Young sheep farmers urged to join development scheme

An opportunity has returned for young sheep farmers to join an industry development programme
An opportunity has returned for young sheep farmers to join an industry development programme

The National Sheep Association (NSA) is searching for a new group of young sheep farmers who want to further their development within the sector.

The Next Generation Ambassador programme, now in its seventh year, offers farmers aged 18-34 a series of technical and personal development sessions.

The sessions are aimed to further their experience and understanding of the UK sheep industry, the NSA explains.

As well as providing the chance to visit varied sheep farming systems and parts of the supply chain, the programme delivers networking opportunities.

Young farmers are also given the chance to meet with industry experts and leaders, the NSA says, with the scheme opening doors to new opportunities.

Young shepherds from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are being urged to apply for their chance to become one of 12 ambassadors.

An NSA spokesman said: “The online application is a simple process. Interested parties will have to share some information about their own shepherding experience and their hopes for their futures in the UK sheep industry.

"We hope to attract a varied group of young sheep farmers; whether you are a first-generation farmer, someone who hopes to one take on their family farm or just starting out in your career.

"We are excited to see what you can offer as an NSA Next Generation ambassador, and we are proud of the opportunity that we can provide you and other keen young sheep farmers.”

Jacob Anthony, a sheep farmer from South Wales who was an ambassador in 2016, called his time on the programme 'invaluable'.

"I learnt an awful lot that I was able to implement back at home on our family farm in South Wales," he added.

"Not only did I learn a lot I met l made some lifelong friends and like-minded individuals from the length and breadth of the UK.

"Another thing I valued about my time was the fact I learnt what NSA does for us as sheep farmers by engaging with decision-makers and the public on our behalf."

He added: "If you are thinking about applying to be an Next Generation Ambassador I can’t recommend it enough, I gained much by being a part of it.”

Applications opened online earlier this month on the NSA Next Generation website and will close on Friday 10 December.

Applications will then be shortlisted by NSA regional representatives before online interviews take place in early January 2022.

The programme will commence in February and will require successful applicants to commit to spending around 12 nights away from home during the year.