Antonio Enfedaque: The Spanish Farmer Cultivating Ternasco de Aragón

Antonio Enfedaque: The Spanish Farmer Cultivating Ternasco de Aragón
Antonio Enfedaque: The Spanish Farmer Cultivating Ternasco de Aragón

Antonio Enfedaque: The Spanish Farmer Cultivating Ternasco de Aragón


Summary:

  • Antonio Enfedaque, a Spanish farmer with 3,000 sheep in northeast Spain, focuses on producing the renowned Ternasco de Aragón, a lamb variety with Protected Geographical Indication status, alongside his sons.
  • Enfedaque benefits from the support of Oviaragon-Grupo Pastores Cooperative, contributing to a cooperative of 800 shepherds across 400 villages, fostering regional development while sustaining the rural population in Aragón.
  • Despite success, finding suitable workers for the demanding sheep farming industry remains a challenge. Enfedaque emphasises the dedication required—12-hour days, 365 days a year—and the importance of shared interest for sustainable worker relationships.

Antonio Enfedaque, a 61-year-old Spanish farmer nestled in northeast Spain, tends to a thriving farm boasting 3,000 sheep.

Together with his sons, Ángel and Antonio, Enfedaque dedicates his efforts to producing Ternasco de Aragón, a cherished lamb variety granted Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status in 1999. His farm hosts the native Rasa Aragonesa breed, renowned for its short wool and resilience in low temperatures.

Generating an annual turnover of €250,000 in 2022, Enfedaque anticipates a surge in 2023, riding on the upward trajectory of lamb meat prices.

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

His sustainable farming practises are bolstered by his membership in the Oviaragon-Grupo Pastores Cooperative, a support network facilitating the promotion and sale of this premium lamb product.

This cooperative, comprising 800 shepherds across 400 villages, collectively occupies 1,000,000 hectares of land, significantly contributing to the development of the Aragón region while sustaining the rural population.

The Aragón region, responsible for nearly 10% of Spain’s sheepmeat output, stands as a significant contributor to Spain’s quarter-share of sheepmeat production in the EU.

Under the cooperative’s guidelines, members must maintain flocks of at least 100 sheep for sustainability, a directive echoed by Ángel Tarancón, the organization’s director general, to ensure long-term viability.

The Pastores Grupo Cooperativo oversees various stages of lamb production, from veterinarian support for farmers to operating fattening centres for lambs and producing feed mixes for ewes and lambs.

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

Ternasco de Aragón, derived from young lambs selected for slaughter at around three months and nurtured on their mother’s milk for 40 days, is prized for its tender texture and balanced flavour.

Enfedaque’s sheep, numbering over a thousand, graze on alfalfa fields facilitated by the region’s robust irrigation system, managed by the local municipality. Each flock under Enfedaque’s care is overseen by a dedicated shepherd, ensuring the sheep remain in the fields year-round.

Investing significantly in farm infrastructure, Enfedaque recently added an automated shed for animal feeding, a testament to his commitment, financed by personal funds and a bank loan.

However, finding suitable workers for the industry remains a challenge. Enfedaque notes the demanding nature of the work—12-hour days, 365 days a year—which often deters potential hires.

He emphasises the importance of shared interest in sheep farming for sustained relationships with workers.

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.
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.

Enfedaque’s dedication to cultivating Ternasco de Aragón stands as a testament to sustainable farming practises and a commitment to preserving the rich agricultural heritage of Spain’s Aragón region.

 

 


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