THE continuing rise in consumer demand for venison is to be the subject of an open day at Harewood House on June 14.
Taking place with the permission of Viscount and Viscountess Lascelles, the event at the estate near Leeds aims to educate and encourage farmers and park keepers to rear deer to meet the increasing demand for venison in the UK.
The meat is seeing unprecedented growth across all sectors, including catering and online markets. But the dearth of home-grown product presents an opening for New Zealand’s deer farming industry – the largest in the world.
The day-long programme, organised by the British Deer Farms and Parks Association will give an overview of the market, details of fencing and herd start-up, a seminar on deer park management issues and a tour of the Harewood Estate – home to a sizeable number of deer.
Nigel Sampson, of the British Deer Farms and Parks Association, said: “Venison demand has been outstripping supply for a number of years and we see the rise in demand for this healthy meat as a long-term consumer trend.
“The recent shortage in stocks of UK venison has highlighted a real need for more stock.
“The country is full of traditional parks which have deer which could become part of this trade.
“UK parkland is ideal for deer farming, and the addition of deer to this often underused land can supply an additional income for the estate or park, as well as enhancing the local landscape.
“Grazing deer are not only a beautiful addition to the countryside, they play a rightful place in the food cycle.
“The association sees deer farms and parks as natural partners in the market place, providing a consistent supply of high quality venison to meet a rapidly growing market for the meat.
“As an organisation we’re here to offer support and practical advice to parkland owners and farmers helping them to profitably supply the increasingly strong demand for venison.”