National Sheep Association unveils next generation ambassadors

The National Sheep Association (NSA) has announced the 12 individuals selected to represent the sheep industry in its 2016 Next Generation Ambassador programme.

Following what it describes as an extremely competitive selection process, this years cohort comes from a variety of backgrounds, ranging from a self-employed contract shepherd with no previous farming experience to a third-generation farmer who has recently directed the family business into sheep production.

As part of the NSA Next Generation initiative, the flagship programme provides the ambassadors with a series of training events covering a wide range of sheep topics, with a view to increasing knowledge in the sector and enhancing personal development and business skills.

Phil Stocker, NSA chief executive, said: The calibre of entrants we received this year has been outstanding and its been an extremely difficult job choosing the final 12 out of so many worthy candidates. The selection process is getting tougher each year and the enthusiasm and passion for the sheep industry shown by the many individuals that entered is very encouraging to see.

For 20 years or more, addressing the short fall of new entrants into the farming industry has been on the agenda and is one of the biggest challenges we face. The next generation coming through into the sheep industry is absolutely vital. We must cultivate talent and encourage high-calibre individuals into the sector who can bring enthusiasm and fresh ideas.

The 12 ambassadors are:

Jacob Anthony (22) Glamorgan
Ellen Helliwell (22) Gloucestershire
Hannah Jackson (23) Cumbria
Jamie Laurie (22) Dumfries and Galloway
Fred Love (23) Nottinghamshire
Oliver Matthews (27) Somerset
Alex Olphert (23) Hampshire
Dan Pritchard (30) Swansea
Tom Richards (22) Shropshire
Michael Ritch (24) Aberdeenshire
Robert Spink (24) Norfolk
James Wright (23) Sussex

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