the supplier agreements with 25 organic sheep farmers, De Groene Weg has taken the final step in creating a formal supply chain for organic lamb from the Netherlands. This represents another step for De Groene Weg in its strategy of working together in demand-driven supply chains.
De Groene Weg has already been working with these sheep farmers since 2013, but this partnership had not been formalised until now. With the signing of a supplier agreement, De Groene Weg has entered into a purchase commitment for the number of lambs the sheep farmer can supply annually and the sheep farmer has committed to supply the agreed numbers. Also, as in the pork supply chain, a fixed price has been agreed and will be set four times a year based on cost and market development.
Peace of mind and stability
Organic sheep farmer Peter van Leeuwen from Buren (NL) is chairman of the organic sheep farmers’ association and says that the desire to formalise this supply chain had been held among sheep farmers for some time. ‘Ever since the shortage of organic lamb in 2021, it was clear that we wanted to take this step,’ he says. ‘I am familiar with De Groene Weg’s unique way of working with farmers from its organic pork supply chain. The purchase commitment, as well as the pricing system that De Groene Weg has in place, gives the sheep farmer peace of mind and stability. Sheep are often a secondary activity for an organic farmer. Organic dairy cattle or pigs are often their main activity and the sheep are there to keep the grass short in winter, for example. As a sheep farmer, it is therefore pleasing that you can be certain of selling your lambs at a fair price. The fact that our lambs are also certified as organic is then perhaps even more important than getting the highest price. I am proud that we have taken this step as a sector, together with De Groene Weg.’
Organic lamb all year round
De Groene Weg’s Livestock Manager Jan Leeijen has been involved in this process. ‘We work with about 25 Dutch organic sheep farmers and process about 1,500 lambs a year,’ he says. ‘A good quantity to sell a unique and delicious product to the customers of our organic butchers. The step we have now taken with organic sheep farmers enables our butchers to offer organic lamb all year round.’