Sheep Event Welcomes Powerhouse of Speakers

The National Sheep Association (NSA) North Sheep event, which will take place on Wednesday 5th June 2019 at New Hall Farm in Settle, North Yorkshire, has announced an impressive line-up of speakers for this year’s seminar programme. 

The subjects to be discussed are diverse; ranging from sheep exports to animal health to share farming, with key representatives from the sheep industry promising to provide a thought provoking and informative platform, to discuss issues that play a vital role in future sheep farming sustainability.

Eddie Eastham

Eddie Eastham

Here, Eddie Eastham, Chairman of the National Sheep Association Policy and Technical Committee, who is also chairing the Sheep Health and Welfare seminar, gives some background to the seminar programmes:

“The themes have been specially chosen as we feel they are relevant at this current time. Our aim is to keep our farmers up to date, and our speakers will all have the latest in-depth information on the areas which they represent.

Those on the Sheep Exports panel are involved in Exports and at the sharp end, they will have an angle on this. As we cannot foresee what the position will be, hopefully by June there will be some clarification one way or the other and they will update dates to us. 

The Future of the Environmental Schemes is part of the Agriculture Bill, and although we know the outline, we do not know the details. So, this seminar, with a panel of people from different backgrounds, will look into that and how further programmes will develop. 

Sheep Health and Welfare is of course ongoing, and we want to reiterate the importance of this. Here in the UK, we already adhere to welfare standards and part of the Ag bill, going forward, is improving this. Of course, this is linked with profitability. If you look at the outline of the Ag bill, there is a lot of criticism that it does not feature food, and it is up to organisations such as us to lobby and develop these schemes to secure as much money as possible onto farms in the future. Farmers will need to learn to adjust and if we can link into health programmers, this should help productivity and put back money into farms. 

Kicking off proceedings, Robyn Peat & Simon Britton of George F White will present on the topic of Share Farming and/or Obtaining a Tenancy. As many sheep farmers look to de risk their business by improving economies of scale, this seminar promises to assist them in  the process of expanding their business. 

This will be followed by a seminar on Sheep Exports, chaired by Cumbrian sheep farmer, John Geldard. The panel of extremely qualified industry representatives include Phil Hadley, International Market Development Director at AHDB; Mike Gooding, Director at Farmers Fresh (a farmer owned abattoir supplying lamb carcasses and cuts to European customers since 2000) and Rizvan Khalid, Managing Director of Euro Quality Lambs. 

The Future for Environment Land Management Schemes will be the next issue for discussion, chaired by Phil Stocker, Chief Executive of the NSA (National Sheep Association) and including presentations from Adrian Shepherd, the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s (YDNPA) Head of Land Management; Julia Aglionby, Foundation for Common Land; a registered charity established to protect the public benefits from pastoral communing; Thomas Binns, NFU Uplands Chairman and James Le Page, a senior civil servant at DEFRA, who has recently been tasked with designing a new post-Brexit Environmental Land Management system. 

The final seminar will look at how sheep health and welfare helps the industry with the panel of experts being Christine Middlemiss, Chief Vet from DEFRA; Fiona Lovatt, a highly respected and experienced sheep Vet; Sarah Baker, AHDB Strategic Insight Manager and Robin Manning, who has experience working in Brussels as an Agricultural Policy Expert at the European Commission, and is currently part of the Future Farming Land Use Team at DEFRA.

The strong line up of speakers promises to instigate some lively and interesting discussions and aim to challenge, inspire, educate and motivate farmers to look at their enterprise and consider what they can do to ensure their business is resilient and prepared for future market conditions.

This is reiterated by Simon Britton, Partner of George F. White, who are sponsoring the event:
“It is good to talk. You need to be a top performing farming business in order to reduce the impact of Brexit and a reduction in direct payments.  One of the characteristics of a top performing farming business, whether livestock or arable, is attending events, seminars and knowledge transfer.

I can guarantee that when you come to NSA North Sheep, and attend one of the seminars, you will learn something new and you will take this information away with you and benefit from it. The better ferments the farming business, the better it gets and the more efficient you will get, and you will also minimise the effects and what the future holds on your farming business.

So, whatever your thoughts are on Brexit, making the decision to attend events such as these has nothing to do with Brexit, but I can guarantee it will have something to do with your business.”

NSA Sheep North expects to welcome up to 8,000 visitors on the 5th June, and will also offer industry workshops, demonstrations, a farm tour, and new to this year, the Booths Lamb corner – offering a selection of mouth-watering lamb dishes for all to taste. An area will also be dedicated to the new generation to highlight the incredible talent the industry has and promote careers for future farmers. 

As an organisation, the National Sheep Association (NSA) represent the views and interests of sheep producers throughout the UK, receiving tremendous support from everyone connected with the industry. The NSA is funded by the memberships of its sheep farmers. Together with the many industry related activities it is involved with, it aims to ensure that it plays a key part in every aspect of the sheep farming sector.

North Sheep 2019

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