A key sheep sector event that was cancelled due to the ongoing Covid-19 crisis is now set to go virtual over two days next month.
A summer of celebration was planned for the National Sheep Association (NSA) in 2020 to celebrate 40 years at its home on the Three Counties Showground, near Malvern, Worcestershire.
However, due to the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak, the event has been put on ice until larger gatherings are once again permitted.
Nevertheless, NSA has decided to proceed with aspects of the NSA Sheep event, with a series of two day virtual events starting in August.
NSA chief executive, Phil Stocker said the organisation was 'incredibly disappointed' to cancel its flagship event this summer.
However, he said: "As work progresses on bringing a new virtual event, our team at head office as well as the extended NSA organisation is excited to see how our members and others will engage with our series of virtual events."
The ‘Virtual celebration of sheep farming’ will provide farmers with the opportunity to log in to a new NSA website for the series of events.
Sheep producers will be able to join webinars and workshops, browse interactive videos from trade and breed society stands and enter competitions.
To host the events a new NSA website was launched in June, allowing exhibitors to apply to be part of the series of events and enabling visitors to pre-register to attend and also to register for the planned series of webinars.
Each event is themed to allow a focus to be made that is relevant to the season and the tasks that farmers might be undertaking or policy that could be affecting the sector.
The series will be kicked off with the first event titled ‘Breeding the best’ on Wednesday 12 and Thursday 13 August,.
The theme will allow NSA affiliated breed societies the opportunity to share information at a time when many farmers will be considering their plans for the upcoming breeding season.
Advice and guidance will also be delivered by a webinar timetable, with free registration for each webinar available in advance and on the two days of the events.
The opportunity to view new products and demonstrations is an event highlight and this will still be available with trade stand exhibitors delivering information through their own dedicated area of the website.
NSA sheep event organiser, Helen Roberts said: "The NSA Sheep Event is seen as a business to business event, offering sheep farmers the opportunity to visit a show that is completely focussed on sheep and shepherding.
"This will not be forgotten at our virtual event with our overall aim to provide sheep farmers with advice that can really help with development of their flocks, whether that is in the form of a webinar or through a trade stand exhibitor launching and demonstrating a new innovative product.”
Visitors will be able to participate in a series of competitions that can be entered before and during the event that will give them a chance to win an array of prizes.
They will include a fleece competition managed by British Wool, a photography competition, carcase competition and breed society stand contests.