NSA Sheep Event aims to help farmers add value

This year’s NSA Sheep Event will be focusing on how to add value to the sheep industry in the future. Farmers Weekly takes a look at what the event has to offer.

Helping sheep farmers cope with market volatility and highlighting areas of opportunities will be two key focus areas at this year’s NSA Sheep Event on 27 July at the Three Counties Showground.

The event theme this year is “Adding value” and for the first time organisers are offering free entry for NSA members to the biennial one-day event.

NSA Sheep 2016

  • Tickets: Free entry for NSA members, non-NSA members: £15 each
  • When: Wednesday 27 July 2016, 9am to 5pm
  • Where: Three Counties Showground, Malvern, Worcestershire, WR13 6NW

There are also a number of new attractions, such as a day of farm tours prior to the event and a new NSA Next Generation area.

See also: Read stories from the last Sheep Event

Phil Stocker, NSA chief executive, says the event will give sheep farmers advice on how to cope with increasing volatility, drive efficiencies and harness innovation.

“The sheep industry is facing a huge amount of opportunity t is struggling to capitalise on. For too long we have been facing success tomorrow, yet dealing with continual difficulties today.

“The sector struggles to maintain profitability and cope with the volatility of the market, the supply chain and, of course, the weather. We also have an unfinished fight against the direction many policy makers, strategists and even market players seem to want us to go.

“But we are in a strong position as the sixth-largest producer of sheepmeat globally and there are further advances in efficiency and product quality that can be made.”

Seminars and workshops

To help the industry gear itself up to live with increasing volatility there will be a range of workshops, seminars and demonstrations outlining ways this might be done on farm and within the wider industry.

NSA Sheep 2016 seminars and workshops

Time

Title

Chairman

Speakers

10.30am & 1.30pm

Workshop 1

Branching out: How trees on sheep farms can increase productivity and profit

11.00am

Adding value by understanding the role of sheep in upland and hill areas

Phil Stocker, NSA chief executive

For England: Robert Helliwell, farmer from Derbyshire

For Wales: Jeff Gwillim, Black Mountain Land Use Partnership

For Scotland: Jennifer Craig, Lanarkshire farmer and NSA Next Generation ambassador

For Northern Ireland: John Blaney, County Antrim farmer and NSA Northern Ireland region committee member

11.15am & 2.15pm

Workshop 2

Protect your payments: Keeping on top of sheep identification, reporting and recording rules

12.00pm & 3.00pm

Workshop 3

Great grass: The role of overseeding in grassland management

12.15pm

The Basic Payment Scheme: Adding value or undermining our industry?

Dan Phipps, sheep farmer from Suffolk, NSA UK Policy and Technical Committee chairman and NSA eastern region chairman.

On how the BPS supports a family business – John Yeomans, farmer from Powys

On the role of the BPS in the tenanted sector – James Gray, farmer in Hampshire and TFA vice-chairman

On farming without any direct payments – Ewan Cumming, farmer from Norfolk and NSA Next Generation ambassador

On safeguarding against a subsidy free future – Richard Sparey, farmer from Herefordshire

1.15pm

Adding value by maximising the marketplace

Ben Briggs, Farmers Guardian editor

On adding value to prime lamb – John Richards, HCC

On adding value to genetics – Liz Genever, AHDB Beef & Lamb senior beef and sheep scientist

On adding value to native breeds and mutton – Bob Kennard, NSA Make More of Mutton project manager

On adding value to wool – Ian Buchannan, BWMB chairman

2.30pm

Adding value and maximising output by optimising flock health

Bryan Griffiths, sheep farmer from Devon and NSA English committee chairman

Andy Dyer, farm manager from Cumbria, and his vet Eva De Vries

Gloucestershire sheep farmer Pauhla Whitaker and her vet Phillipa Page

The event is free for NSA members and costs £15 for non-members. Gates open at 9am and close at 5pm. For more information visit the Sheep Event website.

Farm tours

For the first time, the day before the main NSA Sheep Event will offer farmers the opportunity to visit two thriving farm businesses, both taking an innovative approach.

The first tour, departing from the Three Counties Showground, will visit Cwmwhitton in Knighton, Powys, where the family team of Colin and Phyllis Pugh and son Gareth run a 400ha mixed farm and focus on adding value to their system by improving productivity and efficiency.

The family runs a flock of 850 Texel cross Welsh Mule breeding ewes. While the breed is well suited to their land, holding condition on harsher ground, in recent years they have started using Aberdale genetics to lift lambing percentages.

Also on the farm tour will be Stuart and Helen Morris, who run 1,000 pedigree Lleyn ewes. A significant change for them this year is taking on a full-time shepherd. Tom Richards took the job at the beginning of this year, around the same time he was also selected as an NSA Next Generation ambassador.

In line with the couple’s ethos of ensuring the business remains profitable, the Morris family has started working with another couple in the area who market local mutton under the name Weobly Ash to add value to their business.

The business also sells roughly 250 ewe lambs and yearlings at five Lleyn Sheep Society sales each year, with the same number being sold privately. The finished ram lambs goes deadweight to Farmers Fresh, of which Mr Morris is a director.

In order not to miss your chance to see how these innovative farmers have diversified and are thriving, book your tickets by following the “Attractions” link on the Sheep Event website.