ONE of the UK’s major sheep industry event returns next year.

After a gap of four years because of the pandemic, the National Sheep Association (NSA) has announced that NSA North Sheep – the Northern Region’s Biennial showcase – will take place on Wednesday, June 7, 2023.

Next year’s event is to be hosted by J E Woodman & Son, at their Bradford House Farm, near Ponteland.

Thousands of sheep farmers are expected to attend the event, with one of the highlights the farm tours.

Viv Lewis, Chair of the NSA’s Northern Region, and NSA North Sheep 2023 said: “With so many changes in farming and the drive to attain Net Zero, it is vital that farmers keep themselves up-to-date and informed. The last four years have seen immense changes, with the reduction in BPS, Brexit, and the new green agenda - not to mention the huge rise in fuel, fertilizer, and feed prices.

“Through visiting the trade exhibitions and attending seminars, visiting farmers will be brought up to speed with latest industry trends, technologies, and the information to help improve the profitability of their businesses. Covering this comprehensive agenda is exactly what NSA North Sheep aims to do. In addition, agriculture can be a lonely occupation and it is always good for farmers to get together and compare notes, particularly in such challenging times.

“We are delighted that J E Woodman have kindly agreed to host the event next year, something which I know is a huge commitment. Centrally located in one of the UK’s major sheep producing areas, their farming enterprise is tremendous, and a great example of best practice. I am sure that those who attend will gain much from the information and advice on offer and enjoy visiting Northumberland.”

Willie Woodman farms 2,130 acres with his wife Christine and son Martin at Great Chesters, a 1,200-acre hill farm in the shadow of Hadrian’s Wall, and the 930-acre Bradford House Farm near Ponteland, a traditional mid Northumberland livestock and arable farm purchased by the Woodman family in 2002. Today Bradford House Farm is home to a lowland flock of 250 Mule ewes and 200 Texel cross ewes, and they also grow wheat, barley, oilseed rape and beans.

The sheep flock at Great Chesters comprises 700 Blackface ewes. 250 are bred to the Blackface for replacement ewe lambs, and the other 500 are put to the Blue-Faced Leicesters to breed mule lambs. Best quality prime lambs are sold through Hexham Mart. The Woodmans have 270 sucklers, mainly Limousin crosses with a few British Blue crosses, with 50 to 60 bulling heifers. The overall sheep farming enterprise is self-sufficient, with the exception of some bought-in tups, usually sourced from Hexham Mart.

Willie said “We are delighted to be chosen as the venue for next year’s North Sheep. I have been a member of the NSA for many years, and I know how important this event is for the industry. We are really looking forward to welcoming people to our farm and giving them the opportunity to see a traditional Northumberland farming enterprise. During the farm tours they will see first-hand, our flock of Texels and Mules, the cattle which we sell forward, and a display of Blackface sheep from the Great Chesters’ flock.”

The NSA is funded by its members. It aims to play a key part in the sheep farming industry and ensure that it represents the views and interests of sheep producers throughout the UK.

For details about sponsorship and trade stand space please see the event website or contact Event Organiser, Heather Stoney-Grayshon, on email