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Sheep association sets out ‘future-proofing’ the industry
Published:  16 May, 2017

The National Sheep Association (NSA) has said that the whole industry working together is “essential” if it is to overcome challenges in the wake of Brexit. 

This was the message the organisation delivered to delegates during the recent NSA Breed Society Forum at Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire, with a theme of future-proofing the sheep industry.

All NSA-affiliated breed societies were invited to the one-day event, which has been running since 2012. Delegates were welcomed by Phil Stocker, NSA’s chief executive, who gave an update of some of the ongoing work the NSA is undertaking, with a focus around Brexit and the challenges it will present.

“One of the things we can do through this forum is make valuable connections between NSA-affiliated breed societies and organisations,” he explained. “The forum gave me a good opportunity to talk through the detail of some of the NSA’s work on Brexit, as well as some internal project the organisation is involved in, including a study into ram longevity and the work the NSA is doing on heritage breeds development.”  

The day was split into two halves, with the morning session providing speakers to update attendees on industry messages, and the second half seeing NSA central region committee member Charles Sercombe taking the attendees on a farm walk.

“As ever, breed societies were able to take part in presentations and discussions with a range of industry representatives who brought with them relevant and valuable information on genetics, zootechnical legislation and a sheep gene bank update to name just a few,” added Stocker.

The chief executive encouraged the industry to collaborate to build a sustainable future for the industry. “Sharing information is essential if we want to collectively tackle some of the challenges Brexit is posing, although there is clearly a lot of uncertainty at the moment.

“A zootechnical update from FAnGR [Farm Animal Genetic Resources Committee] proved a perfect example of this, and it is unclear whether updated EU legislation will be implemented by November 2018. The forum was an enjoyable and important event to debate a range of topics, and for breed societies to receive updates on current industry trends alongside NSA activity.”