NSA announces annual outstanding contribution award

9th January 2015

The National Sheep Association (NSA) has announced David Croston MBE as the winner of the 2014 George Hedley Memorial Award for outstanding contribution to the sheep industry.

David dedicated his career to supporting sheep farming businesses, and continued this past his retirement when he became an NSA office holder, making him a very worthy winner of this highly prized accolade.

On announcing the winner, NSA Chairman John Geldard says: “David Croston’s service to agriculture is well-documented, and his support for NSA in particular has been enormously appreciated. The award has been extremely well earned and richly deserved.

“That David has achieved so much for the sheep sector without ever farming himself goes to show the breadth of opportunities available in agriculture.”

Over a career spanning four decades, David Croston has worked to advance almost every area of the sheep sector, from breeding programmes to export markets. He joined the Meat and Livestock Commission (MLC) in 1970, taking responsibility for the individual ewe recording schemes, later known as Sheepbreeder, and the creation of Sire Reference Schemes.

David moved on to roles within MLC as Chief Sheep Advisor and Sheep Strategy Manager, before transferring to the Commission’s Export Marketing Department and eventually taking over the Export Department in March 1996. In January 1998 he was appointed Head of Sheep Strategy at MLC and in 2003 became Chief Executive of Eblex. While at the levy board he drew up the proposals for the Better Returns knowledge transfer programme.

Following his retirement in 2005 David became involved with NSA, playing a key role in the running of NSA events and using his industry experience to help steer the organisation through a period of reform. In 2010 he became NSA Honorary Treasurer, a post he held for five years before stepping down from the role in June 2014. David’s 1985 book collaboration, Planned Sheep Production, remains a staple of students’ reading lists.

Notes to editors:-

  • NSA has presented the George Hedley Memorial Award annually since 1960. It is given to honour the memory of George Hedley, a highly respected farmer from the Scottish borders who was involved with the NSA (then the National Sheep Breeders Association) for many years. It was while he was Chairman of NSBA, travelling to a Council meeting in London on 26th January 1960, that he was tragically killed in a car accident.
  • David Croston is the 2014 winner; nominations for the 2015 recipient will be invited later in the year.
  • Each person who receives the NSA George Hedley Memorial Award is given a specially sculptured statuette of a South Country Cheviot sheep mounted on a plinth carrying the name of the recipient and the words ‘For outstanding service to the sheep industry’. Recipients are also made Honorary Life Members of the National Sheep Association.
  • David will be formally presented with the award at NSA North Sheep on Wednesday 3rd June, when photographs will be made available. A head shot of David is available from NSA in the meantime. To request a picture or for further information please contact Joanne Briggs, NSA Communications Manager, on 07807 237982 or joanne@nationalsheep.org.uk.
  • 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