NSA chairman Samuel Wharry has died suddenly - aged 56.
Mr Wharry was well-known for his influence in promoting the NSA presence in Northern Ireland and was very passionate about helping youngsters into the industry.
He began representing NSA Northern Ireland as a Trustee of the UK wide association in 2012 before leading the organisation as chairman in 2015.
Tributes poured in for the County Antrim sheep farmer, who died last Friday (May 5).
NSA chief executive Phil Stocker said: “It is difficult to believe we have lost such a truly valued friend and colleague.
“Sam was such a strong, capable and enthusiastic individual who gave us all so much, something he would have continued to do long into the future if he had been able to.
“My thoughts, and those of NSA, go out to his family at this unbearable time.”
Mr Wharry, with help from his younger business partner, also contributed towards maternal line research and various breeding initiatives as a co-researcher and partner farm with AFBI, Hillsborough.
He also kept a flock of purebred Scottish Blackface and opened up his home and business into a farm sharing agreement.
The NSA board of Trustees added: “Samuel was a thoroughly decent gentleman and to say he will be missed is very much an understatement.
“He was not only an exceptional NSA chairman, but a fantastic ambassador for the UK sheep industry.
“His loss is a great one, to his family and friends, business partner and all of his associates through the sheep world. He will be sorely missed.”