Traditional native livestock could be given a new lease of life as the government seeks to encourage sustainable farming practices, says a rare breed expert.
Norfolk Horn enthusiast Dameon Layt has been elected chairman of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust support group for East Anglia. A dedicated and experienced champion for rare breeds, he is well known on the showing circuit across the UK both as a competitor and as a judge.
Mr Layt said: “We are on the cusp of an exciting time for rare breeds, with post-Brexit farming policy, changes in society and scientific innovation all creating new potential to boost the prospects of our native breeds.
Having previously served as an RBST trustee, Mr Layt has kept a flock of 50 Norfolk Horn sheep for more than 15 years. They are often present at occasions such as Norwich Cathedral’s crib service, the Norfolk Makers Festival and the Norfolk Spring Fling.
“There are some wonderful native breeds with strong connections to East Anglia which have sadly become very rare, such as Suffolk Punch horses, Norfolk Horn sheep and Large Black pigs. They do not deserve to be forgotten.”
Mr Layt said one of his priorities was to show why native breeds remain relevant. Commercial opportunities for traditional meat production were increasing – driven by growing consumer preference for high quality local produce, he said.