Do you know the Minetter Schof?
A 100% Minett meat to enjoy…
… in the protected areas of the southern region
A little bit of history
The Ardennes red sheep is nowadays the guardian of the good management of the dry grasslands present in the old mining sites. Why is this so important?
The mining landscapes created in the course of the 20th century by open-cast mining gradually returned to their natural state after the end of iron ore extraction in the late 1970s, thanks to their protection.
Today, these nature reserves and NATURA 2000 zones are home to a particularly interesting biodiversity, including dry grasslands. To maintain them in a good state of conservation, itinerant pasturing has been set up under the coordination of the Nature and Forest Administration (ANF). The itinerant herd contributes to control the overgrowth of dry grasslands and to disperse seeds from one site to another, allowing to stop the erosion of the biodiversity.
The Ardennes red sheep: a benefit for the environment
Thus, a herd of 350 ewes and their lambs graze on a dozen sites under the supervision of a shepherd from the Kail and Kail farm in Bergem. The breeders of the Minetter Schof, Pol and Guy Kail, are the only farmers who practice itinerant pasturing in the core areas of the “Minett UNESCO Biosphere”. They are proud to breed this endangered variety, which is adapted to the maintenance of dry grasslands and resistant to the weather and parasites of the region.
This conservation project therefore participates both in the management of remarkable landscapes with their biodiversity and in the conservation of this sheep race.
During a walk in the southern mining sites, don’t be surprised to meet these animals grazing between May, when they are in the green spaces, and December, just before they go back to the sheepfold.
Simply enjoy them!
The Ardennes red sheep: a symbol for the biosphere reserve?
The Minetter Schof project embodies the ideals of the “Minett UNESCO Biosphere“, which works to reconcile nature and human activities in the interests of sustainable development, while raising awareness on biodiversity!
The environmental impact is at the heart of the itinerant pasturing approach.
As consumers are expressing a growing interest in regional food products and the promotion of local products from the biosphere reserve and its surroundings is receiving particular attention, the PRO-SUD syndicate saw in the Minetter Schof a project that could also provide quality meat for food.
Without forgetting that it would serve to highlight the consideration of animal welfare and the conservation of an endangered variety, the natural wealth of the South, the preservation of biodiversity and support for local producers through a brand insisting on the traceability of the product and the attachment to a region.
Lamb meat as an economic resource
PRO-SUD has therefore provided support for the marketing of the Minetter Schof’s lamb meat. The summer of 2022 marks its first sale in stores thanks to a partnership between the farmer and the ANF, the “Minett UNESCO Biosphere” and La Provençale.
Each party plays a role: the ANF coordinates the grazing in the protected areas, the shepherd keeps the herd on the dry grasslands, the farmer manages the entire agricultural component related to the Minetter Schof project, the “Minett UNESCO Biosphere” coordinated the exchanges and developed the visual of the product around the brand Mmmh…Minett! with the agency ID Communication and the support of the Department of Spatial Planning (DATer), the breeder financed the first labels and La Provençale manages all the logistics of marketing the product and pays the producer according to the income.
How to get this meat?
The Minetter Schof lamb is a seasonal product available from July to December.
As the herd is small and will have to take over the management of the dry grasslands again next year, the Minetter Schof will be available again next summer.
Terms of reference