As with any industry, it takes the younger generation’s input and involvement to keep it vibrant and help it to grow. It is also important for young people to learn from the skills and experiences of those who are further on in their sheep journey.

It was decided a new look was needed to reflect the ambitions for the organisation.

Andrea Smith, Andrea Gardiner, Hannah Lorimer, Emily Boby, Graham Denby and Harry Lyons, along with CEO Barrie Turner, have agreed to join the Committee and help revitalise activities. The committee will bring ideas to the table that will attract the younger end of the membership.

How do we hope to achieve this?

  • By involving all tiers of our structure in developing this. Clubs, Branches and Society recruiting young people to take part at each level.
  • By not restricting it to our members but opening it up to other sheep keepers and hoping they will see firsthand on our members farms what Suffolk sheep can do.
  • By making it non breed specific and letting other sheep people come and work on Suffolk sheep.
  • By making it fun, interesting and educational to attend for a day.

The NextGen Committee realise the importance of getting youth together. It was decided that a NextGen event that would be educational and fun while also providing an opportunity to network with other younger members is the way forward. This will move around our four nations each year, starting off in 2024 in Northern Ireland.

Experience Days

Society Branches have been encouraged to also organise local ‘Experience Days’ for their younger members. The Society have financially supported this and hope that these will happen again in 2024.

These activities are not just for Suffolk breeders. It is vital that we expand our network to the commercial sheep world. It also gives an opportunity to showcase the Suffolk breed and hopefully encourage others into the fold by demonstrating the Suffolk advantage.

A big thank you to Agrimin who have kindly sponsored the NextGen programme.

Andrea Smith

Andrea Smith

Northern Counties Branch – Stanworth Flock

Emily Boby

Emily Boby

Midlands & Eastern Branch – Debdalehill Flock

Graham Denby

Graham Denby

Northern Counties Branch – Carnforth Flock

Hannah Lorimer

Hannah Lorimer

Scottish Branch – Cadgerford Flock

Harry Lyons

Harry Lyons

Midlands & Eastern Branch – Cloudside Flock

Andrea Gardiner

Andrea Gardiner

Myerscough College

Barrie Turner

Barrie Turner

CEO Suffolk Sheep Society

“What excites me the most about the future of NextGen is encouraging upcoming shepherds to farm a breed that brings so much versatility to the sheep industry.” Emily Boby

“I am delighted to be part of NextGen and looking forward to meeting lots of likeminded young breeders across the country.” Hannah Lorimer

“The key to any organisation having a future is investment in succession. The Society is committed to this principle and we very much look forward to delivering a bright, exciting, educational and fun NextGen programme to our younger members, to help them to succeed with Suffolks.” Barrie Turner

Suffolk Sheep Society are committed to creating opportunities for young people in the sheep industry. From learning and developing skills through practical workshops to gathering together at events we will inspire the NextGen of the sheep sector.

Our events are open to NextGen members of the Society and anyone under 26 interested in learning more about the sheep industry.

Having a vibrant, active and engaged youth wing is a key part of ensuring that the contribution the Suffolk Sheep makes to the sheep industry continues and grows in the future. A Youth/Young Adult programme was launched in 2017 that supports our young people as they take those first steps in creating and building their own flocks. Not only are the NextGen membership and registration fees being heavily subsidised by the Society, but we plan an annual National Event and support Branch ‘Experience Days’ which focus on the key competencies required in sheep husbandry and farm management.

The age categories are:
NextGen Junior (up to 18 years old)
NextGen Senior (18-26 years old)

Benefits of joining NextGen

  1. Own flock number and prefix.
  2. Two complimentary ewe registrations per year for 3 years from joining (or until exiting the scheme).
  3. 50% discount for registering 1 Ram within 6 months of joining.
  4. Welcome Pack.
  5. Early notification of NextGen events.
  6. Entry in Society sales
  7. Participation in NextGen events

How much does it cost?

The annual membership fee and Branch subscription is issued each October. There is also a one off joining fee to set up your flock. An annual levy is issued in January each year which is determined by the number of sheep in your flock.
After that, you will only be charged for the activity in your flock eg birth notifications, registrations and transfers. For full list of fees click here [link to fees page]


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Suffolk Sheep Society Ltd
Fenaghy Road
Galgorm, Ballymena
Co. Antrim
BT42 1FL

Phone: +44 (0) 28 2563 2342

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