A search is being launched this week to find two of Scotland’s most talented young shepherds to take part in a trip of a lifetime to New Zealand.
This fantastic opportunity will see two skilled shepherds represent their country in the first ever World Young Shepherds Competition, taking place in New Zealand later this year.
To be eligible entrants must be aged 20 – 25 years old and, as there is no NSA Scotheep this year, the qualifying competition for entrants will take place at the NSA Scotland Young Shepherd competition at Oatridge College, Broxburn, West Lothian on Tuesday 5th July.
The highest placed competitor and runner up from this competition will go forward to the world championships being staged in the Canterbury region, South Island, New Zealand in November 2011
The Young Shepherd Award is designed to test entrants’ shepherding skills in a pentathlon of activities. Each entrant will be required to grade finished lambs for slaughter and demonstrate handling tasks, shearing, vaccinating and dosing techniques, along with stock judging. They will also be questioned on flock management and health issues.
The winners’ trip to New Zealand is being supported by sponsors including the National Sheep Association Scottish Region, the Blackface Sheep Breeders’ Association, British Wool Marketing Board, Quality Meat Scotland and The Cameron Travel Scholarship Trust.
"We are delighted that Oatridge College is hosting the NSA Scottish Region Young Shepherd Competition and grateful to all the sponsors helping to fund the all expenses paid trip to New Zealand,” said NSA Development Officer for Scotland, George Milne.
“We are acutely aware that one of the biggest long term challenges which continues to face the sheep industry is the need to encourage young people to be involved.
“A recent survey by Quality Meat Scotland revealed that one of the three main issues concerning sheep producers in Scotland is the lack of skilled labour available.
“We very much hope that this competition will help to raise the profile of livestock work – and sheep production in particular – as a career opportunity for more young people.
“These two competitions are also clearly designed to help equip tomorrow’s shepherd with the skills they need and give recognition once those skills have become honed.”
The New Zealand programme for competitors, organised by the host country, includes a tour of the agricultural facilities at Lincoln University; tour of Wool Research Organisation of NZ; visit to a wool scouring operation; meeting with meat processors; attending Christchurch Agricultural Show and farm visits.
Entry forms for the competition can be downloaded from the NSA Scotland website www.nsascotland.org.uk or The Blackface Sheep Breeders website www.scottish-blackface.co.uk and Quality Meat Scotland website at www.qmscotland.co.uk or enter at the NSA stand at the Royal Highland Show. Closing date for entries is Monday 27th June.