Gwyndd based Iwan Jones, is the NSA Young Shepherd of the Year. Iwan collected the prestigious Footvax sponsored award with an accompanying £1,000 cash prize at NSA Sheep 2010, the industry’s biennial event staged by the National Sheep Association at Malvern on Tuesday 3 August after completing a pentathlon of activities designed to test the youngsters shepherding skills.
Iwan Jones receives his award from NSA chairman, Jonathan Barber and sponsor, Intervet Schering Plough’s Joanne Worthington
Each of the 24 entrants from throughout the UK were required sort finished lambs for slaughter, demonstrate handling, vaccinating and dosing techniques, erect an electric fence, and put an ATV through its paces. They were also questioned on flock management and health issues.
Back home at Llanllaw Farm, Aberdaron, Iwan helps his parents, Robert and Carol to manage the family unit carrying 800 ewes and finishing 120 stores bought in annually. A National Diploma in Agriculture graduate from Glynllif College, he also manages a contract shearing company with a business partner shearing 16,000 head a year and he has recently established a scanning operation. “It’s a great honour to return the award to Wales,” Iwan said. “I initially won the NSA Welsh Shepherd of the Year in 2009, however this competition was more intense between the other equally experienced entrants some of whom had already won a regional award like myself. We really had to know our stuff, the tasks required a great deal of skill and concentration.”
Narrowly pipped in to reserve place was first time entrant, Josh Braid, of Garway Hill, Hereford. Twenty one year old Josh, who graduated with a distinction from Hartpury College, has since been appointed head shepherd to a 1,000 ewe flock at Skenfrith, Abergavenny. He has also established his own 200 ewe flock and is a member of the Young Gunners Shearing Crew which shears 55,000 sheep annually.
Joint third place went to Dafydd Roberts, Corwen and Thomas Gigson, Ballymena.
NSA Sheep 2010 organiser, Helen Davies commented: “The association was pleased to support the pentathlon event since we are acutely aware that the biggest long term challenge facing the sheep industry is to encourage young people to be involved. We were very impressed by the overall high calibre of entrants, and we were also grateful to our sponsors, Footvax for their recognition of the importance of these youngsters to the sheep industry.”
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