2014-09-05   facebooktwitterrss

Ballymena Farmer Wins NSA Recruitment Prize

The National Sheep Association’s 2014 membership recruitment prize giveaway has had its first Northern Irish winner. Thomas Gibson, a mixed livestock farmer from Broughshane, Ballymena, is now the proud owner of an Advantage Feeders' 3in1 feeder.

Thomas works alongside his father on their upland farm, which runs from 600ft to 1,200ft above sea level and supports 800 breeding ewes and 50 suckler cows. Scotch Mule and Scotch Mule cross ewes are put to Texels to produce fat lambs and to Cambridge and Belclare tups to breed replacements. Thomas breeds his best Scottish Blackfaces with Bluefaced Leicester rams to provide Mules to sell as ewe lambs.

Thomas gibson is presented with his award by John Blaney

Thomas Gibson is presented with his award by John Blaney

This is the second success Thomas has had with NSA, as he was selected to be a NSA Next Generation Ambassador in January and has been attending personal development and business training days in recent months. He signed up as a member in his own right earlier in the year.

Thomas says:
“My father was always a member of NSA and I joined to be kept informed of technology and new ideas in the industry. It’s great to win one of these feeders and it will be very useful. I’m going to use it to feed replacement ewe lambs on some rough hill through the winter instead of sending them to a local dairy farm. It means I won’t have to drive to the dairy farm every other day to check on them. The high capacity of the feeder and the intake system should be great for supplementary feeding throughout the winter.”

The feeder is the fourth of six to be given away by NSA in 2014. The draw is open to anyone who signs up as a new NSA member and also existing members who recruit a friend or neighbour. There are two more chances to win a 3in1 feeder so act now to either become a member or sign someone else up to join the association.

Thomas’ win draws attention to the tireless work of NSA in Northern Ireland, including the recent production of a Vision for British Lamb Production, which was launched at the NSA Sheep Event in July in conjunction with the NFU. The report lays out the current state of UK lamb production and the steps needed to ensure the best possible future for the sector. The document will be used to guide NSA’s own work and to demonstrate to decision makers the best path to realising the potential of the sheep industry.

Although it covers the entire UK, the joint vision report is particularly relevant to Northern Irish sheep production. It mirrors many of the themes of the Northern Ireland Agri-food Strategy Board’s Going for Growth action plan, which offers recommendations for the farming industry going forward. Both documents call for increased efficiency in the lamb supply chain, by taking steps such as increased use of performance recording and an emphasis on producing lambs which meet customer requirements. Both publications also prioritise animal health and welfare.

Edward Adamson, NSA Northern Ireland Region Manager, says:
“Over the past two years we have been talking to DARD about the importance of animal health plans and the need to encourage farmers to explore the financial gains that could be made by implementing them. Priming animal health plans through the Rural Development Programme would encourage more farmer participation and hopefully lead to more adoption of carefully constructed plans for individual farmers.”

John Blaney, NSA Northern Ireland Region Chairman, adds:
“The Vision Report sets out a path that would take sheep farming to a better level. We hope all members of our local food chain read it and act upon the suggestions within it.”

In further efforts to secure a bright future for the sheep industry, NSA Northern Ireland Region has been in discussion with DARD over proposed Business Development Groups. These would bring farmers together to discuss ways of moving their enterprises forward, with the aim of 3,000 farmers across all sectors (not just sheep) to participate in the scheme.


Related Links
link Ruthin Lleyn Rams Reach 6,200gns
link Appreciation of Work Behind NSA Scot Sheep 2014
link Fantastic Clearance Rates for the first Lleyn Sale of the Season
link Sheep Health and Welfare Conference 2014

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