Emmanuel Coste, president of the lamb arm of French agency Interbev, said the average age of sheep farmers around the world was increasing and in France, stood at 55 years old.
“This is one of the most important challenges we face,” he told delegates to the Sheep Committee Meeting in Paris. “All over the world this is a problem, we need to attract more younger people into sheep farming.”
One way his organisation was tackling the issue was through competition, he said, and the success of the French shepherd competition, Ovinpiades, had seen the scheme first rolled out Europe-wide, but was now open to entrants from round the world.
“We need to continue to build on that success. The image of the job is not good, but this competition allows us to give younger people the opportunity to exchange knowledge between countries and to get a new vision of the job of being a shepherd. We want to create a positive image around this event.”