With Provinlait, the dairy sheep marks its territories a little more


The small growing sector: this is how the players in the dairy sheep sector define themselves. In 2000, the latter produced 250 million liters of milk. In 2021, it was at 321 million litres, with a very marked acceleration over the past five years.

The sector remains historically and still valiantly driven by its three basins in northern Occitania, Pyrénées-Atlantique and Corsica and their emblematic AOPs: Roquefort, Ossau-Iraty and Brocciu. But for the past few years, it has benefited from the reinforcement of a 4th bowl.

Christian Poncet, Sandrine Mary and Aline Rey, respectively advisors to the PAI, the Chamber and the RDI of Aveyron
Christian Poncet, Sandrine Mary and Aline Rey, respectively advisors to the PAI, the Chamber and the RDI of Aveyron

This 4th basin, it is generated by the production of non-PDO cheeses (uncooked pressed cheeses and soft cheeses) and an ultra-fresh segment (fresh cheeses in brine, yoghurts, fluid milk, etc.). And it embraces all of France, including historic territories. All of this benefits from the enthusiasm of consumers for products made from sheep’s milk.  » A few years ago, it was no longer necessary to produce sheep’s milk and we could not give new references to future installedsays Sandrine Mary, installation advisor at the Aveyron Chamber of Agriculture. Today, all the dairies are in demand, which explains a movement of conversion of certain dairy cattle or meat sheep workshops towards milk sheep. « .

1er national fair dedicated to dairy sheep

It is precisely this movement of conversion which is at the origin of the organization of the Provinlait fair, the first edition of which was held in Réquista (Aveyron) on June 2 and 3, on the eve of the 25th feast of the dairy sheep.  » What could be better than a trade show to bring together in one place the professional organizations of all the production areas, all the skills and all the suppliers concerned by the sector?e, says Adeline Canac, vice-president of the Chamber of Agriculture and instigator of the show. Above all, we must not rely on the dynamic at work but on the contrary do everything to ensure that it continues « .

Michel Laurens, Adeline Canac and Michel Causse, respectively president of the Fête de la brebis association, vice-president of the Chamber of Agriculture, mayor of Réquista and president of the community of communes of Réquistanais
Michel Laurens, Adeline Canac and Michel Causse, respectively president of the Fête de la brebis association, vice-president of the Chamber of Agriculture, mayor of Réquista and president of the Community of communes of Réquistanais

In a canton that prides itself on being France’s leading sheep-farming industry, and where agriculture and agri-food represent two-thirds (63%) of economic activity, the initiative has obviously received the support of all local authorities. .  » In the Réquistanais, we have tended to live a little in autarky, sheltered from the AOP Roquefort, with large properties that have lived well for decades.underlines Michel Causse, mayor of Réquista and president of the Community of communes of Réquistanais. Today, the sector is questioning the perception of its profession, the evolution of its technicality and the securing of its recruitment at all links in the chain. « .

France dairy sheep in support

Provinlait fully intends to make its contribution to the sustainability of the sector, which has assets to promote, both towards candidates for the profession and to citizen consumers. It is, moreover, a position that prevailed in the creation of the interprofessional association France ewes dairy (FBL) in 2019, made up of three colleges (producers, cooperatives and dairy industries), associating the three regional interprofessional organizations (Roquefort, Pyrénées- Atlantiques, Corsica) and the National Dairy Sheep Committee (CNBL). Mobilizing all these networks, France ewes dairy has been one of the mainsprings of Provinlait and in particular of the conferences, a few weeks after the adoption of the signature of its charter of commitments.

 » France dairy sheep means going beyond the differences between production areas to focus on the specificities common to the three areas, namely the very strong pre-eminence of mountain areas, grazing, the lamb which remains with the mother until ruminant agedeclares Jean-Marc Chayrigues, sheep’s milk supply director for Société des caves et president of France dairy sheep. These elements appear, among others, in our Charter of Commitment « .

Joël Acher, Laurent Reversat and Jean-Marc Chayrigues, the successive presidents of France dairy sheep
Joël Acher, Laurent Reversat and Jean-Marc Chayrigues, the successive presidents of France dairy sheep

The charter in question is a process for improving the practices of breeders and processors. It pours as much into know-how as into making it known. It is part of a sustainability approach in the broad sense, where other projects such as remuneration will aggregate over time (with the entry into force of contractualization on 1er next October), animal welfare or the carbon footprint, without forgetting the essential transmission / installation file.

The installation pitfall

Despite its vitality, the dairy sheep sector is not immune to the problem of generational renewal.  » We see very beautiful and very profitable farms not finding buyers and who end up going to expandlaments Sandrine Mary. The phenomenon has increased significantly in the space of a few years. « .

Recruitment problems concern all the links in the chain
Recruitment problems concern all the links in the chain

According to the Chamber of Agriculture, the financial amounts of takeovers are becoming increasingly prohibitive, including for family transmissions, given the question of sharing between children. Suffice to say that for non-farmers (Nima), it is almost mission impossible.  » In 2021, 400 candidates applied for the Aveyron PAIdeclares Christian Poncet, adviser specialized in the installation. And for the first time, non-farmers were in the majority « .  » Even employees prefer to keep their status rather than consider joining “, notes Aline Rey, adviser to the RDI of Aveyron. For this reason, and for many others, a Provinlait n°2 will not be superfluous. Encouraged by the success of this first edition, the organizers are already thinking about the next one in 2023, thus alternating with Tech-Ovin.

Until then, the mayor of Réquista formulates advice.  » The Aveyronnais has a culture of secrecyt, he says. When a farmer wants to sell, he says so at the last moment, when it should be expressed at least three years in advance. But when we explain to them, we hear ourselves answer: but what will people say ? « .

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