New Zealand links up with Canada over lamb

Global - lamb TD Farm
OPERATION: The Canada Sheep and Lamb Farms operation. (Photo: CSLF)

THE New Zealanders are getting more deeply involved in the Canadian lamb supply.

Canada Gold Beef Ltd, owner of Alberta based SunGold Specialty Meats Ltd and the Canada Gold Lamb Lot in Alberta, is merging its lamb operations with Fresh Canada Meats Ltd, majority shareholder of Manitoba-based Canada Sheep and Lamb Farms Ltd.

Fresh Canada Meats is a wholly owned Canadian subsidiary of Integrated Foods Ltd, a lamb producer and processor in New Zealand.

The merged entity, North American Lamb Co Ltd (NALC), will control lamb production and marketing for the group covering genetics, breeding, finishing, processing and sales.

The merger is designed to form a Canadian integrated lamb supply chain to provide premium lamb products to domestic and international markets with year-round consistent supply and specification.

A Canada Gold statement says inconsistency has plagued the Canadian sheep industry for as long as it has existed.

“NALC is all about bringing together a disciplined, significant and resilient supply chain to benefit such retail and food service customers and ultimately the consumer through recognized branded product lines,” it says.

Canada Sheep and Lamb Farms is one of the largest sheep farming operations in North America, producing lambs year-round from a breeding flock exceeding 35,000 ewes and ewe lambs and soon growing to more than 50,000 head.

The farming system is designed to produce significant numbers of lambs for finishing to market specification at the Canada Gold Lamb Lot, a state-of-the-art feeding operation with a licensed one-time capacity of 50,000 lambs. It has scope to finish 200,000 market lambs a year.

SunGold is Canada’s largest federal lamb processing plant using many of the latest technologies in processing and value-added production to ship products domestically and internationally.

The merger does not preclude NALC working with both established and new entrant lamb producers.

“It is an exciting time for NALC and the Canadian sheep industry,” the statement says. “The merger is a natural evolution in the maturity of the Canadian lamb industry that has, in the past, suffered from fragmentation and uncertainty. The industry can now aspire to be one that is truly customer driven and achieve sustainable, long term future growth.”

NALC says it aims to have a controlled supply and value chain for North America to give delivery in full, on time and in specification. The business model creates many opportunities for producers to both specialise and scale up their lamb operations to create a sustainable future for themselves.

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