Youngsters with an interest in working with sheep will have the opportunity of qualifying for the finals of the NSA Scotsheep 2012 Shepherd of the Year award at a series of regional eliminations in May.
Four finalists will be selected at each of three qualifying events to take part in the finals at NSA Scotsheep 2012 to be held at The Morrisons Farm at Dumfries House, Cumnock, Ayrshire, on Wednesday, June 6.
“We want to encourage more youngsters in their ‘teens and early ‘twenties to take part in the competition which is designed to help those seeking to pursue a career in the sheep industry to hone their skills in sheep husbandry and management,” said former Oatridge College head of agriculture, Dave Turner, who is organising the competition as a member of the NSA Scotsheep organising committee.
“The opportunity to participate in a local elimination will allow far more youngsters to take part in the competition. The top four from each regional competition will qualify to compete for the accolade of NSA Scotsheep Shepherd of the Year, with the winner and runner-up qualifying for the national competition at NSA Sheep 2012 at Malvern on July 4.”
The regional qualifying events will take place at Oatridge College, Broxburn, on Thursday, May 17, Barony College, Dumfries, on May 23, and Dunecht Estate, Aberdeen, on Tuesday, May 29.
The competition will encompass a variety of practical tasks including sheep shearing, prime lamb judging (with reason giving) and ATV trailer loading, maintenance and safety. Competitors will be required to demonstrate their skills and knowledge of hoof care, sheep handling, sheep health (vaccination and dozing) and flock management and nutrition.
The competition is open to all young people in the industry (not only shepherds), who must be aged 26 or under on July 4, and entry is free. The support of young farmers’ clubs, sheep breed societies and agricultural colleges is being enlisted to encourage potential competitors to participate.
The final at NSA Scotsheep will be sponsored by United Auctions, Stirling, and the NSA Scotsheep Trophy and cash prize of £300 will be awarded to the winner, with £200 going to the runner-up and £100 for third place. The highest placed competitor under the age of 21 will also receive a prize of £100.
Travelling and overnight expenses will be paid to the winner and runner-up to compete the national finals at NSA Sheep 2012 with a top prize of £1000 and the possibility of taking part in the world finals.
“We look forward to a large entry of young people from all over Scotland taking part in this very worthwhile competition,” said NSA development officer for Scotland, George Milne.
“It offers a real incentive to encourage the next generation of sheep farmers and shepherds to equip themselves with the range of skills required for a career in the industry.”
Organised by the Scottish Region of the National Sheep Association and sponsored by Bank of Scotland, NSA Scotsheep is held every two years and is Scotland’s national sheep event.
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