A NEW service has been launched aimed at linking farmers with individual sheep shearers in their area.

As the approaching shearing season looks set to face challenges with a potential reduction in workforce due to Covid-19 travel restrictions, the National Sheep Association (NSA) is taking action by creating a shearing list to connect farmers with shearers.

NSA is aware of several individual shearers seeking to help those in their communities to get through this difficult season, and the list will allow shearers and farmers who may be able to offer additional shearing help where larger shearing gangs may be short of staff.

The NSA list is in addition to the work the organisation is supporting with the National Association of Agricultural Contractors, British Wool and a number of other farming organisations to produce a shearing register to help connect shearers with larger-scale contractors this can be accessed here.

Its chief executive, Phil Stocker, said: "Farmers and shepherds willing to do additional shearing work to that of their own flocks can complete this form to be listed on the new NSA Shearing list.

"This list will be viewable by farmers seeking shearers for the 2020 season and it will help ensure smaller producers can access capable and local shearers to ensure their flock is cared for despite the difficulties.

"It’s important to recognise there is a lot of localised and independent shearing done, and with the pressure likely to be on this year due to fewer overseas shearers coming in we want to do what we can to connect those who want their sheep shorn, with our sheep farmers and shepherds who may be willing and keen to help out.”

Farmers can access the list at www.nationalsheep.org.uk/shearing-list.