The NSA Central Region Winter Fair – held at Bakewell Market on Thursday 24th January – has the potential to ‘kick-start your 2013 farming year’, says NSA Chief Executive Phil Stocker.
Visitors flocked to the event when it was last held in 2011.
“Lamb prices are challenging and times feel tough at the moment – but the best way to respond is to move forward and look for ways to increase our resilience and success, both through maximising outputs and income, and through controlling inputs and costs. This is why I urge people not to miss this year’s Winter Fair – it has the potential to kick-start your 2013 farming year, providing plenty of inspiration and new, practical ideas to take home with you,” Mr Stocker says.
Ian Turner, a NSA member for over 20 years and a past chairman of the Central region, agrees and says he will definitely be there in a fortnight’s time. He has a particular interest in one of the seminars – “Landscape, Leisure and Livestock: Have we got the balance right?” – as his role as Farm Manager for Chatsworth Settlement Trustees sees him run farming activities alongside leisure activities in the beautiful Chatsworth area.
He is tasked with making two vast areas of parkland (450 acres and 350 acres) ‘look like an extension of the front lawn’ of Chatsworth House, which can only be done by grazing animals – sheep on-and-off through the year, deer at all times and cattle in the summer. These livestock are part of the huge attraction of Chatsworth and the many leisure activities and attractions for the general public (the house and gardens, farm shop, caravan site, Country Fair and Horse Trails) would be greatly diminished without them. But compromises have to be made (including not turning out new-born lambs until they are a month old, to stop people picking them up) and Ian agrees with NSA that there is a real need for an educational role with the general public, particularly about when to have their dogs on a lead.
On the estate Entry Level and High Level Stewardship (incorporating Sites of Special Scientific Interest) support environmental standards and provide capital for maintaining walls and field barns. And Chatsworth has always run shearing courses annually, in conjunction with the British Wool Marketing Board, to give youngsters in the area the opportunity to learn these skills.
Ian welcomes the improved prices for wool in the past two years and hopes to hear even better news from “Your Wool Board – Working for You” seminar at the Central Region Winter Fair. He is also looking forward to the “Liver Fluke: Detection, Control and Treatment” and “CAP Reform – What the Industry Needs” seminars.
Others who will definitely be there include Kath Birkinshaw, another former NSA Central Region chairperson. She says: “In this day and age of higher costs and limited resources it is harder than ever to make a profit, so your decision-making has to be as up-to-date and informed as possible – and the Winter Fair is an essential event to attend”.
Current NSA Central Region Chairman says: “There is something here for everyone, whether you are a school leaver, a new entrant to sheep farming, a student or an established sheep farmer. We hope this Winter Fair will help you to increase your knowledge and develop your business.”
Find out more at www.nationalsheep.org.uk.
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