Co Antrim farmer takes over as new NSA chairman

Samuel Wharry
Samuel Wharry
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National Sheep Association (NSA) has a new national chairman – Samuel Wharry from Carnlough, Co Antrim.

The NSA Management Board met on Wednesday (14th January) and elected a chairman for a term of three years from within its pool of 12 regional trustee managers. Samuel has been an officeholder within NSA Northern Ireland Region for a number of year (including regional chairman), served on the board for three years and has a wealth of sheep farming knowledge to draw on for this national role.

Samuel says: “I am delighted and honoured to be selected by my fellow board members for this role. I look forward to working with the board to continue to make NSA relevant and useful to all our members.”

With a real commitment to breeding fit-for-purpose stock, Samuel has maintained a purebred Scottish Blackface flock on his hill farm in Country Antrim while also taking part in a number of initiatives using other breeds, including the Swaledale and Lleyn, to gather practical data on maternal lines. He is also passionate about encouraging the next generation of sheep farmers and recently entered into a share farming agreement with James Davison, a young farmer from Ballymena with an appetite for the sheep sector but little land of his own. This is a mutually beneficial agreement that sees the pair work side-by-side making management decisions on the sheep enterprise, with James earning an increasing stake in the flock over the coming years.

Comments on this new share farming agreement, Samuel says: “Our industry needs to bring new blood forward and I’m pleased to be working with James to build a healthy business which will provide a decent income for both of us. I would like to think it could be an example that was useful to other people in the industry.”

Samuel takes over from John Geldard of Cumbria, who had held the post of national chairman since January 2012. On passing the reins to Samuel, John says: “It has been an absolute pleasure to represent the NSA over the last three years. I never dreamed I would be chairman of the grassroots organisation where I started as a member nearly 40 years ago and I have been very proud to be part of an organisation that punches well above its weight and involves a great bunch of people. I am fully confident that Samuel will continue to take the organisation forward in the next few years in the same spirit as it has operated in.”

For more information about the structure of NSA and how to get involved and feed in your views about the UK sheep sector visit www.nationalsheep.org.uk.