NSA South East Region Members Meeting 2021

Date: 3rd February 2021

Time: 7pm

Location: Online

It’s was a busy week for NSA South East region with a committee meeting on Monday evening followed by the ARMM on Wednesday evening, both held virtually of course.

Due to the continued uncertainties and restrictions caused by Covid-19 the rescheduled Field Days, postponed from 2020, look increasingly unlikely to take place. Whilst it won’t be possible to run the June events NSA South East regional committee remain hopeful that some may be held in the Autumn. 

The popular biannual Sheep Health, Wealth and Production Conference (SHWAP) is scheduled for early November 2021. It is hoped that this will be a face to face event at the Vet School, University of Surrey however should this not be possible it will be held virtually.

The ARMM was well attended, perhaps as a result of the ability to attend from the comfort of home. Formal business included the re-election of Yann Le Du as Chair, Susie Parish as Vice-Chair and John Britton as Treasurer. Andrew Barr was thanked for his sterling work as a Trustee for the past 6 years and was presented with a handcrafted and engraved Shepherd’s crook as a token of the committee’s appreciation.

Guest speaker Matt Smith, “Cornish/New Zealander”, sheep and deer farmer and World Record holding shearer, joined the meeting from his kitchen in Cornwall. He spoke on ‘Building resilience into your farming system’ at different levels. He firstly spoke about it in terms of worm burden in sheep and his work with his own flock selecting for worm resilience and contrasting this with resistance. He then underlined how he ensures resilience within his business by always having a Plan B before embarking on Plan A, in other words not exposing the business to a new venture without a fall back or insurance position. This allows progression without fatally jeopardising the core of the business. There followed an interesting discussion ending with an invitation from Matt to visit him when conditions allow.

NSA Policy & Technical Officer Nicola Noble rounded off the ARMM with an update on recent policy work by the organisation. It is safe to say that these are exceptional times with a pandemic and Brexit leading to many changes within our industry. The policies being formulated at present involve literally once in a life time decisions for our industry so our input to a multitude of government decisions couldn’t be more important.