The Northern Ireland Sheep Shearers Association (NISSA) have worked tirelessly over the last 17 years to promote and enhance sheep shearing across Northern Ireland.
Their latest success is working in collaboration with the British Wool Marketing Board (BWMB) to provide Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster (YFCU) with sheep shearing training courses for the 2015 Balmoral Show competition selection.
The necessity of the additional support this year from the BWMB became apparent due to cutbacks in Department funding.
Ian Buchanan, the newly elected BWMB Chairman and Northern Ireland Regional Committee member has been a strong supporter of NISSA since its inception, and is convinced that NISSA have undoubtedly managed to raise the profile of sheep shearing in Northern Ireland, advancing the skill for sheep shearing to the highest possible international standards.
Earlier this week BWMB’s Regional and Shearing Manager, Colin MacGregor ably assisted by Northern Ireland’s Chief Shearing Instructor and past NISSA Chairman Mr William Jones were on hand to offer expert skills and knowledge on the YFCU shearing course held at Templepatrick, Ballyclare.
Mr MacGregor said: “I’m very encouraged by the amount of interest for shearing courses in Northern Ireland this year. There’s been a high standard of capability amongst the shearers and I’m very much looking forward to seeing this enthusiasm continue in to next week’s competition at Balmoral Show.”
The courses where held on the farm of current NISSA Chairman Walter Hoy to whom the participants were greatly indebted.
The YFCU competitions will be held on Wednesday 13th May at the Balmoral show, where competitors will battle for the highly sought after ‘Lister Silver Handpiece’ which has previously been won by many who have gone on to become world class Shearers with international recognition.
Roberta Simmons, YFCU President, stated: “The Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster are delighted to have the support of NISSA, in collaboration with BWMB, in the run up to the Sheep Shearing Competition at Balmoral Show. The YFCU Sheep Shearing heats are currently taking place throughout Northern Ireland and without support such as this the extremely popular and sought after competition would not be possible.
“In addition to this our members are able to avail in real life skills with a beginner, novice and advanced section offered, it means that our YFCU members, as young as 12, are able to achieve skills to the highest possible standard that will better enable them in the future.”
Potential trainees are reminded that the closing date for eight additional shearing training courses to be held throughout the country is Tuesday 19th May and anyone wishing to attend one of these courses should contact CAFRE through their website www.cafre.ac.uk.