Ten Leading Industry Figures to Address Seminars at NSA Scotsheep 2014

4th May 2014

Ten leading figures in Scottish agriculture will be addressing major issues facing the sheep industry in three seminars at NSA Scotsheep 2014, at Quixwood, Grantshouse, Berwickshire, on Wednesday, June 4.

Scotland’s biennial national sheep event is being organised by the Scottish Region of the National Sheep Association with Bank of Scotland as major sponsor and hosted by farmers, John and Iain Macfarlane.

The hour-long seminars will start at 11.00am following the official opening ceremony at 10.00am which will be conducted by the Duke of Montrose, Hon President of the National Sheep Association.

The first seminar will be of vital interest to all sheep farmers who are currently anxiously awaiting the outcome of ongoing negotiations on the implementation of the Brussels CAP agreement, particularly in relation to support for farmers in Scotland’s extensive Rough Grazing Region (RGR).

Adopting the theme “CAP reform, new rules and what this will mean for sheep farmers”, the session will be chaired by NSA Scotland chairman, Sybil MacPherson, and addressed by Drew Sloan, the Scottish Government official responsible for agriculture and rural delivery, Douglas Bell, senior agricultural policy consultant with SRUC, and East Lothian sheep farmer, John Hamilton, Thurston Mains, Dunbar.

The second seminar at 1.00pm will cover the important topic of “Animal health and nutrition for optimum performance of breeding ewes”. This session will be chaired by Sandy Hay, head of agriculture with Bank of Scotland and the speakers will be the Scottish Government’s chief veterinary officer, Sheila Voas, the chief executive of the Moredun Foundation, Prof Julie Fitzpatrick, vet, Kath Dun, of the Merlin Veterinary Group in Berwickshire, and Willie Thomson, technical director with animal feed specialists, Harbro Ltd.

This will be followed at 2.15pm by the final seminar on the marketing theme, “New options for increasing the consumption of Scotch lamb at home and abroad”, which will be chaired by George Milne, development officer with NSA Scotland. The speakers will be Jim McLaren, chairman of Quality Meat Scotland, Robbie Galloway, chief executive of Bridge of Allan meat processors, Scotbeef, and Steve McLean, head of agriculture and fisheries with Marks and Spencer.

NSA Scotsheep chairman, David Leggat, executive chairman of United Auctions, said he was delighted that so many recognised experts in their particular fields had agreed to take part in the seminar programme.

“The sheep industry, like all of Scottish agriculture, is at a crossroads and the outcome of current CAP negotiations will be of crucial importance to all farmers as it will shape the industry for the next six years,” said Mr Leggat.

“The seminar programme will address three of the most important issues for sheep farmers and will help point the way for the future.”

NSA Scotsheep 2014 is set to attract thousands of sheep farmers from across Scotland and the North of England, and from further afield, and will the biggest ever with 200 trade stands including live exhibits by 33 sheep breed societies and 7 individual breeders.

There will be an opportunity to tour the host farm, which is a typical Borders upland farm extending to a total of 2500 acres and carrying a flock of 1500 ewes and 70 suckler cows.

Other features of the all-day event will include an inter-region sheep shearing competition, invitation sheepdog trial, stockjudging, practical and technical demonstrations, advisory and educational exhibits.

The event will also host the finals of the Scottish Young Shepherd of the Year competition and the day will end with an auction sale of breeding ewe hoggs which is a first for NSA Scotsheep.