2015-01-26   facebooktwitterrss

Tom Bird Wins First Tag Reader Given Away by NSA

When 18-year-old student Tom Bird heard he was the first National Sheep Association (NSA) member to win a Shearwell Data EID stick reader kit he thought his fellow college mates were pulling a prank.

“When I got the email to say I had won the draw I thought it was some of my college mates having a laugh, but fortunately it wasn’t and I had actually won it,” Tom says. “It will be a great tool on the farm to be able to quickly and easily record eartags when dosing sheep, moving them and doing other jobs.”

Richard Wheeldon (right), NSA Central Region Chairman congratulates Tom Bird on his win

Richard Wheeldon (right), NSA Central Region Chairman congratulates Tom Bird on his win

Tom attends Reaseheath College in Cheshire, as well as working on the family farm in South Derbyshire, so has been learning about the complexities of the UK’s sheep identification rules and the benefits of being able to record data on animal performance to drive flock efficiency. The Shearwell Data kit, with a stick reader for taking and adding data linked to electronic eartags, plus a printer and a smart phone app, will help Tom and his family meet sheep traceability regulations and potentially step up the amount of information they keep on their flock of 1,800 North Country Mule ewes.

“My interest in sheep started from the moment I was born,” says Tom. “I have spent virtually every day when I’m not in education helping my dad run the farm, and I am currently studying at Reaseheath for a level 3 extended diploma in agriculture.”

The kit won by Tom is the first of 12 being given away by NSA in its 2015 membership recruitment campaign. New NSA members automatically get entered into the draw, as well as existing members who recommend a friend or neighbour to sign up to NSA. Anyone in the draw who is not lucky enough to win the first time has their entry rolled over to the subsequent draws, and there is no limit to the number of entries existing members have, so the more new members they recommend the higher their chance of winning. The NSA Central Region Winter Fair at Bakewell Market, Derbyshire, provides an ideal opportunity to find out more about the draw and how to get involved.

Tom joined the NSA just before Christmas. He says: “I joined up after spending many years reading my dad’s copy of NSA Sheep Farmer magazine. I find it a great place to get new ideas and be able to follow the trends in a modern and evolving sheep industry that I will soon be a part of.”

Tom is looking forward to the forthcoming lambing season, saying the family’s in-lamb Mule ewes will return from winter grazing six weeks beforehand, ready to be lambed outside. Newborn lambs are then moved inside for a few days, to ensure they bond well with their mother, receive adequate colostrum and get all the attention they need. Most of the grazing land on the farm is adjacent to the Rivers Trent and Derwent, which Tom says is prone to quite bad flooding in winter and spring and ‘makes for some interesting sleepless nights!’

Phil Stocker, NSA Chief Executive, says: “It is always a great pleasure to give such exciting prizes to NSA members, but particularly so when it’s someone like Tom, who is only just getting started in the industry and has a real passion for new ideas and new technology. We wish Tom great success completing his diploma and all the best for his future on the family farm. We also thank Shearwell Data for their generosity in providing the prizes in this membership recruitment draw.”

NSA is giving away a total of 12 readers between 1st December 2014 and 30th November 2015.


Related Links
link Next Generation to Shine at NSA Winter Fair
link Sheep Farmers Invited to Embrace 2015 at NSA Fair
link New Chairman of the National Sheep Association
link NSA Announces Annual Outstanding Contribution Award

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