2022 Ambassador Group
NSA received a record breaking number of applications from some exceptional young sheep farmers to join the programme in 2022. Here are the successful, bright, young sheep enthusiasts who will join the scheme this year.
Meet the 2022 recruits to the NSA Next Generation Ambassador programme
George Ellis (26) Gloucestershire
As a new entrant to the sector George is clearly keen to embrace the opportunities the NSA Next Generation programme will deliver and soak in all of the new information.
His enthusiasm for sheep farming sees him spend much of his free time visiting other forward thinking farms looking for ideas he can implement on his growing flock of 100 Romney cross ewes and 200 Romney cross ewe lambs. He has also recently started a social media sheep discussion group for ex Harper Adams students to share information, concerns and ideas from their flocks.
He has plans to increase numbers at home but is focussed on doing this gradually whilst improving his grassland and performance recording his current stock to select only the very best replacements.
George comments: “I applied to see other sheep systems and to learn some innovative ideas to take back to the farm. I’m privileged to be selected as it is clear that the NSA invests a lot into the Next Generation programme and its ambassadors. I am looking forward to getting started!”
Elsa Amiss (23) Cornwall
Along with her family, Elsa is a National Trust tenant farmer on the most southerly farm in mainland Britain, Lizard Point, Cornwall. Living and farming in a high tourist area she is happy to try and educate the many visitors that pass nearby the farm on a daily basis. She also has recently taken on a role with Farmlink, a charity delivering farm education to school children in areas of South West England.
On farm Elsa is keen to develop the farm’s flock of 150 crossbred ewes and is interested in establishing her own flock of rare and heritage breed sheep, exploring their use within the farm’s own set of unique challenges. Elsa explains: “I’m interested in the use of different sheep breeds here and the difference these might have in the taste of the finished product. We sell lamb direct to our local consumers who would be interested in this – People buy beef by breed, why not lamb and mutton?”
On joining the Ambassador programme this year Elsa comments: “I am honoured to be one of the applicants to be selected and can't wait for the opportunity to connect with other young people from a range of backgrounds, interests, and experiences all with the same enthusiasm for the British sheep industry.”
Perry Parkinson (27) Dumfries and Galloway
As an employed shepherd at SRUC’s Barony campus in Dumfries and Galloway, Perry revels in the opportunity to run 500 North of England and Scotch Mules in an environment that is open to trialling different ideas for the benefit of the systems sheep flock and the sector as a whole whilst educating the next generation of sheep farmers.
Perry says he applied to become an Ambassador as he wanted to challenge himself, learn more and put himself in a position where he could hopefully help more young people to get in to farming.
He comments: “I’m over the moon to be accepted and feel very privileged and honoured to be part of such an impressive group of young sheep farmers. I am looking forward to travelling across the UK to view other systems and as a new entrant myself hopefully showing other young people you don’t have to be from a farm to have a successful career in sheep farming.”
Alexander Boyd (22) County Antrim
Alexander already appreciates the support and knowledge to be gained by involvement in a programme such as NSA Next Generation. He is an active participant of his local sheep business development group and an active young farmer, having won YFC’s Northern Ireland Young Farmer of the Year. He has also previously competed in the NSA Next Generation Shepherd of the year competition.
Working on his family’s sheep and beef farm in Northern Ireland Alexander runs 380 Scotch Blackface mules, Texel mules and Easycare ewes. The family also finish between 400-500 store lambs each winter. He would like to increase ewe numbers but recognises that limited land availability in Northern Ireland could limit this.
Alexander says: “I applied for this programme to hopefully get the chance to travel and see how other farming systems operate, in the hope that I will be able to bring new ideas home to the family farm. I am looking forward to meeting other like-minded people and learning more about the UK sheep industry and am very much looking forward to getting started.”
Beth Phalp (26) North Yorkshire
Beth’s enthusiasm for the UK sheep industry bubbled over in her interview to join the ambassador progamme this year, stating that her passion for sheep started from a young age.
Now, Beth farms on the border of the North Yorkshire moors with her parents, running a mixed farm, primarily tenanted. Beth is reponsible for the 500 breeding ewe flock on the farm and has ambition to expand the enterprise further in the next five years. She hopes involvement with NSA and the Next Generation programme will help her do this. She says: “I hope involvement with the scheme will help me improve my knowledge but also will allow me to be involved in the future of sheep farming and the work the sector faces to promote and protect our country’s fantastic sheep farmers.”
Beth adds; “I am a firm believer in if you want to do something enough and are passionate about the subject you will always find the time and succeed. I am delighted and grateful to have been chosen as an Next Generation ambassador and am looking forward to meeting the other ambassadors and getting started on the programme.”
Cameron Farnan (25) Suffolk
Working as a full time shepherd for a previous NSA Next Generation Ambassador Cameron is already well versed on the many benefits and networking opportunities the programme can deliver describing the chance to join the scheme as a way of /broadening his horizons’.
Shepherding 1000 organic breeding ewes on a contract agreement, running 500 NZ Romney ewes and finishing 1500 winter store lambs should definitely be enough to keep Cameron busy but on top of this he also shears around 3000 sheep per year and has his own mixed flock of pedigree Charollais, Border Leicester and Ryeland ewes, selling lamb at local farmers’ markets.
His ambition to continue to improve all aspects of his work impressed the interview panel. Cameron says; “I'm delighted to be accepted on to the programme and hope that the programme will provide networking opportunities that will help progress my career, as well as developing new friendships with like minded individuals.”
Clover Crosse (24) Wiltshire
The NSA Next Generation Ambassador interview panel was pleased to welcome back Clover to the group again this year after she was part of the group so adversely affected by Covid-19 in 2020 and 2021.
Once again Clover’s enthusiasm for continually developing her own skills and experience in the sector were clear during the interview process this time.
Since joining the programme in 2020 Clover has achieved her aim of integrating sheep onto the arable farm where she works. She now manages the 350 Romney shearling ewes grazing the system’s cover crops alongside the arable work and completes lambing for a neighbouring farm.
Explaining her reason for applying again, she says: “I have already gained so much from the programme but am reapplying as I feel like I have so much more to gain and also to give back to NSA.”
Sophie Wernham (28) Hampshire
Working as an employed shepherd on a family farm in Berkshire Sophie’s enthusiasm for implementing ideas to continually improve the flock has seen the system grow from 600 to 1600 North Country Mules during her employment. This interest in learning more for her own and the sheep enterprise’s benefit is what led Sophie to apply for the Ambassador programme this year.
In addition to the responsibility she has with the farm’s sheep flock Sophie also runs her own small flock of pedigree Hampshire Down ewes that she aims to start showing in the near future.
As a NSA Next Generation Ambassador Sophie says she is hoping to meet likeminded people who are keen to share experiences and ideas, whilst also sharing her own knowledge with the group. She adds: “I'm really looking forward to being part of the ambassador group this year. It will be a great experience meeting people who are as passionate about sheep farming as I am, as well as learning more about different aspects of the industry.”
Katie Evans (25) Norfolk
Sheep farming is most definitely a family affair for Katie who works alongside her parents and siblings on the enterprise’s three separate sheep flocks. Katie herself manages a flock of 600 performance recorded pedigree Lleyn producing finished and breeding stock for sale. The farm also runs 800 crossbred ewes and 700 Hebrideans that graze heathland as part of a native breed scheme.
In addition to work at home Katie’s ambition has seen her recently go self employed offering contract shepherding in her local area, something she hopes to increase over the next five years.
Katie is already an active member of various sheep groups recognising their importance for learning and networking opportunities so is excited to now join the Next Generation ambassador programme. She comments: “I am very grateful for this opportunity and looking forward to seeing what we can achieve as a group. In order to combat future challenges it is important the next generation work together which is why I think the NSA ambassador programme is so important”.
Ed Brant (26) Lincolnshire
Having spent time working in the industry as a sheep breeding consultant Ed’s desire to see his own family farm’s sheep enterprise move forward has driven his return to full time work at home.
Ed now runs 400 ewes plus replacements, a mixture of maternal Lleyns ewes and a terminal flock of Hampshire Downs. His background means he is part of performance recording projects providing him with comparative results from which he can make decisions and improvements to the family’s system.
But Ed is insistent there is still a lot for him to learn about the sheep sector. He recognises his strength lies in his genetics knowledge but says he is looking forward to learning more through the ambassador programme.
On joining the programme Ed says: “I am thrilled to have been selected and can't wait to get started at the first session. I am looking forward to meeting and learning from the sessions and also to start a more active relationship with NSA. I think it is important to get off farm to meet and learn from others in the industry, and this programme offers a unique opportunity for this.”
Harriet Tibbs (28) Somerset
Contract lambing across South West England and further afield Harriet was encouraged to apply for the programme by several previous ambassadors she has met who recommended it for its learning and networking opportunities.
As well as lambing work Harriet has her own flock of pedigree Beltex and is also a registered SQP with a keen interest in the responsible use of anthelmintics and sheep health and welfare.
Harriet says she is excited to have been selected as an ambassador and as a female new entrant to the sector she hopes the scheme, as well as helping her grow her knowledge will also give her chance to promote women’s role in agriculture. She says: “We are already seeing a shift in the way female farmers are viewed and there are some great role models in the sector now. This is something I am keen to support and see grow. I’d also love to be an example showing that you don’t have to be from a farming family to be able to make a career and life in the sector”
Michael Burley (26) Rhondda
Another new entrant joining the programme this year, Michael has high ambitions. He currently works as an employed head shepherd running 800 ewes, including 140 of his own, on an upland sheep and beef farm in the Rhondda valleys of South Wales but is keen to one day secure a medium to long term farm business tenancy to become a first generation, full-time farmer in his own right.
Michael has implemented several new approached to the running of the sheep flock and hopes the ambassador programme will help him build on his knowledge and experience to help him with this further. He says: I applied to be a part of the NSA Next generation ambassador group as after graduating university I have found the opportunity for further learning from industry experts to be less easy to access. I want to continue to develop my knowledge, skills and become more involved within the sheep sector to help those from non-farming backgrounds progress within the industry.”
Karyn McArthur (28) Aberdeenshire
Varied interests and involvement within the sheep sector, Karyn says, makes her very open minded meaning she recognises there is not a ‘one size fits all’ way of farming. With this in mind she applied to join the Ambassador programme to allow her to challenge herself to dive deeper into learning more about the wider sheep industry.
Karyn currently splits her time between working for a sheep breeding company, assisting with her family’s flock of 800 Scottish Blackface and Scotch Mule ewes and her own small flock of pedigree Bluefaced Leicesters. She also enjoys spending time training her team of sheepdogs.
She comments; “I can't wait to learn from a great network of sheep farmers that I hope to meet as part of the programme. I hope that the knowledge gained will push me in the right direction to further improve the success of my sheep enterprise.”