NSA Members Update - 1st March 2013

By Suffolk Sheep Society 5th March, 2013

Fluke and CAP reform dominate NSA UK Policy and Technical meeting, Horsemeat dominates NFU conference, NSA Scotland's George Milne challenges Secretary of State for Scotland, Wool takes over London, Future plans for Mutton Renaissance and Emergency authorisation granted for bracken control.

Fluke and CAP reform dominate NSA UK Policy and Technical meeting.

Tuesday this week (26th February) saw the NSA UK Policy and Technical Committee, which meets four times a year to discuss key policy areas, gather in London. There was an extensive agenda but the two items drawing passionate comment from our English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish representatives were liver fluke and Defra’s attitude to CAP reform. There was real strength of feeling about the damage caused by liver fluke and the lack of understanding about the different products available – and specifically that triclabendazole products are the only ones that kill immature fluke but care needs to be take not to cause resistance to the drug. As always, NSA recommends members visit www.scops.org.uk, but we are also working in a number of other areas to ensure the need for new tools is fully appreciated by the wider industry.

 Frustrations around CAP reform was also voiced and specifically that Defra and Owen Paterson are still calling for smaller budgets and increased modulation despite opposition from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and every single farming stakeholder group. Ideas were discussed to keep up NSA pressure in this area.

 Horsemeat dominates NFU conference.

NSA Chief Executive Phil Stocker and NSA Chairman John Geldard both attended the NFU conference on Wednesday and Thursday (27th and 28th February) and noted the number of commitments to build sustainable transparent and trusting supply chain relationships, as a result of the horsemeat scandal. The silver-lining in the black cloud of the horsemeat situation is surely the opportunities to come out of it, and the important thing will be taking advantage of promises from retailers and trying to make sure it is not just a short-term scare that disappears quickly with everyone falling back into the same old mode.

On CAP, Phil reports: “Owen Paterson reiterated his committed to reduced CAP budgets and modulation and was seemingly blind to the real situation. He does not seem to grasp that virtually no livestock farms would be viable without Pillar One (Single Farm Payment) and Pillar Two (RDP and agri-environment schemes) and how he thinks they can get that viability from the market is baffling. In some ways his drive and determination is valuable to us, but in others not helpful at all. At least there is more talk of LFA farmers being better recognised, with increasing acknowledgement of the special public goods they provide and the fact there needs to be better ways of rewarding them.”

NSA Scotland’s George Milne challenges Secretary of State for Scotland.

Last week saw NSA Scotland Regional Development Officer George Milne spent the day with Michael Moore MP, Secretary of State for Scotland, visiting a family-ran upland farm in Perthshire. Mr Moore heard about the challenge facing the sheep sector (including distribution of levy money throughout the UK) from NSA Scotland, NFUS and QMS. George also specifically raised the issue of having to split older carcases and gave Mr Moore a copy of the NSA report “The complementary role of sheep in Less Favoured Areas”.

 Wool takes over London.

A wonderful sight will be hitting later this month with the Campaign for Wool set to transform Somerset House in central London into ‘Wool House’ to show all the different ways wool can be used for home furnishings, fashion and top-notch design projects. NSA is supporting the project by sourcing live sheep for visitors to see alongside the wool exhibits, and hopes the showcase will turn increase awareness of the sheep and wool sectors. If you happen to be visiting London on 13th-24th March (sheep present 14th-16th) please come and see us – admission is completely free of charge between 10am and 6pm.

VOLUNTEER NEEDED: Given we are taking sheep into the centre of London, the exhibition at Wool House on 14th-16th March will require people familiar with sheep to be present the entire time – not only to watch the sheep but also answer all the questions visitors will have about sheep farming. We particularly need a volunteer for Saturday 16th March and will pay all travel costs and related expenses for them to get to London for the day (10am-6pm). If you would like to help out, or know someone who would, please email joanne@nationalsheep.org.uk ASAP.

 Future plans for Mutton Renaissance.

Also during the week of ‘Wool House’, a Mutton Renaissance day is being held on Monday 18th March at the Innholders Hall, 30 College Street, London, EC4R 2RH. The event will be looking at ways forward for the Mutton Renaissance and will include a review and discussion of the research programme carried out into the operation of the mutton supply line by England Marketing. There will also be an excellent lunch under the direction of Herbert Berger, a member of the Academy of Culinary Arts. Pre-booking is essential – call 01684 899255 or email magsbarrow@pastral.org.

Emergency authorisation granted for bracken control.

Confirmation came on Wednesday (27th February) that Asulam products will be permitted for use this summer, under emergency authorisation permits. Authorisation will have to be sought each year and in 2013 can be issued from 20th May, for spraying from 1st July to 16th September. Anyone wishing to seek authorisation should contact their local asulam distributor; more information can be found at www.brackencontrol.co.uk.

NSA EVENTS DIARY(all 2013 NSA events, including next year’s ram sales can be found by clicking here)


NSA Scotland AGM and Dinner: Saturday 2nd March at Dunblane Hydro, Stirling – 4pmfor the AGM, 7pm for the Dinner. Tickets (£30+VAT) available from Caroline Orr on 07966 590251 or carolineorr1@hotmail.co.uk.


NSA Welsh Sheep: Tuesday 21st May at Beili Ficer Farm, Llansawel, Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire, SA19 7JT. More information here.


NSA Highland Sheep: Thursday 30th May at Dingwall Mart, Dingwall, Ross-shire, IV15 9TP. More information here.


NSA North Sheep: Wednesday 5th June at Crimple Head Farm, Beckwithshaw, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG3 1QT. More information here.


NSA Sheep South West: Tuesday 11th June at Moortown Barton, Knowstone, South Molton, Devon, EX36 4RZ. More information here.


NSA Sheep Northern Ireland: Monday 1st July at Ballymena Market,Woodside Road, Ballymena, County Antrim, BT42 4HX. Email Edward Adamson for more information by clicking here.


Sheep Breeders Round Table:Friday 1st – Sunday 3rd November at Eastwood Hall, Nottingham. More information available later in the year.


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