Your guide to the biennial NSA Sheep Event, which will take place on Wednesday 27th July in Worcestershire.
A function of this year’s NSA Sheep Event will be reconciling views and bringing people together in order to prepare for a new political future.
Phil Stocker, NSA chief executive, says: “The UK sheep industry is wonderfully varied and diverse, with large-, medium- and small-scale commercial flocks, pedigree breeders, full-time and part-time producers. We produce nutritious food and sustainable fibre, all largely from grass and at the same time as providing a highly valued countryside which supports wildlife and many characters which make this life richer.”
Mr Stocker predicts everyone at the event will be asking what our future holds – better or worse? “It may be down to us. We have work to do maintaining and building new markets and trade. Our farm support system will change and come under pressure, but if we get it right it could be simpler and more UK-suited.
“Red tape is probably why many farmers voted to leave and, while I do not think for a minute we will sweep regulations away, maybe the chance is there to reduce them. Politicians will need to be reminded of their promises and we will need to be vocal and on the front foot. Agriculture and food did not feature much before the referendum, but it provides 3.5 million jobs and accounts for 7 per cent of the national economy.”
The theme of NSA Sheep 2016 is ‘adding value’, which Mr Stocker says could not be more relevant following the Brexit decision.
“We should be careful not to talk down the opportunity of farm payments, but I am not alone in thinking we should be preparing for the worst post-2020 and, either way, clearly justifying the rationale for payments. Adding value to everything we do will become more and more important and, for most, it will be about small improvements in all quarters.“
Investing wisely will continue to help in the future. So too will testing and monitoring, understanding what you need to invest in and analysing its effect on your profitability.”