The National Sheep Association (NSA) is looking forward to welcoming Minister for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Victoria Prentis, as guest speaker at the first of its new Breakfast Club webinars this coming Wednesday, January 20, 2021.

The first of NSA’s initial series of four 8:30am, one-hour morning updates will see the NSA joined by the minister who will provide an outline of her vision for agriculture and sheep farming in the UK and discuss trade and the agricultural transition plan with NSA Chief Executive Phil Stocker and NSA Chairman Bryan Griffiths.

The breakfast webinar titled ‘Forging ahead: An early morning meeting with Defra’s Victoria Prentis’ will offer the country’s sheep farmers the opportunity to hear the very latest updates following the UK’s departure from the EU at the end of 2020 as well as providing the valuable opportunity to ask questions to the minister on matters directly affecting the UK sheep sector.

Victoria Prentis became Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in February 2020.

During her time in Defra, she has presided over the debating of the Third Reading of the Agriculture Bill. Having grown up on a farm in Oxfordshire, Victoria has a lifelong interest in farming.

At home, she enjoys looking after her own flock of Zwartbles sheep.

'A rare opportunity'

NSA Chief Executive Phil Stocker said: "We are extremely grateful that Minister Victoria Prentis has agreed to join us for the first of our new morning webinars.

It can be a rare opportunity as a working farmer to have the opportunity to speak directly with such a key decision-maker so we do hope that many of our nation’s sheep farmers will make the effort on Wednesday morning to pause from those morning jobs and join us for what we are confident will be an informative and interesting session.

NSA launches its Breakfast Club webinars at a time of great change for the UK sheep farming sector.

The association hopes the series of webinars that will all welcome UK farming leaders and experts, as well as NSA officeholders, will help deliver concise and useful information in an accessible hour-long webinar to those seeking guidance at this critical time.

Coming up following next Wednesday’s webinar will be 'NSA Breakfast Club – Going it alone: An early morning debate about future trade of UK sheep meat' on Wednesday, January 27, and 'NSA Breakfast Club – A united approach: An early morning briefing on post-Brexit approaches in the four UK nations' on Wednesday, February 3, with detail of the fourth webinar to be announced soon.

Stocker concluded:

We really believe there is appetite for a series of hour-long webinars such as those we have planned to deliver this year.

"We have planned an initial four sessions but hope demand means the morning meetings, that can be enjoyed before the main demands of the day begin, will continue further into 2021 providing timely and useful policy and technical updates to the UK’s hard-working sheep farmers."