Third NSA Central Region Winter Fair aims to move sheep farming forward

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‘Helping sheep farmers move forward’ will be the theme of the third NSA Central Region Winter Fair, which is to be held at Bakewell Agricultural Centre on Thursday 29th January 2015.

An exciting seminar programme with a line-up of expert speakers will reflect the potential to drive the sheep industry and businesses within it forward by progressing markets, planning for effective flock and farm management and making new regulations work for sheep keepers.

DEFRA’s Terry Gurnhill will offer a thorough explanation of new and incoming rules around sheep identification and movement reporting in a seminar entitled ‘Making statutory recording and reporting easier’. Mrs Gurnhill will be joined by Richard Webber of Shearwell Data Ltd and sheep farmer Frank Langrish to discuss ways of easing the burden of statutory recording on farmers and the potential benefits of better data gathering for a farm business. This is farmers’ chance to put their questions on recording and reporting directly to the experts and take part in a constructive conversation on one of the hottest topics in sheep farming.

Visitors attending the seminar will also learn about a new service from Shearwell designed to help farmers link with the Animal Reporting and Movement Service (ARAMS) database.

Nicola Dodd of Eblex will shine a spotlight on the domestic lamb market with her seminar ‘The modern consumer’s view of lamb: who’s eating it and who’s not?’. With much recent focus falling on the global sheep meat market and expanding export options, this is a great chance for farmers to get to know their more local customers, the domestic public. Ms Dodd will outline attitudes to lamb among different demographics and look at the options for encouraging new consumers to buy lamb.

‘Strike plan 2015’ is the name of Novartis Animal Health vet Caroline Dawson’s seminar on understanding blowfly control products. After a warm, wet summer which saw cases of fly-strike rocket, this session will provide farmers with strategies for protecting their flocks in the coming season. The seminar will include demonstrations with live sheep.

How to strike a balance between ecology and productivity is one of the biggest questions in farming today. A seminar entitled ‘Managing a Farm within an Environment Scheme’ will take visitors through ways of securing the best outcomes for the farmer and the environment and will explain new rules relating to the Countryside Stewardship Scheme. The session will be led by Jude Leaming and Philip Hulland of Bagshaws and Alan Alderson, sheep farmer and Chairman of the Swaledale Sheep Breeders Association.

NSA Central Region Winter Fair Organiser Anne Payne said: “We’re really pleased to offer sheep farmers such a range of interesting and useful seminars from a hugely knowledgeable set of speakers.

“Each session will provide visitors with practical ideas they can take back to their own business and each fits with the theme of helping farmers move their enterprises, and the sheep industry as a whole, forward.”

Visit the NSA Central Region Winter Fair web page at www.nationalsheep.org.uk/events for more information.