Welcoming thousands of visitors from across Wales and all corners of the UK to see the latest innovations, to learn a little, to do business and simply to get together in the welcome spring sunshine, the National Sheep Association’s NSA Welsh Sheep event held yesterday (Tuesday 16th May), was a resounding success.
The opening ceremony was distinguished by a musical rendition from Glandon Lewis, singing in Welsh in honour of the late Dai Jones Llanilar, a popular face amongst the Welsh farming community who sadly passed away last year.
NSA Cymru / Wales Region Chair Kate Hovers enjoyed the successful event held at Red House farm, Aberhafesp, near Newtown. She says: “It’s been a perfect day. The event has been full of exhibitors and sponsors. The farm is fantastic, the grazing and stock are exceptional. The weather has been kind to us and Glandon’s singing at the opening ceremony was something to remember.
“There was something for everyone and the visitors were coming in all day. We had a large number of school parties and it was such a good opportunity to get the positive farming message across.”
Kate paid tribute to the hosts, Hugh and Sioned Owen with their son Dafydd, for the work they had put in to all the preparation, ‘with always a smile on their faces’. She said Red House Farm had been a perfect venue. Her thanks also went to all the sponsors, exhibitors and everyone who had made the event possible.
Sioned Owen said it had been ‘a fabulous day, everything had gone to plan and the weather had been a huge help’. They were overwhelmed by the turnout and even a cow unexpectedly calving in the field alongside the event had gone well, producing a fine Belgian Blue x Limousin heifer calf.
Organiser Helen Roberts agreed: “It’s been an absolutely fantastic day, with the crowd and the weather. Everyone has enjoyed meeting and greeting after the long hard winter.”
NSA Chairman Dan Phipps praised the ‘tremendous amount of work that had gone into setting up the spectacular event’.
Opening NSA Welsh Sheep, Glandon Lewis, a partner in Welsh Livestock Sales, said he was proud to represent the Livestock Auctioneers Association, as well as his fellow partners at Morris Marshall &Poole with Norman Lloyd. Referring to the beauty of our farmed environment, he made a call to those in power to protect the farming sectors, saying: “If we want to keep this beauty, will the politicians in the Senedd in Cardiff and in Westminster please respect and protect our farming industry and support with encouragement our younger generation who are entering the industry.
“We do not want this beauty to be turned into a wildlife park. We are the guardians of the land, but we are also the gardeners of the land producing food of the highest quality with passion to feed our nation.”
Mr Lewis stressed the livestock market has a very important place to claim in rural life. It is a social hub as well as a trading place, similar to a public house, rugby club, chapel or church where people can gather, talk and discuss life in general. It also generated competition for stock and would protect the younger generation going forward.
As a popular attraction at the event, the seminar tent drew full audiences throughout the day discussing topical issues. The first session of the day, ‘Food for Thought’, examined the role of lamb and mutton in a balanced diet, exploring the facts dispelling the myths around eating meat and how predominantly grass fed lamb and mutton can fit the healthy eating message.
The second seminar focussed on the sustainability of sheep farming discussed how Welsh farming had the chance to influence the future by evidencing and communicating the position. The key message coming from the seminar was that sheep farming not only produces high quality food, but fits with other interests around land management such as carbon sequestration, the need to reduce emissions, nature recovery and providing access and well being.
The final session of the day highlighted the need to look after the next generation of farmers, stressing that enthusiastic and bright young farmers need security and support as well as the potential for viable and rewarding businesses and careers. It considered the further steps needed to further grow a positive recognition of sheep farmers.
A wide range of competitions entertained the crowds at the event with a particular highlight being the NSA Next Generation Shepherd competition. Taking the title of the NSA Cymru / Wales Region Next Generation Shepherd was Mena Protheroe (pictured right), who studies at Llysfasai College, North Wales. Maea will now go on to represent Wales in the national finals of the competition at NSA Sheep Event, held next July 2024 in Worcestershire.
1st British Texel Sheep Society.
2nd North Country Cheviot Sheep Society.
3rd Welsh Hill Speckled Face Sheep Society.
1st Logie Durno Sheep, Inverurie.
3rd Shearwell Data Ltd.
1st Newtown College.
2nd Charlies Stores/Charlies AG & Turf.
3rd Ryan Martin Ltd.
1st Welsh Mule Sheep Breeders’ Association.
2nd Cheviot Sheep Society.
3rd Valais Blacknose Society.
1st Mena Protheroe, Llysfasai College, North Wales.
2nd Gethin Rhys Roberts, Tan-Yr-Allt Farm, Llanfachraeth, Holyhead.
3rd Jamie Farmer, Groesvaen, Painscastle, Builth Wells, Powys.
Highest placed under 21 - Mena Protheroe, Llysfasai College, North Wales.
Organiser contact details:
National Sheep Association Cymru/Wales Region
Orseddwen, Selattyn, Oswestry, SY10 7HU
Tele 01691 654712 Mobile 07976 803066