Nine young sheep farmers across the UK are set to benefit from access to “top-class genetics” through a National Sheep Association (NSA) Next Generation initiative.

The trade association for UK sheep farmers teamed up with the Dutch Spotted Sheep Society for its NSA Next GENE-eration giveaway for the first time this year, with the aim of increasing the number of farmers who could win.

The NSA initiative again offered young sheep farmers the chance to compete for the prize of a ram voucher for the Kaiapoi Romneys flock of Rob and Jo Hodgkins.

NSA communications manager, Katie James, said: “The NSA Next GENE-eration giveaway has been a great success again this year with the addition of the Dutch Spotted ram vouchers really complementing the existing offering.

“The two breeds offer sheep farmers from contrasting systems the opportunity to benefit from top-class genetics that will help them progress their systems.

“Some incredibly deserving young sheep farmers have been awarded these and we look forward to seeing the benefit the rams bring to their flocks over the next year and will share this journey with interested parties along the way.”

Ram recipients

Four vouchers were given to young sheep farmers who were selected as recipients of rams from the Kaiapoi Romney flock, as the NSA felt they would fit well into each of the farmers’ “extensive, forward-thinking systems”.

The winners will travel to Cambridgeshire to exchange their vouchers for the MV-accredited and performance-recorded rams who, the NSA said, are known to carry the Myomax double-muscling gene.

The winners are:

  • Carys Jones of Carmarthenshire;
  • Peter Sessford of Lincolnshire;
  • Jenny and Richard Oglesby of Yorkshire;
  • Dafydd Owen of Denbighshire.

Rob Hodgkins of Kaiapoi Romneys said: “As a farm we have had the benefit of a lot of people’s and business’s goodwill over the years.

“It’s important to Jo and myself that we are now in a position to give back to the industry that has given so much to us.

“We hope this giveaway will make some meaningful change to these deserving young farmers.”

Dutch spotted sales

Five vouchers for the pedigree Dutch Spotted sales have been given to young sheep farmers from the NSA genetics initiative.

The winners of this category are:

  • Sam Lee of Northamptonshire;
  • Eilidh Hortin of Cumbria;
  • Lisa Lewis of Carmarthenshire;
  • Kirsten Hardisty and Michael Houghton of Derbyshire;
  • Fiona Wilshaw from Cheshire.

Edward Adamson of the Dutch Spotted Sheep Society said: “As a relatively new breed in the UK the Dutch Spotted Sheep Society understands the difficulties of getting started and is pleased to help some enthusiastic young sheep farmers establish their businesses and realise the qualities of the Dutch Spotted breed.”