Thousands of sheep farmers from all over the UK will be converging on the Borders next week for NSA Scotsheep 2008.
Scotland’s biennial national sheep event, organised by the Scottish Region of the National Sheep Association, is being held on the farm of Northhouse, Teviothead, Hawick, on Wednesday (June 4) and is a major event for the sheep industry in Scotland.
The event is open to the public from 9.00am and the official opening by the Duke of Buccleuch will take place at 10.30am. This will be followed by a keynote address from Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Richard Lochhead.
“We are delighted to welcome NSA Scotsheep back to the Borders which is one of the most important sheep producing areas in the country and a source of quality breeding stock for sheep producers both north and south of the Border,” said Jack Clark, managing director of auctioneers, John Swan Ltd, who chairs the local organising committee.
“Everyone has been working very hard to make NSA Scotsheep a first-class event for the Scottish sheep industry and we look forward to putting on a great show for visiting sheep farmers.”
Northhouse, which is farmed by the Hepburn family, is a typical Border livestock rearing farm, and the opportunity to view this high-lying farm, with its pedigree flocks and extensive commercial sheep enterprise, will be a major attraction for many visitors.
Other features of the event, which has Bank of Scotland Corporate as major sponsor, include 156 trade stands, demonstrations by 41 sheep breed societies, extensive seminar programme, practical demonstrations of electronic tagging, sheep shearing, wool spinning and crook making, sheep dog trials, stockjudging and ATV manoeuvring competitions, farmers market and craft fair and the NSA Scotsheep Young Shepherd of the Year competition.
SHEEP DOG TRIALS
Top sheep dog handlers from the South of Scotland will be demonstrating their skills in a novel sheep dog trial at NSA Scotsheep at Highhouse, Teviothead, Hawick, on Wednesday, June 4.
A team of 15 handlers representing the Borders will competing against a team of 15 from Dumfries and Kirkcudbright in a team challenge devised by three-times world champion, Bobby Dalziel from Ettrick. There will also be six individual prizes.
The trials will be judged by leading Swedish dog handler, Lisa Hansson, who will be representing Sweden at this year’s international trials in September.
The competition will go on for most of the day starting at 8.30am with the aim of finishing in good time for the prize-giving at 3.30pm.
More than 200 school children from seven Hawick primary schools will be attending NSA Scotsheep and will be given a conducted tour of the event in a programme organised by the Royal Highland Educational Trust. The primary six pupils will take part in a Treasure Trail and the winning group will receive an all-expenses paid trip to the Royal Highland Show in June.
“NSA Scotsheep is providing the children with a fantastic opportunity to visit a hill farm which is typical of the Borders and find out how quality Scotch lamb is produced,” said RHET co-ordinator in the Borders, Elizabeth Chalmers.
WHAT TO SEE AT NSA SCOTSHEEP AT A GLANCE
The event will be open to the public from 9.00am and the official opening by the Duke of Buccleuch will take place at 10.30am, followed by an address by the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Richard Lochhead, and John Taylor, director of agriculture, Bank of Scotland Corporate, major sponsor of NSA Scotsheep.
Four seminars will take place at hourly intervals starting at 11.30am. Subjects to be covered are sheep health, CAP Health Check, lamb pricing and Easy Care sheep management.
NSA SCOTSHEEP YOUNG SHEPHERD OF THE YEAR
The competition to choose the NSA Scotsheep Young Shepherd of the Year takes place at NSA Scotsheep. The winner will be presented with the NSA Scotsheep Trophy and a cash prize of £300 and will be eligible to compete for the National Young Shepherd of the Year award at NSA Sheep 2008 at Malvern on July 30 with a top prize of £1000. The competition is open to youngsters – whether working as shepherds or not - up to 26 years of age. Pre-entry is essential by contacting Julie Sedgewick on 01388 664496.
The demonstration area will feature sheep shearing, wool spinning and crook making.
SCOTTISH SHEEP STRATEGY
A major presentation on the Scottish Sheep Strategy will feature sheep from the nearby sheep focus farm of Whitchesters which is part of the Better Breeding Programme.
BREED SOCIETIES/TRADE STANDS
The extensive trade stand area will include demonstrations of sheep by 41 sheep breed societies and 156 trade stands
Competitions open to the public will include stockjudging and ATV manoeuvring with Yamaha bikes and trailers
FARMERS MARKET AND CRAFT FAIR
The farmers’ market will feature businesses from the area selling local produce and crafts
Electronic identification (EID) is a hot topic among sheep producers and the demonstrations of the technology involved by Shearwell Data and Tagmaster/Allflex is sure to be a big attraction.
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