Back to basics for sheep sector

Despite the multitude of issues facing the sector, the National Sheep Association (NSA) has promised to ‘get back to basics’ in 2022 – with a focus on the sheep farmers and shepherds.

Phil Stocker, chief executive of the National Sheep Association
Phil Stocker, chief executive of the National Sheep Association

Laying out the organisation’s priorities for the year, the association’s chief executive Phil Stocker said that while the year was likely to hold many real challenges and opportunities, it was keen to place the emphasis on the role the farmer had to play.

"NSA will, of course, continue to work in all topics relating to sheep farming in 2022, but I feel strongly that the coming year needs a focus on sheep farmers themselves,” said Mr Stocker.

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He added that the sector and those involved in it were the lifeblood, not just of the sheep industry, but also of the whole rural and livestock farming communities.

“NSA is committed to putting people at the centre of all it does,” he said, “sheep farmers, shepherds, and new entrants in their many guises.

"We are still lacking a vision from the Government and other leadership bodies, but my vision is that we want more people involved in sheep farming at the end of this year, not less.

Mr Stocker also stated that he wanted to maintain the number of people working in the sector and to see it continue to provide an accessible first step on the farming ladder for young people and new entrants.

He said: “Our market structures and policies need to recognise the value of a very 'human' sector of farming with a high level of independence.

"To lose our social capital would be a massive own goal.”

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