A Co Down sheep farmers is one of a group of 12 young individuals from all over the UK that will take part in the National Sheep Association’s 2017 Next Generation Ambassador programme.
Twenty-three year old Joe Milligan, from Castlewellan, will join the rest of the ambassadors after a competitive selection process.
Part of the overall NSA Next Generation initiative, the Ambassador programme has gone from strength to strength since its launch in 2014. Delivery sessions throughout the year combine training to enhance personal development and business skills with technical sessions to increase knowledge of the sheep sector.
The individuals involved also develop a close working relationship with NSA, to ensure their ambassadorial role lasts far longer than just the 12 months of the initial programme, arming individuals with the skills to promote the sheep sector to the wider public, encourage other young farmers and tackle issues facing sheep keepers around the UK.
The impressive calibre of individuals selected to take part this year come from an incredibly passionate and well informed shortlist of applicants, making the selection process one of the toughest it’s ever been.
Joanne Briggs, NSA Communications Manager, said: “It was fantastic to hear from so many worthy candidates this year, and with the standard of entrants is rising year on year, these young people really are a credit to the industry. Some very tough decisions were made during the interview process.
“Thanks to the continued funding of NSA regions and ram sales and support of several delivery partners, NSA is thrilled to be embarking on the fourth year of the programme and is looking forward to welcoming this year’s group of 12 to their first delivery session in mid-February.”
Diversity is what makes the Ambassador group so unique. And with individuals taking part from a variety of different backgrounds, NSA is looking forward to bringing together the broad range of sheep enterprises and experiences this notable group has to offer. As well as meeting each other for the first time, the group’s first session will focus on flock health and performance, as well as opportunities to add value to wool.
Mrs Briggs concludes: “Bringing the total number of Ambassadors since 2014 to an incredible 46 individuals, NSA is really looking forward to working with this year’s intake through the following 12 months and into the future.”
Other ambassadors are Lisa Adams (32) Bury St. Edmonds, Suffolk; Nicola Drew (33) Brecon, Powys; Alexandria Egan (23) Shaftesbury, Dorset; Rory Gregor (25) Inverurie, Aberdeenshire; Matthew Haydon (33) Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire; Caryl Hughes (26) Llangollen, Wrexham; Toby Lawton (27) Newport, Shropshire; Richard Taylor (30) Corsham, Wiltshire; Howard Tratt (26) Lympsham, Somerset; Thomas Vickers (22) Tow Law, County Durham; and Alister Watson (25), Lockerbie, Dumfries and Galloway.
Find out more about the NSA Next Generation programme, and the flagship Ambassador initiative at www.nsanextgeneration.org.uk. Individual profiles for this year’s group can be found on the 2017 Ambassador Group page.