SHARE farming, sheep exports, sustainability and health issues will be discussed at the National Sheep Association (NSA) North Sheep event.

An impressive line-up of speakers are featured for this year’s seminar programme at the event on Wednesday, June 5 at New Hall Farm in Settle, North Yorkshire.

Key representatives from the sheep industry will discuss issues that play a vital role in future sheep farming sustainability.

Eddie Eastham, chairman of the NSA policy and technical committee, who farms on the outskirts of Carlisle, is also chairing the sheep health and welfare seminar.

He said: “The themes have been specially chosen as we feel they are relevant at the current time.

“Our aim is to keep our farmers up to date, and our speakers will all have the latest in-depth information on the areas which they represent.

“Those on the sheep exports panel are involved at the sharp end. As we cannot foresee what the position will be, hopefully, by June there will be some clarification one way or the other and they will update dates to us.

“The ‘Future of the Environmental Schemes’ is part of the Agricultural Bill, and although we know the outline, we do not know the details. So this seminar, with a panel of people from different backgrounds, will look into that and how further programmes will develop.

“Sheep health and welfare is, of course, ongoing, and we want to reiterate the importance of this.

“Here in the UK, we already adhere to welfare standards. If you look at the outline of the Agricultural Bill, it doesn’t feature food, and it is up to organisations such as ours to lobby and develop these schemes to secure as much money as possible onto farms in the future.”

Kicking off proceedings, Robyn Peat and Simon Britton, of George F White, will present on the topics of share farming and obtaining tenancies. As many sheep farmers look to de-risk their business by improving economies of scale, this seminar promises to help them expand their businesses.

This will be followed by a seminar on exports, chaired by Cumbrian sheep farmer, John Geldard. The panel of qualified industry representatives include Phil Hadley, international market development director at AHDB; Mike Gooding, director at Farmers Fresh, a farmer-owned abattoir supplying lamb carcasses and cuts to European customers since 2000; and Rizvan Khalid, managing director of Euro Quality Lambs.

The ‘Future for Environment Land Management Schemes’ will be the next issue for discussion, chaired by Phil Stocker, chief executive of the NSA, and including presentations from Adrian Shepherd, from the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority; Julia Aglionby, from the Foundation for Common Land; Thomas Binns, NFU uplands chairman; and James Le Page, a senior civil servant at Defra.

The final seminar will look at how sheep health and welfare helps the industry. The panel of experts consists of Christine Middlemiss, Defra chief vet; Fiona Lovat, a highly respected and experienced sheep vet; Sarah Baker, AHDB strategic insight manager; and Robin Manning, who has worked as an agricultural policy expert at the European Commission and is now part of Defra’s ‘future farming land use team’.