Search is on for best young shepherd

The search is on for entrants for the prestigious Young Shepherd Award sponsored by Hexham and Northern Marts.

The event is to be staged at NSA NorthSheep 2011, the industry’s biennial event to be held on Wednesday 8 June 2011 at West Nubbock Farm, Hexham, Northumberland, and kindly hosted by Lewis and Helen Forster.

The competition is open to all English youngsters aged between 20 and 25 years and the winner will go forward to represent England in the World Young Shepherd’s Competition to be staged in South Island, New Zealand, in November.

The highest-placed northern young shepherd, from Cumbria, Durham, Lancashire, Northumberland or Yorkshire, will qualify to represent NSA Northern Region for the national young shepherd award to be staged at NSA Sheep 2012 staged at Malvern.

The Young Shepherd Award is designed to test the entrants’ shepherding skills in a pentathlon of activities. Each entrant will be required to sort finished lambs for slaughter and demonstrate handling tasks, shearing, vaccinating and dosing techniques, along with stock judging. They will also be questioned on flock management and health issues.

“We are pleased to host and support this new award to select a qualifier to represent England in the new World Young Shepherd’s Competition to be staged in New Zealand,” says event organiser, Julie Sedgewick.

“We are acutely aware that the biggest long term challenge which continues to face the sheep industry is to encourage young people to be involved. These two competitions are designed to help equip tomorrow’s sheep keepers with the skills they need and give recognition once those skills have become honed.”

She adds: “We are grateful to our sponsor, Hexham and Northern Marts for recognising young people’s importance to the sheep industry, and also to EBLEX which is funding the entrant’s travel to New Zealand.”

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