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NSA Sheep 2016

Date: 27th July 2016

Location: Three Counties Showground, Malvern, Worcestershire WR13 6NW

NSA Sheep 2016, the premier technical event for the sheep sector, saw a busy day of strong crowds and trade stands reporting a huge amount of business conducted. NSA says the positive atmosphere surrounding the event reflects ‘cautious optimism’ within the industry as a whole.

Phil Stocker, NSA Chief Executive, reports: “It was a really fantastic day with a generally forward-thinking and positive mood among the thousands of people attending. Farmers weren’t just passing the time; they were really thinking about where they could make wise investments to ensure their businesses were more sustainable. It was also evident that that there is a huge amount of young energy coming into this industry. It stands us in good stead for the future that so many of the next generation were making the most of the day.

“There is a general air of cautious optimism in the sheep sector at the moment, which was clearly indicated by the positivity of the event. The Brexit decision means there are clear challenges ahead, but there are also some big opportunities that need to be taken advantage of. Visitors were sharing their different views for a positive future and so there is undoubtedly a need for a concentrated effort by farming bodies and the Government to work on priorities.”

Farming Minister George Eustice attended the event, welcoming visitors at the opening ceremony and joining a panel discussion about the future of direct payments for farmers. He spoke about trade negotiations and the increasing likelihood of getting market access for British lamb into the USA, as well as ways for the Government and agriculture to work towards common post-Brexit goals.

Mr Stocker continues: “Mr Eustice made it clear the Government is working to create trade deals across the globe, including positive steps towards market access for lambs in the USA. Much of this work started before the EU referendum, but NSA Sheep 2016 gave us the opportunity to really stress the importance of continued access to the EU common market and just how crucial negations in this area will be.

“The Minister’s comments on support payments to farmers were generally well received by visitors, with an air of excitement and interest from people about what he was saying. He made it clear he does not want to hear suggestions from the industry of remaining with the status quo and NSA accepts Mr Eustice’s invitation to pitch innovative approaches and options that will serve the industry well, push it forward and be justifiable to the public.

“The launch at the event of an NSA report into the complementary role of sheep in upland and hill areas proved very timely, as this outlines the public goods provided by farmers and what is needed to recognise and support the fine balance between production, environment and society. Another area that matches the minister’s desired approach is the existing NSA proposal for an animal health scheme to incentivise forward-looking approaches to exotic and endemic diseases.

“We are entering a new era for the sheep sector and NSA Sheep 2016 reflected that in the content of the day and conversations generated by the farmers attending. It will be very interesting to see what the sector looks like by the time of the next event in 2018.”

Other highlights of NSA Sheep 2016 included record attendance for the workshop programme, a newly created NSA Next Generation area, the four UK nations sweeping the board in the European Young Shepherd of the Year competition, and the announcement of NSA support for Love Lamb Week 2016. More online

NSA Sheep 2018 will be held on Wednesday 18th July. Regional NSA sheep events will be held in 2017.

NSA Sheep 2016 Competition Results

  • Young Shepherd of the Year: 1, Richard Carter, NSA Marches Region; 2, William Hinton, NSA South East Region; 3, Matthew Emmott, NSA Northern Region. Highest placed under 21, Iain Wilson, NSA Northern Ireland Region.
  • European Young Shepherd of the Year:  1, England (Richard Carter and William Hinton); 2, Northern Ireland (Iain Wilson and Russell Smyth); 3, Wales (Bledwyn Pugh and Aaron Johnson).
  • Wire Fencing: 1, Mike Ford Fencing; 2, Tim Bennett Fencing; 3, Don Critchlow.
  • Four Nations Ready Steady Cook: 1, Michael Ritch, Scottish Association YFC; 2, Vicky
  • National carcase selection: Joint 1st, Joe Blandford, Eastnor, Herefordshire, Richard Carter, Cualey, Gloucestershire, and Philip Derryman, Yarcombe, Devon.
  • Best outdoor trade stand: 1, Bryce Suma Post Drivers; 2, Tornado Wire; 3, Cox Agri/Ritchey.
  • Best indoor trade stand: 1, AHDB Beef & Lamb; 2, Moredun Foundation; 3, Innovis.
  • Best breed society stand: 1, Blackface Sheep Breeders Association; 2, Welsh Mule Sheep Breeders Association; 3, Lleyn Sheep Society.
  • Best pen of sheep on a breed society stand: 1, Welsh Mule Sheep Breeders Association; 2, Blackface Sheep Breeders Association; 3, Nelson South Wales Mountain Sheep Society.