SECOND SUCCESSFUL MUTTON EVENT FOR NSA: A second event for NSA’s ‘Make More of Mutton’ initiative at the Rhug Estate, North Wales, today made for a strong attendance from HCC as well as representatives from every link in the supply chain. The project is aiming to assist existing and potential mutton producers in expanding the meats market potential, as well as demonstrating the depth and complexity of quality mutton’s flavour and the versatility it can offer. To demonstrate this, a selection of mutton dishes were put on by Rhug Estates head chef Jonathan Barkley and his team. Phil Stocker, NSA Chief Executive, reports
“It is said that back in Victorian time’s, mutton was a more popular meat than beef. We are not thinking that we will ever return to anything near that but there is no doubt in my mind that quality mutton has the potential to add more value and increase interest in the product. Today’s event highlighted the need to finish mutton ewes to a high standard, hang and butcher them correctly and produce a final product in line with those that present the product well. Of course cooing it right is essential too.” Phil added “My thanks go to Lord Newborough and his team at the Rhug Estate. His Head Chef, Jonathan Barkley, and his team did the product proud. Gareth Johns, Master Chef of Great Britain and founder member of the Culinary Association of Wales, also helped to explain ways to best prepare and enjoy what can be a vastly underrated meat.”A full report will be posted on NSA’s website shortly and you can visit the Make More of Mutton website atwww.nsamutton.org.uk.
NSA RESPONDS TO FALLING FARMGATE PRICES INQUIRY: NSA has taken the opportunity to feed a response, on behalf of members, into The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (EFRA) inquiry into the factors behind falling prices, ahead of the deadline on Monday 12th October. The inquiry will look at what more can be done by Government and the supply chain to help farmers and also what processors and retailers could be doing to support farmers.
HCC DISCUSS CURRENT MARKETING ACTIVITY: On Wednesday evening, NFU Cymru/Wales Brecon and Radnor Region met with staff from HCC to discuss its current marketing and promotional activity. NSA Chief Executive, Phil Stocker, attended the meeting accompanied by NSA Cymru/Wales Region Chairman, Paul Wozencraft and NSA Trustee Margret Dalton. Phil reports “With lamb prices, marketing and promotional activity remaining high on many agendas at present, there was a good turn out on the night with some tough questions, that were well defended - inevitably there is frustration out there over market prices. John Richards and Laura Pickup, from HCC, did however give presentations to show both how UK productivity has grown in line with a currently difficult export market- due to exchange rates, and what HCC are doing to help open new markets to encourage greater consumption of Welsh Lamb. HCC Chief Executive, Gwyn Howells, and Head of Operations, Prys Morgan, were both present for questions which made for a lively debate. Meetings like this can only do good - to inform levy payers what is being done as well as to collect influential ideas and views from those on the ground” EXPORT MAKRET OPPORTUNITIES: HCC HCCHHldnlvnlnsk
is set to showcase home-produced meat products at Angua, a huge food event in 2015 from Saturday 10th- Wednesday 14th October in Cologne, Germany. During the event, HCC’s European Agents will aim to develop relations with key export territories across Europe and the world.
REMINDER FOR YOUNG FLOCK KEEPERS EVENT: For the third year running, NSA Next Generation and Innovation for Agriculture is running an event to inspire future sheep farmers. This year’s ‘Getting on the sheep farming ladder’ open day for young people with a passion for the sheep sector will be at Newton Rigg College, Penrith, Cumbria, CA11 0AH, on Wednesday 28th October. The event will kick off with guest speakers, followed by practical work-stations through the late morning and afternoon. Those attending will be able to decide which stations to go to, to pick up specific skills relevant to their sheep farming interests. Thanks to the generous support of Caltech Crystalyx, this year there will also be the optional extra for attendees to complete the day at the company’s nearby facilities, where a factory tour and hearty meal will be provided. This will deliver an insight into Caltech Crystalyx’s UK-wide set-up, as well as providing a light-hearted and social way to finish the day. The event is free to attend and open to all, but pre-registration is required. Click here for more details.
SHEEP DAIRYING INSIGHT: On Friday, the British Sheep Dairy Association (BSDA) held its annual conference and AGM in Worcester. The meeting aimed to bring together stake holders from across the sheep milking sector to concentrate on the needs and issues facing the industry as it continues to expand. Hannah Park, NSA Communications Officer, reports on today’s meeting “With sheep’s milk and related products becoming increasingly familiar to many, today’s meeting allowed producers, processors and industry bodies to come together to communicate and share ideas. A series of interesting and informative talks on dairy sheep nutrition, health and milk quality to name a few, proved thought provoking and certainly highlighted the exciting potentials for the sheep dairying industry in the future.”
INTERESTING PREDICTIONS ON SHOPPER TRENDS: Tuesday saw IDG hold its annual event ‘The Big Debate 2015’ in London. George Milne, NSA Scottish Region Development Officer, attended and reports: “Around 700 delegates attended the event; speakers included bosses from all the major supermarkets which made for a top quality line-up of presentations. It was most interesting to hear where supermarket trends are likely to go in the future, the underlying theme being convenience. I think this will be a decisive factor in decision making processes for major retailer bosses looking ahead, as shoppers will continue to seek convenience over having any loyalty to one particular store. The big weekly shop is likely to decrease in popularity and shopping will become more focussed on ‘little and often’. The challenge for large, out of town superstores will therefore be maintaining their market share. Price competitiveness was also discussed, which brings pressure to producers in providing the market place with what it really requires.”
SPONSORSHIP FOR A WORTHY CAUSE: On Saturday 17th October, four members of the Payne family will be taking part in a sponsored 10k walk, ‘Night-Strider’, to raise money for St. Luke’s Hospice, Sheffield, in memory of Bob Payne. Bob was an NSA Trustee and long standing NSA Central Region Chairman, who sadly passed away recently. Bob’s wife, Anne, has expressed her gratitude towards St. Luke’s for the care they gave to Bob during the last few weeks of his life and has set up a JustGiving page for those who wish to make a donation here.
WELCOME NEWS ON RETAILER COMMITMENT TO LAMB: The announcement that Sainsbury’s has committed to extend its British lamb season until at least January 2016, has been welcomed by the Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) this week. FUW president Glyn Roberts says: “The fall in lamb prices, drastically reduced farm incomes and frustrations over the volume of imported lamb on supermarket shelves. Extending the British lamb season to January next year is therefore a move that must be welcomed and we congratulate Sainsbury’s on making that commitment to their lamb producers.” There is a lot more work left to be done to engage consumers more effectively with Welsh produce but this offer by Sainsbury’s is definitely a step in the right direction.”
ASSURANCE SCHEME RECOGNITION WORK CONTINUES: Three weeks into a seven week interactive campaign, Red Tractor Assurance (RTA) has reported it has so far seen the most successful response yet to its latest on-pack promotion campaign.RTA says it has received around 35,000 competition entries and reached some 10 million listeners through broadcasts on local radio stations. Farmers have also played a vital role in raising awareness, with many giving up their time to talk to shoppers outside supermarkets and explain just how important it is to look for the logo on pack. RTA is encouraging farmers to support the campaign on social media, by sending stories, pictures and videos using #TrustTheTractor.
WOOL WEEK ROUNDUP: Interior and craft brands from across the UK came together this week to highlight the innovative ways in which wool is used as part of the annual Wool Week event. This has involved all manner of activities which have aimed to highlight the versatility of wool; from its uses in clothing, tailoring and furniture. Its success has been reiterated with coverage across local and national newsapers, including The Times, Daily Telegraph and a mention on BBC Breakfast – So keep your eye out over the weekend to read more. The final two instalments of short, light-hearted videos; produced to celebrate Wool Weeks fifth anniversary, are also now available to view here.
UPDATE ON WELSH BPS PAYMENTS: Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) payments by the Welsh Government will be initially paid to producers as a part payment of around 80% of the overall payment value, for application’s which have passed validation. Part payments will run for this year only and are linked to the new BPS scheme requiring a new valuation of entitlements.
A definitive BPS entitlement statement will be received when balance payment have been received.
FOOTPATHS THIS WEEKEND: NSA understands Countryfile are encouraging nationwide sponsored rambles this coming weekend (Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th October) which may offer a reason should footpaths appear busier than usual. NSA actively encourages individuals in getting out to enjoy and appreciate the beautiful British countryside as well as encouraging that this is done responsibly, particularly when encountering grazing animals and walking with dogs.
OPINIONS ON FORMALIN WANTED: As part of NSA’s on-going research work into the causes of lameness in sheep, it would be useful to learn more about the extent to which sheep farmers rely on formalin as well as the conditions it is used to treat. NSA has produced a short survey on the subject would be grateful if members could spare a couple of minutes to share their opinions- the short survey can be accessed here.
LOOK OUT FOR MOREDUN ROADSHOW NEAR YOU: NSA is strongly encouraging members to engage with Moredun’s Livestock Health Roadshow by attending a meeting if there is one in your area. Ten events are planned throughout the UK and will highlight current livestock health issues, with a different sheep and/or beef theme at each. It is hoped that these events will provide farmers, vets and SQPs with the information they need to maximise the health, productivity and profitability of Britain’s livestock. The meetings are open to all and free to attend. For more information, dates and/or locations of meetings click here.
‘BRING A BROKER’ TO SUPPORT RABI: The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution’s (RABI) Brecon and Radnor Committee have launched a ‘Bring a Broker’ campaign to raise funds for farmers experiencing difficulties in the area. The concept involves famers donating a cull ewe to a local market, from which the funds raised will go towards supporting RABI’s work in the area. NSA is encouraging members from Wales who can to get involved at local livestock auctions which will be incorporating these specialist sales. Click here to find an auction near you.
SITUATION WANTED: Daniel Calver (21) from Glamorgan, South Wales is looking for a full time job preferably in the South Wales area but is willing to relocate if accommodation can be provided. Daniel has completed a six month work placement on a dairy farm as part of his college course and also assisted with a number of lambing seasons in the Yorkshire Dales. He describes himself as experienced in all aspects of lambing, caring for and turning out sheep as well as moving groups. Daniel says he is very interested in the cattle and sheep sectors with a good knowledge of both. He has a Bsc (hons) degree in Agriculture with Livestock and a Level three Extended Diploma in Animal Management. He holds a full drivers licence and owns his own vehicle. References are available. Contact Daniel on 07967 010299 or firstname.lastname@example.org.