The UK sheep sector is facing a time of unprecedented change. Due to the volumes of UK lamb exported overseas, mainly to the EU, the time new trade deals and market access will take to secure, and the reliance of the sector on support payments, any Brexit scenario will impact individual businesses.

It is very hard to prepare for change when we do not exactly what that change might be – but this toolkit, produced by National Sheep Association, will help you think about appropriate steps.

It is likely many sheep farmers will have to change how they farm as we see EU-led support schemes either disappear or be replaced with poorer funded UK equivalents. These changes might be to increase efficiency and productivity, enter partnerships or collaborations, move to part-time farming supplemented by an alternative income stream, or to change land use or introduce diversification enterprises to access additional income streams.

Any on-farm solutions are not just about figures and financial performance, as the mind-set of individuals and the impact on families and networks is equally as important. The stark reality of our industry is that there is one death by suicide every week, highlighting the huge levels of pressure that already exist without the added stress of losing farm support payments and/or having to make significant businesses changes to survive.

This toolkit is designed to provide practical advice as well as signpost sheep farmers towards the range of organisations that can provide additional support and help. NSA has split the toolkit into the seven specific areas below. Each section has farmer case studies, expert advice provided in a podcast, and links to more information.

This ‘Business readiness toolkit’ has been produced by the National Sheep Association in October 2019, immediately ahead of the Government’s 31st October deadline (agreed prior to the 31st January extension) for the UK to leave the EU. It has been facilitated by grant funding from the ‘Business Readiness Fund’, which is administered by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.