2018-05-24  facebooktwitterrss

NSA Facilitates Defra Research at Breed Society Forum

The National Sheep Association’s (NSA) Breed Society Forum proved the perfect platform for discussion on the future of UK sheep farming at the annual gathering of UK sheep breed societies held recently in Oxfordshire.

All NSA-affiliated breed societies were invited to the forum, a one-day event that has moved around the country since the first meeting back in 2012.

Breed Society Forum

Breed Society Forum

Attracting a good number of sheep breed society representatives, this year’s event featured updates from NSA staff on the organisation’s most recent work, pushing for the best possible outcome as the UK prepares to leave the EU, as well as a unique opportunity for sheep producers in attendance to feed into a new Defra-funded research project.

The yearlong venture, led by the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board (AHDB), Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) and supported by NSA, is funded by Defra and aims to assess the current UK sheep genetic resource, the targets the UK is aiming to reach in this area and how they can be achieved. Attendees at the forum were joined by AHDB Beef & Lamb researchers Sam Boon and Kim Matthews, who led an interactive workshop on the project and gathered valuable input direct from the sheep farmers’ point of view.

Leading the event, NSA Chief Executive Phil Stocker comments:
“This year’s forum provided a fantastic opportunity to gather opinion from a range of sheep farmers, industry representatives and experts to feed into this new exciting research. Despite the many differences in sheep farming systems between those at the forum it was interesting and encouraging to see that most agree on the focus the industry must take to ensure its future success and development.

“We were happy to be joined by AHDB Beef & Lamb as well as leading sheep consultant Lesley Stubbings, allowing us to once again offer a useful opportunity to our affiliated breed societies to receive the latest updates from industry direct to their representatives and members.”

Sheep farmers interested in learning more about the Defra-funded project titled ‘UK Sheep Genetic Improvement Scoping Study’ and wanting to participate in its research should contact NSA Livestock Researcher Nicola Smith.


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