NEW NATIONAL CHAIRMAN FOR NSA: The new NSA national chairman is Samuel Wharry of Carnlough, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, who took over from John Geldard at the NSA
Management Board meeting on Wednesday 14th January. Samuel was elected as chairman for a term of three years from within the pool of 12 regional trustee managers. Samuel has been an officeholder within NSA Northern Ireland Region for a number of years (including regional chairman), served on the Board for three years and has a wealth of sheep farming knowledge to draw on for this national role. He says: “I am delighted and honoured to be selected by my fellow board members for this role. I look forward to working with the board to continue to make NSA relevant and useful to all our members.” John has been a widely admired and high profile NSA chairman during his tenure and the forthcoming edition of Sheep Farmer will include a look at his achievements over the last three years, as well as a profile of Samuel. In the meantime, read the official announcement of the changeover here.
REGISTER NOW FOR SCOTTISH NEW ENTRANT FUNDING: Despite full guidance on the Scottish Rural Development Programme’s ‘start-up grant’ and ‘capital grant’ schemes not be available yet, young new entrant farmers in Scotland are being encouraged to register their interest now for the £20m of funding being allocated. Grants are likely to be available to new entrant farmers and crofters who are within the first two years of starting up a new business or taking over control of an existing business, and under 41 years of age. Details of the start-up grants here and capital grants here.
NSA CONSULTS ON NI GRANT FUNDING APPLICATION SYSTEM: NSA Northern Ireland Regional Chairman John Blaney and Development Officer Edward Adamson spent Tuesday with DARD delivery personnel, looking at the online application system which will soon be available to assess interest in the new Business Improvement Scheme. Funding rates will be 40% plus a 10% top up depending on applicants fulfilling certain criteria. Watch this space for an update on the start date for on-line expressions of interest.
NEW NAME FOR EBLEX: NSA is concerned at the news this week that the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) has rebranded all the levy boards that it oversees. From summer 2015 Eblex will be no more, being renamed ‘AHDB Beef and Lamb’ instead. This will fit in with AHDB Dairy (formerly DairyCo), AHDB Pigs (Bpex), AHDB Horticulture (HDC), AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds (HGCA ) and AHDB Potatoes (Potato Council). Eblex has worked very hard over recent years to get its activity understood by farmers and NSA is anxious about the confusion that will be caused and the cost of the rebrand. Read AHDB’s reasoning behind the decision here.
CHECKS ON SCOTTISH SHEEP KEEPERS: The Animal and Plant Health Agency (formerly AHVLA) is going to be contacting some 5,700 Scottish businesses who have moved sheep on ScotEID but are not registered as sheep keepers, as well as around 6,300 registered keepers who have not moved sheep on ScotEID or for an extended period of time. This ‘clean up’ work is due to start in the next couple of weeks and is being carried out by a team in the Cardiff office who did a similar exercise last year for pig keepers.
REMINDER TO BREED SOCIETIES ABOUT DEFRA NATIONAL INVENTORY: Defra has asked NSA to remind all sheep breed societies that it will be gathering statistical data from early 2015 onwards in order to update the National Inventory of farm animal breeds resident in the UK. This update will be based on breed data for 2012-2014. More information about how and why breed societies and organisations should contribute is available here. To contact the Farm Animal Genetic Resources Committee email firstname.lastname@example.org.
STARK FARM SAFETY REMINDER: The reported death of a North Wales sheep farmer killed in a chainsaw accident this week was a stark reminder of the importance of on-farm safety.
NSA is part of the Farm Safety Partnership and recommends the FSP website for useful information. There was also news this week of the prosecution of a farmer in South England as a result of a lorry driver being electrocuted by overhead wires while making a delivery of cattle feed. Farm businesses are legally required to conduct safe deliveries; click here for a FSP guide on the topic.
FINAL 3IN1 FEEDER PRIZE HEADS TO SURREY: The potential to cut down on labour input using an Advantage 3in1 Feeder will not be wasted on Tom Daborn, winner of the last of six feeders on offer in the NSA 2014 membership recruitment prize giveaway. Aged just 19, Tom balances the running of a small sheep enterprise with his training in veterinary medicine at the Royal Veterinary College, London. Find out more about Tom here, or learn about the 2015 membership recruitment campaign with Shearwell Data here.
for NSA staff member Caitlin Peck, who has been part of the NSA team as Communications Officer. Caitlin (pictured) has taken a job with a women’s aid charity in Birmingham and we wish her well with her new role. Her departure leaves a vacancy at NSA Head Office at Malvern, Worcestershire, in what is a very exciting and varied job role. Anyone interested in joining the NSA team and getting involved in all our communications routes, from the website and social media to press work and Sheep Farmer magazine, can find out more here. Applications close a week today (Friday 23rd January).
PHOTOGENIC LAMBS?! We are looking for someone who already had lambs on their farm to feature on the front page of the February/March edition of Sheep Farmer magazine. If you would like your sheep to be pictured then please email email@example.com for details of your location and breed of sheep.
HILL FARMERS WANTED FOR TV SHOW ON WINTER WEATHER: Production company Raw TV is making a documentary for Channel 4 about extreme winter weather and is keen to hear from hill farmers who are interested in being featured. The programme will look at how the UK copes when bad weather hits and the people who are most affected by it. If you are a hill farmer and are interested in contributing to the programme in any way please contact Robyn Stephenson on 02074 560800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
VISIT THE ‘CAP DOCTOR’: Rural solicitors firm Agri Advisor is running a ‘CAP Doctor’ seminar in Welshpool on Friday 23rd January, to give farmers the chance to get to grips with new Welsh CAP arrangements. Dr Nerys Llewelyn Jones, Head of Agri Advisor Solicitors and holder of a PhD in the Common Agricultural Policy, and chartered surveyor and farmer’s daughter Gail Lewis will take attendees through an overview of the new Basic Payment Scheme, troubleshooting for farm businesses and the opportunities available under Pillar Two. There is a charge for attendance. Find out more, including how to book a place, here.
BWMB LOOKING FORWARD TO NSA CENTRAL REGION WINTER FAIR: As we look forward to the NSA Central Region Winter Fair on Thursday 29th January at Bakewell Mart, the British Wool Marketing Board has commented on its involvement in the event as a mainline sponsor. BWMB is sponsoring the Schools Wool Challenge and running a ‘Making the Most of Wool’ feature on the day. Speaking ahead of the event, BWMB Producer Communications Manager Gareth Jones says 2015 offers a number of exciting opportunities for all involved in the wool sector. He comments: “17m kg of wool had been sold from the 2014 clip, with clearances of 96% and 98% at the two most recent sales. We are very much on target and, subject to no major global problems affecting the market, anticipate minimal stock at the end of the season. Wool clip values have been consistently higher over the last four years than the previous 10 years and we are hopeful with the continued clearance levels at auctions, a further increase will be seen through the remainder of this year’s selling season.” Mr Jones says NSA Central Region Winter Fair will be an ideal chance for sheep farmers to speak to staff and board members ahead of the coming year and gain a greater insight in to the work BWMB does throughout the wool supply chain. More from BWMB here, and full Winter Fair highlights at www.nationalsheep.org.uk/crwf.
RED TRACTOR MEETING: Following numerous comments from NSA members in England about the changes to Red Tractor Assurance standard, NSA is pleased to be joining NFU and NBA to support an open forum meeting on Thursday 29th January, 6pm at Cullompton, Devon. Click here for more details.
NSA SHEEP CENTRES FOR 2015: Bookings are now open for exhibitor stands in the NSA Sheep Centre at this year’s Balmoral Show (13th-15th May). Contact Edward Adamson on 07711 071290 or at email@example.com for details. There will also be Sheep Centres at the Royal Highland Show (18th-21st June 2015) and Royal Welsh Show (20th-23rd July) and details will be circulated to exhibitors later in the year regarding these. For information in the meantime please contact Euan Emslie (NSA Scottish Region Secretariat) for the Royal Highland – firstname.lastname@example.org – or Helen Davies (NSA Cymru/Wales Development Officer) for the Royal Welsh – email@example.com.
SURVEY ON TREES, PASTURE AND LIVESTOCK: James Harbord, a masters student at the Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester, is asking NSA members to complete a questionnaire on agroforestry systems combining trees, pasture and livestock (so called ‘silvopasture’), asking their views on potential benefits to productivity, profitability and the environment. The survey has 40 questions but James says most of these have yes/no answers so should not take more than 15 minutes to go through. Three people who complete the survey will be randomly selected to receive a bottle of whiskey to say thank you. Click here for the survey.
WORK EXPERIENCE WANTED: Samantha Parker (21) is looking for a five week on-farm work placement beginning in early May. Samantha is studying Animal Behaviour and Biology at Chester University, having previously completed an Extended Diploma in Animal Management. She has experience working on sheep and dairy farms and has her own vehicle. She is based in Cheshire and Buckinghamshire, but would be happy to take on a placement elsewhere if accommodation were provided. Samantha says she is a very enthusiastic worker and keen to learn more about sheep farming. Contact Samantha on 07854 378116 or firstname.lastname@example.org.