NSA and Woodland Trust united in encouraging integration of trees within sheep farms

18th July 2018

The National Sheep Association (NSA) and Woodland Trust today launch a new booklet highlighting the role of trees in sheep farming. The handy guide provides practical tips for farmers and land managers, and outlines the key policy needs to support tree planting in the future.

The release of the new booklet at today’s NSA Sheep Event in Malvern, Worcestershire, comes at a key time, as links between farming and the environment are being increasingly scrutinised and important discussions are on-going about paying farmers for provision of public goods post-Brexit. The booklet therefore offers valuable advice and guidance on the integration of trees onto sheep farms and its associated benefits for the health and welfare of the sheep flock, the surrounding ecosystem and the wider environment.

Phil Stocker, NSA Chief Executive, says: “In the right situation and location, trees can be a win-win-win for farmers, the environment and society. Farmers can site trees to advantage their flocks while providing a whole range of wider benefits. These so-called public goods are the kind of things that sheep farmers provide for the environment and society on a daily basis and should be paid for because the marketplace does not recognise them. We’re taking about air and soil quality, wildlife and ecosystem enhancement, landscape management and sustenance of rural communities.”

Helen Chesshire, Woodland Trust Senior Farming Advisor, says: “Sheep farming throughout the UK has a critical role in the delivery of a new sustainable land management policy that delivers for our landscapes, countryside and producers. Agroforestry is an attractive proposition for many farmers because of the huge benefits trees have on flock health and performance. Trees can also improve soil quality and, depending on the type of trees planted, they can also provide an additional source of income. The benefits an incredibly wide ranging or sheep and the environment.”

The new booklet includes detailed information on the implementation of trees onto farmland and recent research by the Woodland Trust, supported by Bangor University. Case studies are also included from farmers from all nations of the UK, giving information on how the addition of an increased number of trees and hedgerows to their own farms have seen benefits such as improved shelter for livestock and flood prevention.

Case studies are included from:-

  • Jimmy and Graeme Sinclair – reducing flooding in Midlothian, Scotland
  • Thomas Gibson – providing shelter at lambing time in Ballymena, Northern Ireland
  • Jonathan Francis – enhancing flock health and field drainage in Powys, Wales
  • Paul and Nic Renison – providing mob grazing and wildlife shelter in Cumbria, England

Download a copy of the booklet here.

Notes to editors:-

  • For more information on NSA contact Katie James, NSA Communication Officer, on  07807 237982 or [email protected]
  • The National Sheep Association is an organisation that represents the views and interests of sheep producers throughout the UK. It is funded by its membership of sheep farmers and its activities involve it in every aspect of the sheep industry. More at www.nationalsheep.org.uk and www.nsanextgeneration.org.uk.
  • For further information on Woodland Trust contact Dee Smith in the Woodland Trust press office on 01476 581121 or email [email protected]
  • The Woodland Trust is the largest woodland conservation charity in the UK. It has over 500,000 supporters. It wants to see a UK rich in native woods and trees for people and wildlife.