DON’T MISS THE NSA EASTERN REGION WINTER FAIR – OR YOUR CHANCE TO ENTER THE YOUNG SHEPHERD OF THE YEAR COMPETITION: With only a couple of weeks left until the NSA Eastern Region Winter Fair on Friday 31st January at Melton Mowbray Market, Leicestershire, there has been a last minute flurry of activity with more trade stands booked that at the previous event and lots of excitement about an action-packed day. The event is FREE for NSA members – and if you bring along a friend or neighbour and they sign up on the day, they will get free entry too and you’ll both get entered into a free prize draw for an Advantage 3in1 Feeder. Entry for non-members is
£5 per person. Click here for more information about the free prize draw and here for information about what’s on offer at the NSA Eastern Region Winter Fair.
It is also not too late to enter the Young Shepherd of the Year competition at the Eastern Region Winter Fair. Competitors must be 26 years old or less and will complete five tasks to be in with a chance to share a prize fund of £500 and qualify for the national final in July. Click here to download an entry form.
ALSO ON FRIDAY 31ST JANUARY, it’s not too late to book tickets for the NSA Scottish Region Annual Dinner at The Roxburghe Hotel (Crowne Plaza), 38 Charlotte Square, Edinburgh. Click here a booking form, which must be returned by Monday. The dinner will be proceeded by the NSA Scottish Region AGM at 4pm, with a drinks reception at 7pm ahead of the dinner and guest speaker. We look forward to seeing lots of members at both the AGM and dinner.
OTHER REGIONAL ACTIVITY INCLUDES an NSA Central Region Committee Meeting on Wednesday 22nd January and an NSA Marches Region and Eblex Lambing Management Meeting evening on Tuesday 4th February – times and venues at the bottom of the page. The Marches lambing event will focus on the nutritional and health requirements of ewes in the critical pre-lambing and post-lambing periods, a market update and outlook, a summary of health and welfare issues at lambing, and a discussion on sheep scab, how to keep it out of your flock and treatment best practice. The event is open to NSA members and non-members so spread the word. Contact the Eblex events office on 01904 771211 or email@example.com to book a free place.
WALES TO ADOPT THREE-REGION MODEL FOR FUTURE CAP PAYMENTS: Alun Davies, Minister for Natural Resources and Food in Wales, made his much-anticipated CAP announcement on Tuesday (14th January) following a consultation period in the autumn that NSA Cymru/Wales Region responded to along with large numbers of other stakeholder groups and individuals. Mr Davies said Wales will move from historical payments to area payments over five years (a transition period of 2015-2019) and the area payments will be based on a three-region model of moorland, severely disadvantaged and less favoured/lowland. Indications are that moorland will get around £17/ha, SDA £166/ha and LFA/lowland £200/ha. Wales will also cap the maximum amount single farm businesses can receive and insist all farms meet the EU’s three greening requirements (permanent grassland, crop diversification and ecological focus areas) to get 30% of their direct payment. Given that farms with more than 70% grassland automatically qualify under greening, NSA biggest concern over Mr Davies’ announcement is the very low payment rate for moorland. We are very worried about the future for farms that are predominantly moorland and will ensure we continue to work hard to influence Pillar Two of the CAP (rural development) so money is available to farmers to top up their shrinking allocation from Pillar One (direct payments).
MEANTIME, THE CAP FIGHT CONTINUES IN NORTHERN IRELAND AND SCOTLAND. The consultation period in Northern Ireland draws to a close before the end of January and NSA NI Regional Development Officer Edward Adamson reports a lot of activity this week to ensure the voice of sheep farmers is heard in the negotiations. He says: “After the first CAP agreement in 2005 we feel the sheep farmer was discriminated against, but this time DARD’s suggested model would help rectify that. However, there are interested parties proposing an alternative two-region model which would reduce payments to farmers in the Severely Disadvantaged Areas, which includes some beef and dairy farmers as well as many sheep farmers. This week has seen several meetings to try and counter these latest proposals. It will be several weeks before we know the final outcome to be decided by DARD and our Minister of Agriculture – we wait in anticipation!”
The consultation in Scotland does not close until 17th March. George Milne, NSA Scottish Region’s Development Officer, says: “The consultation is lengthy and detailed with 56 questions requiring detailed thought in order to provide the best way forward for the sheep sector. We will be working on this over the next two months and an updated CAP presentation will be made to NSA members at the Scottish AGM on 31st January. I am also available to attend meetings in your area if required.” Contact George on 01334 472403 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
TOP LEVEL MEETING TO KEEP SHEEP IN THE POLITICAL SPOTLIGHT: On Tuesday (14th January) NSA Chairman John Geldard and NSA Chief Executive Phil Stocker met with George Eustice (Minister for Farming, Food, and Marine Environment) and a team of top ranking Defra staff to discuss sheep farming. Phil reports: “We started by saying there is no doubt sheep farming is a vital part of UK farming, but there are a number of reasons why we feel it is being constrained from reaching its potential. In the uplands stocking rates are still being driven down on conservation grounds, and often well below rates that are essential to optimise biodiversity. In the lowlands the role of sheep in rotational farming and as soil improvers is not being recognised, and cross compliance penalties and an absence of EID and movements recording tolerance is seriously discouraging many mixed farms and large arable estates from retaining or setting up sheep enterprises. Furthermore there are undoubtedly production gains that could be made if we could encourage sheep farmers to adopt the best possible health and disease control management.” This was one of a schedule of routine meetings that the Minister has requested with the NSA with an intention to work in partnership to better optimise the contribution to the Government’s public agenda of this great farming sector.
WORK CONTINUES ON BAD WEATHER PLANNING: Regular readers of the NSA Weekly Email Update will have recently read our warning about the need for good winter feed planning and contingency against the threat of bad winter weather. This is as a result of the UK being warned by the EU against too freely issuing relaxations in HGV drivers’ hours during bad weather. Our advice on feed planning still stands, as the recent flooding and last year’s spring snow highlight the massive disruption bad weather has on farm deliveries, but NSA Chief Executive Phil Stocker also reports on a meeting this week that Defra helpfully facilitated. He says: “The meeting looked at what can be done to explain our situation more in the EU and to consider what agricultural suppliers, transporters and farmers could do to reduce the need for relaxation. Information provided to the meeting suggested 27 of the 35 cases of recent EU relaxation were for the UK, but as an island our weather is undoubtedly more changeable and unpredictable than on mainland Europe and this needs to be understood. If we do experience bad weather that results in transport difficulties in this second half of the winter we should be warned that relaxations will be a ‘last resort’. So every effort should be made to watch weather forecasts and ensure reasonable stocks of delivered feed. It is also worth reminding farmers that you can clear and grit roads to enable access to farms – and red diesel can be used to carry out this work.”
WELSH SHEEP SCAB REPORT APPROVED FOR NEXT LEVEL – BUT WALES LOOKS TO FOLLOW SIMILAR FORMAT TO ENGLAND ON FUTURE ANIMAL HEALTH WORK: NSA Cymru/Wales is one of several stakeholder groups involved in the Welsh Animal Health and Welfare Strategy Steering Group’s sheep scab sub-group, which has created a proposal for a long-term strategy to eradicate sheep scab in Wales. This work culminated on Tuesday (14th January) at an AHWSSG meeting when the group agreed the proposal would be put forward to Alun Davies, Minister for Natural Resources and Food. If Mr Davies agrees the eradication plan can go out to consultation we will be one step closer to tackling sheep scab in Wales.
However, Tuesday’s AHWSSG meeting was the last one, as the Welsh Government has decided instead to create a similar body to the Animal Health and Welfare Board in England, with appointed (and paid) public officials instead of contributions from stakeholder groups such as NSA. Unlike the English Board’s four public officials, the new Welsh body will have six positions – five of these will be advertised in national and farming publications towards the end of January and the sixth will be filled by the existing AHWSSG Chairman. NSA Cymru/Wales is nervous about how the future of the decision-making process but will follow the changes over the coming months and keep members informed. We also encourage NSA members in Wales to consider applying for one of the public positions, as we would very much like to see active farmers taking up the new roles.
NSA WEEKLY EMAIL UPDATE ADVERT (more content below):-
SHEEP RUSTLER SENT TO PRISON FOR MORE THAN THREE YEARS: A strong deterrent has been issued to all sheep rustlers operating in the UK, with Robert Martin Birnie of Longtown, Carlisle, given a three year and seven month prison sentence and ordered to pay £2,000 compensation to his victim for stealing 270 sheep from a farm in Cumbria.
KEEN SHEARER LOOKING FOR A GANG IN YORKSHIRE: We have been contacted by 17-year-old Alex Clapham who is looking for a shearing gang to join in West Yorkshire or somewhere near. He is a keen shearer and is looking for more work and experience this coming season. Alex can be contacted on email@example.com or 079996 93195.
NOMINATIONS REQUESTED FOR BRITISH WOOL REPS: The British Wool Marketing Board is inviting nominations for board members in its English Southern, Welsh Northern and Scottish Southern regions. Board members are expected to work approximately 30 days a year attending board meetings over a period of two or three days each month, as well as other local and national BWMB business. Remuneration is around £8,800 annually plus expenses. Email nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOMINATIONS ALSO SOUGHT FOR AGRISEARCH SHEEP ADVISORY COMMITTEE IN NI: AgriSearch in Northern Ireland is looking for a sheep farmer with a passion for progress and problem-solving to join their Sheep Advisory Committee. Advisory committees usually meet three times a year to develop ideas for new research and review research proposals, and committee members are paid travelling expenses to attend meetings. Applications close on Friday 24th January. Contact Jason Rankin on 02887 789770 or visit www.agrisearch.org.
REGISTER NOW FOR OPEN FARM SUNDAY: NSA members intending to host an Open Farm Sunday event on 8th June 2014 are encouraged to register as soon as possible at www.farmsunday.org. You can also use the website to find details of free information events being held between February and April to provide advice, tips and new ideas for host farms. Annabel Shackleton, Open Farm Sunday Manager, says: “Open Farm Sunday is fantastic opportunity for farmers to engage with the public, tell their story, and showcase all that is best about British farming and food. You don’t have to put on a big event. Events can be any size or format to suit your farm, ranging from a guided farm walk through to a full open day. One of the great things about Open Farm Sunday is the uniqueness of each event so it is up to you to decide on the size and type of event you run.” NSA’s communication team would also like to hear from an NSA member hosting an Open Farm Sunday event; drop us an email to email@example.com.
OVERSEAS TOURS PLANNED AS PART OF TEXEL CELEBRATIONS: As part of its 40th anniversary celebrations, the British Texel Sheep Society is planning two overseas tours for members – one to Switzerland and another to New Zealand. Closer to home will be a series of receptions, a large presence at the NSA Sheep Event on Wednesday 30th July and celebratory events at their four national sales, with anniversary medals presented to class winners. The ruby anniversary celebrations will culminate with an AGM and social weekend in Chester from 7th to 9th November 2014. Details from the society office on 02476 699629 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
SHEEPY NUMBER PLATE ON OFFER: NSA members have been offered first refusal on the personalised number plate C9 BAA. If you are interested in purchasing the number plate for £600 you have until Monday to contact John at Connollys Euronics Centre on
email@example.com or 0141 649 4758, after which the plate will be listed for general sale.
NSA WEEKLY EMAIL UPDATE ADVERT:-
NSA DIARY OF EVENTS
SHEEP EVENT:NSA EASTERN REGION WINTER FAIR: FRIDAY 31ST JANUARY:10am-4pm at Melton Mowbray Market. Click here for event details; enquiries to Jonathan Barber on 01953 607860 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
FRIDAY 31ST JANUARY: SCOTTISH REGION AGM AND DINNER: AGM at 4pm followed by drinks reception and dinner at 7pm at The Roxburghe Hotel (Crowne Plaza), 38 Charlotte Square, Edinburgh. Click here for a dinner tickets booking form.
TUESDAY 4TH FEBRUARY: NSA MARCHES REGION/EBLEX LAMBING MANAGEMENT MEETING: 6.30pm-9.30pm at the NSA Sheep Centre, Malvern, WR13 6PH. A joint meeting with Eblex focusing on the nutritional and health requirements of ewes in the critical pre-lambing and post-lambing periods. There will also be a market update and outlook, a summary of health and welfare issues at lambing, and a discussion on sheep scab, how to keep it out of your flock and treatment best practice. NSA members and non-members welcome; contact the Eblex events office on 01904 771211 or email@example.com to book a free place.
TUESDAY 18TH FEBRUARY:NSA CYMRU/WALES REGION AGM: 2pm at Hafod-y-Hendre, Royal Welsh Showground.
WEDNESDAY 19TH FEBRUARY: NSA SOUTH WEST REGION AGM: 7.30pm at Exeter Livestock Centre.
THURSDAY 20TH FEBRUARY:NSA NORTHERN REGION AGM: 7.30pm at the Tynedale Function Suite, Hexham Auction Mart, Hexham, Northumberland. To be followed by speakers on their trip to New Zealand, David Raine and Phil Stocker, plus a report by our two regional sponsored young farmers, Tom Carrick, High Crossgil, and James Raine, Randalholme, on their day spent at the Northern Farming Conference.
SHEEP EVENT:NSA SCOT SHEEP: WEDNESDAY 4TH JUNE 2014: At the Berwickshire farm of Quixwood, Grantshouse, courtesy of the Macfarlane family. Details and sponsorship packages from Euan Emslie on 01430 441870 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
SHEEP EVENT:NSA SOUTH SHEEP:SATURDAY 28TH JUNE: Blackcap Farm, Firle, Lewes, East Sussex, by kind permission of Tony Monnington and family. Details and sponsorship packages from Bob Blanden on 01666 860308 or email@example.com.
SHEEP EVENT:NSA SHEEP EVENT: WEDNESDAY 30TH JULY 2014: The Three Counties Showground, Malvern, Worcestershire. Details and sponsorship packages from Helen Davies on 01938 590535, 07976 803066 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
RAM SALE:NSA WALES & BORDER EARLY RAM SALE:MONDAY 4TH AUGUST: Royal Welsh Showground. Contact Jane Smith on 01291 673939 or email@example.com.
RAM SALE: NSA SOUTH WEST REGION RAM SALE:WEDNESDAY 20TH AUGUST: Exeter Livestock Centre. Contact Sue Martyn on 01409 271385, 07967 512660 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
RAM SALE: NSA EASTERN REGION RAM SALE: FRIDAY 22ND AUGUST: Rugby Farmers Market. Contact Jonathan Barber on 01953 607860 or email@example.com.
RAM SALE: NSA EASTERN REGION RAM SALE: FRIDAY 19TH SEPTEMBER: Melton Mowbray Market. Contact Jonathan Barber on 01953 607860 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
RAM SALE: NSA WALES & BORDER MAIN RAM SALE:MONDAY 22ND SEPTEMBER: Royal Welsh Showground. Contact Jane Smith on 01291 673939 or email@example.com.