2013-06-07 xml

Family Farming Units are the Backbone of British Agriculture

That was the message at NSA North Sheep, The National Sheep Association’s, Northern biennial one day event, held at Crimple Head Farm, near Harrogate on Wednesday 5th June 2013.

Within the region of 7000 people attended this year’s NSA North Sheep which focused on the future of the Sheep Farming Industry, attracted farmers, academics, industry experts, exhibitors associated businesses and breed societies from throughout the UK.

The Wilson Family  who hosted NSA North Sheep

The Wilson Family who hosted NSA North Sheep

Across the day, whether in opening speeches or seminars, speaker after speaker emphasised the role farmers in general and sheep farmers in particular, played in British food and the protection of rural life and landscape and how vital these roles were in the protection of everybody’s futures.

In his opening address, the Chairman of the organisers, Adam Watson, referred to the many challenges faced on farms in the last 18 months. In previewing North Sheep, he believed that the event provided “people with a one-stop-shop showing everything that was good about the sheep farming industry – and a great opportunity to focus on the future.”

The Head of Agriculture for Barclays Bank, Martin Redfearn, opened the event and set the tone, saying: “Sheep farming is vital to all parts of the agriculture industry and the strength of that industry is its people”. He added: “The role of the stockman is almost indescribable – what he or she can see in the pen, shed or field of livestock today, maybe is what any blind fool can see tomorrow. You can improve it from what it is but it has to be there to start with – he or she has to have instinct for livestock.”

Chief Executive of the NSA, Phil Stoker added his belief that farmers “are the foundation of all land management in the country, and that family farming units are the backbone of agriculture.”

That tone of support and optimism for the future was nowhere better made that by Liz Philip, principal, Askham Bryan College, who presented a seminar for young entrants entitled “Opportunities for the Future”. To her “The farming family was the bedrock of British food production.” “Young people,” she added, “can invent the future of farming.” She could see that ahead farming would have the added dimension of greater entrepreneurship. “New entrants are business people who want to farm.”

NSA North Sheep acts as an industry forum and was used as a platform for the British Wool Marketing Board to announce their 2013 wool prices. Farmers saw the latest developments in flock management and healthcare as well as the commercial aspects of their business. The farming industry is facing many important changes and this year’s seminar programme looked in detail at the challenges and opportunities the industry faces in the future.

Hugely popular during the day were the sponsored farm tours. The trip by trailer offered an oversight of the Wilson’s farming enterprises and also offered Yorkshire tasters of real ale and real pork pies and flapjacks from local makers, Kendall’s Butchers and Park View Bakery, of nearby Pateley Bridge.

Crimple Head Farm is run by 3 generations in the name of J M Wilson and Sons. The 1000 acre farm runs flocks of 1000 horned Dalesbred ewes and 300 Masham and 50 Mule ewes along with 30 pure bred Texels and 100 head of breeding cattle. The Wilson family are very keen supporters of the National Sheep Association and the Sheep industry and David Wilson is himself Chairman of the Dalesbred Sheep Breeders’ Association.

David said afterwards how grateful he was to the teams of people who had helped to set up and make the farm smart for the day. “I couldn’t be happier and prouder,” he added. “North Sheep hasn’t been to this county for 10 years, and the event was a triumph and a showcase for Yorkshire farming and produce.”

Adam Berry of Kendal Receiving his trophy from Malcolm Corbett Chair of the British Wool Marketing Board

Adam Berry of Kendal Receiving his trophy from Malcolm Corbett Chair of the British Wool Marketing Board

One of the highlights of the competitive spirit of North Sheep was clearly, on the day, the Shearing competition. Thought to be rare these days, the crowds flocked to see some of the North of England’s best shearers, with 30 year old Adam Berry of Kendal clipping his way to the trophy.

Winners of the Stockjudging Competitions, sponsored by Carrs Billington Agriculture, were, in the Gents, Cecil Hutchinson, of East Harle; the Ladies, Margaret Iveson of High Force Farm, Bainbridge; 25 years and under, Eddie Heard; and 18 years and under, Henry Forsett. Entrants were required to show their keen eye for champion stock by judging four pens with Dalesbred, Teeswater, Mashams and Mules.

The third NSA North Sheep Young Shepherd of the Year Award was made to a neighbour of the Wilson’s at Crimple Head - Josh Ryder of Central House Farm, Haverah Park near Harrogate. Receiving his trophy he emphasised that North Sheep is a flagship in farming. “This couldn’t be a better event to win it at, he added.

Josh illustrates and confirms the spirit if the days’ opening speeches. He works at CCM auction and on the 300 acre family home farm where they run 1200 Dalesbred and Swaledale and a small herd of sucklers.

Askham Bryan College sponsored the competition, and the young entrants (all under 26 years) performed five tasks – Stockjudging; lamb selection; shearing two sheep; answering questions on flock management and demonstrating dosing, vaccination and foot trimming skills. Josh will represent the NSA Northern Region at the final of the UK Young Shepherd of the Year to be held at NSA Sheep 2014, in Malvern, Worcestershire.

The highlight for those who enjoy the end product almost as much as the production was North Sheep’s very own popular version of Ready Steady Cook.

Ready Steady Cook – from left to right -= Andrew Atkinson from Harrogate, Winner, Stephanie Moon Judge, Tem Ogden Auctioneer with Craven Auction Marts

Ready Steady Cook – from left to right -= Andrew Atkinson from Harrogate, Winner, Stephanie Moon Judge, Ted Ogden Auctioneer with Craven Auction Marts

The winning chef was is Andrew Atkinson, a lamb buyer of Felliscliffe Harrogate,, who clearly knows as much about preparing lamb as about purchasing it. Sponsored by CCM Auctions and featuring prime local lamb, the Heats involved the runner up, Ted Ogden from Craven Cattle Marts, Ian Smith from Wharfedale Farmers Mart, and Stephen Maskill, also a lamb buyer. Chefs were on hand from Harrogate College assisting. Celebrity chef Sophie Moon, and Northumberland’s Frankie Walton did a tremendous job of judging and humorously entertaining the audience.

There was a fantastic showcase of trade stands, winning best indoor stand was Logie Durno Sheep, from Aberdeenshire, Best Outdoor Trade Stand, Ripon Farm Supplies, Wool on the Hoof was won by The North of England Mule, Lleyn Sheep Society.

Speaking at the event, the organiser of NSA North Sheep Julie Sedgewick said: “We were delighted with the high number of visitors that turned out and this demonstrates yet again how the sheep farming industry continues to be such an important part of British agriculture. We had a record number of trade stands, sheep breed societies and support from sponsors, and I would like to thank them all. Their attendance and support helped us to produce what was a tremendous event.”


  Related Links
link Show Dates
link Families Enjoy a Fun Day at New Northumberland Showground
link Limousin Supreme Champion at Beef Expo 2013
link NSA North Sheep 2013

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