Antonio Enfedaque, a 61 year old Spanish farmer located in northeast Spain, has a total of 3,000 sheep on his farm.

Together with his two sons, Ángel and Antonio, Enfedaque is producing lamb that is called Ternasco de Aragón, classed as a protected geographical indication (PGI) that was created in 1999 for the promotion and marketing of lamb meat from native breeds of Aragon.

This native breed of sheep on the farm is Rasa Aragonesa, which is known for its short wool and its ability to stand low temperatures.

The farm had an annual turnover of €250,000 in 2022, and while the expected turnover in 2023 is not yet known, it is forecasted to be higher as a result of the price increase of lamb meat.

Enfedaque can sustain his farming practices through the support of a co-operative that he is a member of, called Oviaragon- Grupo Pastores Cooperative, that promotes and sells this premium product.

Diego Franco, marketing manager at Oviaragón and farm owner, Antonio Enfedaque

The Pastores Grupo Cooperativo consists of 800 shepherds in 400 villages that farm sheep on a total of 1,000,000ha, which contributes to the development of the Aragón region, as the organisation maintains it helps to sustain the population in this rural area.

While Spain produces over a quarter of the sheepmeat in the EU, the Aragón region is responsible for almost 10% of the product in Spain.

The Pastores Grupo Cooperativo will not allow members that have fewer than 100 sheep, as Ángel Tarancón, the director general of the organisation said they are not sustainable.

The cooperative is responsible for many stages of lamb production from farm to table, from providing vets to assist farmers, maintaining fattening centres for lambs and producing feed mixes for ewes and lambs.

Ternasco de Aragón is produced from the meat of young lambs that are selected for slaughter when they are just under three months of age, and that have been reared on their mothers milk for 40 days.

The meat itself is known for being tender and with a balanced flavour.

There are 1,000 sheep here grazing on a field of alfalfa

Enfedaque had over a thousand of his sheep grazing on alfalfa, a forage crop also called lucerne, the growing of which is possible through the irrigation system in place in the area.

The pastures that Enfedaque uses for his sheep to graze on are not owned by him, but are owned by the local municipality who manage their use.

Each flock of sheep that he has grazing are managed by a shepherd, and the sheep and shepherd are outside in the field for 12 months of the year.

Enfedaque has invested heavily in the farm, in particular the addition of a new shed with automation for animals feeding (pictured above), which was financed by his own funds and a bank loan.

It is a sector however that it is hard to find workers for, as Enfedaque said they are expected to work 12 hours a day for 365 days of the year.

He said if the workers are young people that are single, or if they are with someone interested in sheep, they will continue working there.

However, Enfedaque said if they are with someone who is not interested in sheep, the relationship is “over”.