Ensuring an enthusiastic, skilled and knowledgeable next generation of farmers is key to securing the future of the sheep industry.
Just one way the NSA Next Generation project inspires young people and gives them practical skills is through a regional programme of Young Shepherd of the Year competitions – culminating with the national final this July.
NSA Sheep 2016, held at the Three Counties Showground on Wednesday 27th July, will be the venue for the biennial grand final, where finalists from regional heats will come together to showcase their expertise.
The finalists will complete seven tasks including sorting lambs, a test of sheep handling skills, demonstrating vaccination and dosing techniques, sheep shearing, and ATV efficiency, as well as answering questions on health and management. The regional heats included these skills, but the finalists will also face a final mystery challenge, to be revealed on the day.
Incorporated into the competition will also be the European Young Shepherd of the Year final. Representative teams from France and the Republic of Ireland will be put to the same tasks as the UK competitors (split into English, Welsh, Scottish and NI teams), with the results totted up to find individual and team winners for the European title.
Phil Stocker, NSA Chief Executive, explains: “With an aging work force and many farmers not having a clear view of their business succession plans, initiatives such as NSA Next Generation are vital. The sheep industry needs young blood, new ideas and the energy to keep up with an evolving marketplace.
“With an aging work force and many farmers not having a clear view of their business succession plans, initiatives such as NSA Next Generation are vital. The sheep industry needs young blood, new ideas and the energy to keep up with an evolving marketplace.”Phil Stocker, NSA Chief Executive
“NSA Next Generation is helping to promote the great opportunities available for younger sheep farmers and new entrants, and NSA Sheep 2016 will showcase this via a dedicated area for young people.
“Competitions such as the Young Shepherd of the Year also highlight the quality of the younger generation and the skills they can offer to the sheep industry in the future.”
To find out more about NSA Next Generation and the Young Shepherd of the Year competition at NSA Sheep 2016 please visit the “Attractions” area at www.sheepevent.org.uk.