NSA Central Region Report

1st February 2012

2012 marks an exciting new dawn for the N.S.A with a major change of structure. Along with Matt Bagley and Charles Sercombe I am one of the three Central Region Members of the English Committee and attended on 15th December the inaugural Meeting at, of all places, The Royal Institution of Naval Architects in Belgravia.  I struggled to find the sheep connection with the choice of venue and speculated as to whether new wool clipper ships were being designed on the back of much improved prices.

It appears that the English Committee is some equivalent of the House of Commons and a speaker – Mike Credland was duly elected.  The activities of the upper houses have yet to be revealed but it was good to meet Phil Stocker again, and I hope he found the gathering helpful as he comes to grips with the NSA’s primary function “to represent the views and interests of sheep producers throughout the UK.” I hope that I and my fellow English Committee members will provide a direct line of communication from farmers in the regions to those within the N.S.A furthering the interests of the industry.

One fact that emerged at the meeting was that only some 10% of sheep farmers are actually members of the N.S.A, something that must be addressed on two fronts – firstly because it is possible that views of non members are not reaching the N.S.A., and secondly because the work of the organisation is only supported and funded by a minority of the industry when every sheep farmer benefits. We are going to have to apply our thinking caps in order to improve this situation.

Overall, however, I view the future with optimism.  There is a level of confidence with the sheep industry higher than we have seen for many years, and that must make it a very positive time for the N.S.A.

Alastair Sneddon
Central Region Committee Member and English Committee Member