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Aspiring young shepherds and young people with a passion for the sheep sector are invited to NSA’s open event later this month, on Friday, November 18, 10am-3.45pm at Stratford Livestock Market, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, by kind permission of Bletsoes.

Now in its fourth year, the event is being held completely free of charge as part of the NSA Next Generation project. The day will begin with an introduction from four young shepherds (pictured) who’ve each taken a different path into sheep farming, from working on a family farm, establishing a share farming agreement to starting out as a self-employed shepherd and running a flock without any owned land.

This will be followed by six practical sessions, each run by an expert in that area covering six topics:-

• Keeping sheep healthy

• Making the most of performance recording

• Practical sheep handling

• Reporting and recording sheep movements

• Getting your hands on land!

• Keeping track of profitability

Joanne Briggs, NSA Communications Manager, says: “This one-day event is designed to be an informal and enjoyable experience for any keen individual with an involvement or interest in the sheep sector. Sessions will focus on practical skills designed to help everyone from those beginning to carve out a career in the sector, to those looking at taking on more responsibility within an established business.

“Sessions will be conducted in small groups, so young people can expect plenty of opportunity to ask specific questions relating to their career or businesses at home throughout the day. It will be a fantastic opportunity for individuals to meet like-minded individuals, share experiences and increase knowledge and confidence.”

Cumbrian shepherd Hannah Jackson, one of the four young shepherds introducing the day, says she is looking forward to the chance to meet and mingle with so many like-minded young people involved in the sheep sector.

Hannah says: “I started farming nearly four years ago after I finished a degree in Animal Behaviour. My original idea was then to further my education, and I’d planned to do a Masters in Marine Biology. However, in spring 2013 I witnessed a lamb being born in the Lake District and from then on I suppose the rest is history. It’s been an amazing journey so far and I think it’s important to share that with other people. If my experiences are enough inspire others in some way, that can only be a good thing.”

The event, running from 10am to 3.45pm, is free to attend but pre-booking is essential at www.nsanextgeneration.org.uk/event.