Next Generation Shepherds competition finalists step up to compete once again
7th April 2021
With the opportunity of winning the title of National Sheep Association (NSA) Next Generation Shepherd of the Year disappointingly halted due to Covid-19 last year NSA along with competition sponsors the Texel Sheep Society are thrilled to announce the contest has resumed this Spring.
Having qualified for the finals of the contest that should have taken place at NSA Sheep Event 2020, twelve skilled young shepherds are now preparing themselves for a series of virtual tasks to get the competition started once again.
The long awaited finals of the competition will see competitors take part in demonstration of skills including ATV handling, health care administration, carcase judging, and shearing.
Competition organiser Helen Roberts comments: “It is encouraging to see the competitors embrace using virtual technology in order that the competition can take place and see how they have overcome the new challenges that this has bought to the competition. I wish all the competitors well with their tasks. I am grateful of the support given by the Texel Sheep Society.”
The Texel Sheep Society has supported the competition both at the NSA Sheep Event, Malvern, and at regional Sheep Events, including NSA Scot Sheep, NSA Sheep Northern Ireland and NSA Welsh Sheep for many years, valuing the opportunity to support the next generation of commercial sheep farmers developing their skills. They will once again offer winning competitors a generous slice of the £2000 prize money.
Texel Society Chief Executive John Yates says recognising the need to encourage and develop the younger generation and its support of the NSA Next Generation Shepherds competitions was just one of a number of activities the Society undertook in this area.
“There is no doubting that with a changing focus in agricultural support across the UK in future years the sheep industry is facing challenging times.
“Attracting the best and brightest young minds into any organisation is, without doubt, the main ingredient for success. The sheep sector has plenty of enthusiastic young entrants, but they need every opportunity available to them to succeed. This is vital if the UK is to remain a competitive player in the world sheep industry,” he explains.
Competitors have already completed a carcase judging competition with their observations impressing judge AHDB’s Steve Powdrill. Steve says: “Judging carcases by the use of photographs is never easy due to lighting, angles and sizing so it was wonderful to see the ‘have a go’ attitude by all competitors. There has been some high scoring on the classification and some really good descriptions with excellent in depth commentary around conformation and fat. What was really good to see was how some had mentally broken the carcases down, then visually apply and name a market outlet for each carcase.”
The next challenge for finalists will be a demonstration of their ATV handling skills and worm drenching knowledge and technique. The remaining competition elements of shearing and a quiz of their knowledge of the UK sheep sector and practical sheep production are likely to be completed online although hopes still remain that a face to face gathering of competitors will be possible to conclude the climax of the contest later this year.
For further information on the competition visit the NSA Next Generation website at www.nsanextgeneration.org.uk including profiles of all this year’s finalists.