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Iceland Mag

Food & Drink

Icelandic sheep farming should be environmentally sustainable and carbon neutral by 2027

By Staff

  • Roaming free Icelandic sheep spend the summer roaming the highlands, Photo/Vilhelm Gunnarsson

Icelandic sheep should become even more environmentally friendly in the next decade if local growers achieve the ambitious goals set at the annual meeting of the sheep growers association. The industry aims at minimizing any negative environmental effect of sheep growing and ultimately make it environmentally sustainable. All genetically modified feed would be banned and sheep meat would be carbon neutral.

The goal is to ensure that Icelandic sheep can be marketed as both a high quality product and a environmentally friendly product the official newspaper of the Farmers Association reports.

A ten year plan
Sheep farmers aim at offsetting the carbon emissions of sheep growing by investing in topsoil reclamation, wetland reclamation, by planting new forests and by using renewable energy sources instead of switching fossil fuels for vehicles and machinery. The goal is to offer consumers sheep as an option which does not contribute negatively to global climate change. 

During the same ten years sheep growers will work to have all Icelandic sheep meat certified as non GMO-fed. This goal has actually already been met: No Icelandic sheep are raised with GMO-feed, but receiving internationally recognized certification takes time.

Too free-range to be certified as GMO-free
One problem which Icelandic sheep farmers have faced when they have sought this certification is that Icelandic sheep spend the summer roaming free in the highlands and in the mountains where they eat wild herbs. It is therefore very difficult for farmers to maintain complete control and a record of exactly what the sheep consume. International certification for meat which is not fed GMO-feed require this kind of minute control. Now the sheep farmers have set themselves a ten year goal of finding a solution to this problem

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