Sheep farmers can look forward to potential sales, albeit in the long-term, to new markets in the US, with the news that talks between the UK and America have commenced following disruptions caused by Covid-19.

Access into the US would create demand for high-value cuts, particularly sheepmeat with provenance, according to National Sheep Association chief executive Phil Stocker.

"There could be some demand for sheepmeat with a story, simply because of the close connections between our countries and the huge interest in our culture and heritage – an aspect which UK sheep farming is steeped in.”

However, he stressed that consumption of lamb and mutton in the US is very low with the market itself underdeveloped.

"We believe there are valuable opportunities for both our industry and the US sheep sector. I am convinced that our genetics and British lamb and mutton are very different products to those produced by most US sheep farmers, which in turn could help stimulate real interest for sheepmeat amongst American consumers.

“We don’t see this as an alternative to the EU market, but it would be a positive trade that would complement both our exports and our domestic market. This is particularly prudent at current as the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has shown how reliant our industry is on the catering and hospitality market and I could see future US demand for British lamb and mutton coming in alongside our own catering markets, all of which help to balance carcase demand and optimise value across the entire sheepmeat product range.”