A lamb bank is being created to allow farmers and crofters to donate lambs at Scottish auction markets to supply free lamb to school children for St Andrew’s Day.
The Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers in Scotland (IAAS), which represents livestock auctioneers across the country, says the lamb bank scheme will help fund the provision of meat in Scottish schools as part of its long-running Lamb for St Andrew’s Day campaign.
“The funds from any sheep being sold via the marts and donated to the lamb bank will be used to supply lamb to Scottish schools during the week of November 30,” said IAAS executive director, Neil Wilson.
“The idea of donating lambs for schools was started by IAAS in 2020, when Scottish marts donated over 50 lambs to promote the Lamb for St Andrew’s Day campaign.”
He said the campaign, which is backed by livestock auctioneers, red meat levy body Quality Meat Scotland and butchers, aims to make lamb the go-to meat for St Andrew’s Day in the same way turkey is for Christmas.
Last year’s campaign resulted in 11,600 home economics pupils from 115 Scottish schools signing up to cook lamb for St Andrew’s Days, and over the past 10 years 1,500 farming families and their friends have organised social events to celebrate and feast on Scotch Lamb.
Explaining how the lamb bank will work, John Thomson from C & D Marts in the south-west, said: “Between now and November 30, farmers selling lambs through Scotland’s marts can opt to donate sheep for the lamb bank; all they need to do is let auctioneers know when they book stock in for sale.
“We’d like to get lamb into at least one school in every town and every rural school in Scotland, but preferable more than that, if the industry is behind that.”
QMS director of marketing and communications, Lesley Cameron, encouraged farmers to get involved and said the red meat levy body was delighted to support IAAS with the Lamb for St Andrew’s Day campaign.
She said: “Since the initiative started, it’s been fantastic to see so many industry representatives come together and celebrate the taste and nutritional benefits of Scotch Lamb, as well as the product’s sustainability credentials.
“QMS’ activity to complement the work in schools will feature collaborations with chefs and social media influencers, as well as a media partnership which will generate multiple opportunities for people to see Lamb for St Andrew’s Day online and in print.”