Sheep Conference date set for November
Saturday, 28 October, 2017
Commodity Watch – Written by UFU Senior Policy Officer, Beef & Lamb and Hill Farming, Elliott Bell.
Following the success of the jointly organised ‘Progressive Beef’ conference held at Greenmount in November 2016, the Ulster Farmers’ Union has this year teamed up with CAFRE, AFBI, the LMC and the NSA to organise the ‘Efficient Lamb Production’ conference which will take place on Wednesday 29th November 2017, once again at Greenmount campus.
The conference will focus on a range of key considerations for the sheep industry. This will include improving efficiency and profitability on both hill and lowland sheep farms, while expert speakers have also been invited to provide an overview of the global market, the domestic market, specification and the future of the EUROP grid.
While there has undoubtedly been a fair degree of volatility in sheep prices in recent times, the ewe flock in Northern Ireland has seen some steady growth and in the past 7 years has increased by around 100,000 ewes. This takes the breeding population to around 972 thousand, a level not previously seen since 2006. This growth in the sheep sector has ensured that it continues to make a significant economic contribution to the agri-food industry. The sheep sector also continues to make a valued contribution to the stewardship of the environment and rural communities, making it important that the future viability of the sector is protected.
Recent reports published by the LMC and AFBI demonstrated a number of trade scenarios which the UK could be exposed to post Brexit. For the sheep industry, the results are a real eye opener and highlight how important it will be for the UK to maintain free trade with Europe. With the outcomes from Brexit yet to be decided, this leaves our sheep sector with much uncertainty. Looking at the situation constructively we will need to arm ourselves with knowledge about what we can potentially do to mitigate our exposure to the Brexit uncertainty and devise a plan to act accordingly. Providing farmers with the knowledge and options to secure their business is the key objective of the ‘Efficient Lamb Production’ conference.
A full line-up of the speakers can be found on the UFU website www.ufuni.org and it is also where delegates are encouraged to make their bookings. The conference is open to everyone and for those involved in the sheep business development groups the event can be used as a ‘qualifier meeting.’ The fee for the event is £20 which will include refreshments and lunch.