By Suffolk Sheep Society 1st June, 2017

Suffolk Sheep Clubs and Branches have been encouraging our young people over the years with a variety of events and activities, not least Young Handler and Young Breeder competitions at a wide range of shows and sales. This year (2017), sees the launch of a National Championship, sponsored by Norbrook, which builds on the existing excellent work carried out at a local, regional and national level. There are 2 age classes, up to 16 years old, and 16 to 26 years old, at the 31st July 2017.

For this year, any 1st or 2nd place in a Young Handler or Young Breeder competition organised by an official Suffolk Society Club or Branch will be invited to enter the National Youth Championship which will be held in the Autumn.The Championship will consist of 2 parts – a stock judging competition and a multiple choice paper covering some key elements of farming today and, of course, the Society. If a branch is not represented in the final in either age group, then the Branch Committee will be invited to nominate entrants directly.
This is the first phase of a new Suffolk Youth programme to be rolled out over the next two years. We will soon be announcing a new fee structure to help our young people develop their own flocks. In 2018 Suffolk Youth will continue to be developed further. 
Finally, a big thank you to our corporate Sponsors, Norbrook, for supporting this event and to our 2016 President, Mr John Christie, for donating the Westcarse Perpetual Trophy for the 16 to 26 age group and also to our Chairman, Mr Ron Greig for providing the Tillydesk Cup for the younger age group.
Here are some of the details:
Competition for 2017:
1. In the first year any individual placed in the top two in a Society Branch, Club or National Young Handlers or Young Breeders Competition during 2017 is eligible to enter the National Competition. It is the responsibility of the organising club/branch to notify in writing/by email the society Office of winners names and dates of birth. Invitations with further details will be issued prior to the finals which will be held in the Autumn. 
2. In the event of a branch not being represented in any of the two age groups in the final, individual nominations will be sought from the Branch Committee to ensure every area has the opportunity to be represented.
3. There is no requirement for the young person to be a member of the Society to be eligible for the National Competition.
4. Age Groups
i. Up to 16 years’ olds (at the 31st July 2017)
ii. Over 16 and up to 26 years’ old (at the 31st July 2017)  
5. The National Finals will be held at Carlisle Female Sale in the Autumn where individuals will compete for the following trophies:
i. Up to 16 years’ olds – The Tillydesk Cup
ii. Over 16 and up to 26 years’ old – The Westcarse Perpetual Trophy
6. The individual competitions will be a test based on 4 main areas:
i. Knowledge of the History of the Suffolk Sheep Society.
ii. Knowledge of shepherding and sheep farming.
iii. Knowledge of sheep medicine and welfare.
iv. General farm maintenance and safety.
7. There will be a stock judging competition included in the Championship.
8. The test will take the form of a multiple choice paper and competitors will be allowed up to 45 minutes to complete.
9. The multiple choice papers will be age appropriate.


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