Put farming first to properly benefit the countryside was the message from NSA Welsh Sheep held at Penegoes, Machynlleth on Wednesday 18th May, which organisers describe as 'a fantastic success', attracting more than 6,500 farmers and their families.
The hosts John Parry Jones and family, left, Dafydd and family with parents Edryd and Gwenan in the middle.
There was a call to put farming first in terms of the environment and regulation from the industrys elder statesman, Sir Meuric Rees, who opened the event. He warned that farming must never come second to conservation, it had to be the other way around.
He added: "There will be change, if we hadnt been doing what we have as farmers, Wales would be covered in bracken. And there is very little access to that sort of land.
"Farming must never be supplementary to conservation. Without the farmers, Wales would have been covered in rushes, brambles and trees. It is the best land that reverts quickest if left to itself.
"In Gogerdden at IBERS we have one of the finest research stations in the world, and the farming industry must be allowed to apply the results of its work - using new varieties of clover and sweeter and more persistent grasses to nourish our livestock. Nostalgia must not limit progress. The alternative is stagnation."
Sir Meuric also criticised over regulation and questioned whether all the agencies set up to tackle crises such as BSE and FMD were still required. It hurt him to pay £20 to dispose of a dead sheep and £100 for a dead cow.
Dafydd RobertsThe NSA Welsh Sheep Young Shepherd of the Year produced two under 25s who will be sponsored to represent Wales at the World finals in New Zealand in November. Twenty four year old Dafydd Roberts of Cerrigydrudion who came first and won £275 and 21 year old Llion Jones of Llanrwst who came second and won a £200 prize in the Welsh competition have both qualified and will be sponsored by NSA Cymru, the NSA Wales & Border Ram Sales, the British Wool Marketing Board and New Zealand's Wairere Romneys breeder Derek Daniel.
Bryn Griffiths of Y Felinheli who was also placed in the Young Shepherd competition won the HCC carcass competition. He was the only one of 95 entrants to correctly grade and place four carcasses.
Rhian Jones of Llandyssul won the fleece competition, correctly choosing the right breed for each of six fleeces.
NSA Cymru Chairman John Lloyd Jones said Welsh Sheep 2011 had been probably the best ever event. There had been a record attendance with the wet start giving way to a clear sunny afternoon, the hosts Dafydd and John Parry Jones and their families and parents Edryd and Gwenan had provided a superb location and the current buoyancy of the sheep sector meant flockmasters were in good spirits.
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