NSA Members Update - 21st September 2012

By Suffolk Sheep Society 25th September, 2012

Phil Stocker represents NSA at Downing Street.

Phil Stocker represents NSA at highest level

This week (Wednesday 19th) I was privileged to represent NSA at a 10 Downing Street lunch with Prime Minister David Cameron. The occasion brought together people from a range of farming and countryside organisations and was an opportunity for the coalition Government to re-emphasise its interest in and support for farming and rural issues – and to introduce the new Secretary of State Owen Paterson and Farming Minister David Heath.


Over lunch (British lamb of course!) there was a healthy debate about key obstacles that are holding back productivity and preventing entrepreneurialism in rural areas. From NSA’s perspective it was the best opportunity possible to raise awareness of the Prime Minister and his new farming team about on-going contradictions between conservation management and sheep farming in the uplands, and continuing red tape and access to land presenting a serious barrier to new and young entrants to the sheep industry.


The new Ministerial team were left in no doubt that there is scope for the sheep industry to expand with obvious economic and social benefits – and that this expansion does not compromise wildlife and biodiversity but, in fact, done well, enhances it.



CumbriaCountyCouncil does a U-turn on AMLS plans

Regular readers of this e-newsletter may remember NSA was lobbying Cumbria Country Council earlier this year about its plans to stop inputting data into Animal Movement Licensing Service (AMLS).


We also invited individual NSA members to apply pressure – and it seems to have worked! Cumbria County Council wrote to NSA on Monday (17th Sep) to say ‘after careful consideration’ the council cabinet had rejected the plan.


Eddie Martin, Council Leader, wrote: “Cabinet was reassured that Defra is committed to replacing the existing paper system with electronic reporting and are considering the introduction of a simplified disease control standstill system. The Council will continue to use Defra monies to capture sheep and goat movement on AMLS until the replacement system is operational, thereby protecting livestock, businesses and the integrity of the food chain.”



Sharing ideas

A small group of NSA members from the SE region attended a farm visit to Tim Whites farm base near Fovant, Hampshire, on Thursday evening (20th Sep). Tim is a ‘flockmaster’ running a large flock of hair sheep and wool-shedding sheep on various blocks of land, often linked with permanent grass in agri-environment schemes. He is known for thinking outside the box and is a great example of someone who has managed to get his feet firmly on the rungs of the farming ladder without owning or even renting a farm.


A small group of the regions sheep farmers benefitted from an interesting discussion on the genetics behind some of our wool shedding strains, the role of the Wiltshire Horn and the economics of wool production (with an acceptance that wool does work for many and that hair sheep help by taking some wool off the market).



Farmers encouraged to vaccinate against abortion at NSA NI meeting

Vet and MSD Animal Health advisor Bosco Cowley told NI NSA regional members last week (11th September) that one in every five lambs potential lambs was lost due to abortion each year. “The majority of lamb losses are due to preventable causes, in particular due to sheep abortion,” he said. “Running that ewe for a year to produce nothing but a fleece guarantees a large loss on your investment.”

For his advice on vaccination click here and read more on the NSA website.



Do you want some help with lambing?

Don’t forget that NSA is once again collect the names of members who would like temporary help at lambing time and are willing to provide work experience for vets students (and similar). The list is circulated to all NSA students members first, then agricultural and vet colleges.


If you would like to be added to the list please email gill@nationalsheep.org.uk with…

  • You full name
  • NSA membership number
  • Address
  • Contact telephone numbers
  • Dates you require help from and to
  • Whether or not you require experienced help
  • Number of ewes to lamb, indoors/outdoors etc
  • No of students/helpers required


Did you get the Sheep Farmer “whole package”?

A huge amount of additional information went out with the Sep/Oct Sheep Farmer journal, thanks to our relationship with Moredun. If for any reason you did not receive all or some of the items on the list below, please do not hesitate to let us know – ring the office or email gill@nationalsheep.org.uk.


You should have received:- the Moredun Autumn/Winter magazine; a Moredun newssheet (vol.5.no.15) on “Effective treatment strategies to control parasitic roundworms”; dates of the forthcoming Moredun Animal Health Roadshow; and a leaflet about Moredun merchandise. There was also a SCOPS leaflet enclosed about the different anthelmintic groups currently available.





NSA Wales & Border Ram Sale 2012: Monday 24th September

The Main Ram Sale will be held on at the Royal Welsh Showground. www.nsaramsales.co.uk.


NSA Eastern Region AGM: 10th October 2012, 6pm at Heath Court Hotel, Newmarket.

In addition to the AGM, there will also be two guest speakers during the evening – Phil Stocker on"The Sheep Industry and the NSA" and Chris Lloyd, Eblex, on "Sheep Industry Issues, including climate change". Both speakers will happily take questions and it is hoped plenty of debate will be sparked.


NSA South East Region AGM:15th November 2012, 6pm at the Swan Hotel, 11 West Street, Alresford, Hants, SO24 9AD.


NSA Northern Ireland Region AGM:15th November 2012 (provisional) at Greenmount College.


Sheep Health and Welfare Conference:Wednesday 21st November

Delivering innovation with practical application for the farm

At Worcester Warriors, Sixways Stadium, Worcester.

To book your place email: shwconference@nationalsheep.org.uk


NSA Central Region Winter Fair: Thursday 24th January 2013

At Bakewell Auction Mart (by kind permission of Derbyshire Dales District Council). For enquiries speak to Bob and Anne Payne of the Central Region on 01142 883241 or 07803 744437, or Helen Davies, Event Organiser, on 01938 590535 or 07976 803066.


All these events, and more, can be found in the Event’s Diary on the website


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