The National Sheep Association (NSA) has made the decision to postpone its major regional events this year.

Despite the promise of an ease of lockdown and ultimate removal of Covid-19 restrictions as 2021 progresses, the NSA regional event organising committees are unanimous in their decision to postpone this year’s events.

Main events affected by the decision include NSA Welsh Sheep, due to be held on Tuesday, May 18; NSA North Sheep on Wednesday, June 2; NSA Sheep South West on Tuesday, June 22; and NSA Sheep Northern Ireland on Tuesday, July 6.

The organising committee of NSA Scot Sheep, an event that was also due to be held in 2021, made the decision to postpone earlier this year.

NSA chief executive Phil Stocker said: "All at the NSA are so disappointed to have to cancel our popular events.

We recognise these events provide opportunity for the sheep farming community to come together for a valuable day of knowledge exchange, a chance to view new and innovative products and to enjoy an opportunity to catch up with friends.

"But the ongoing risk and uncertainty surrounding large events have unfortunately meant that the difficult, but what we consider responsible, decision to postpone them had to be made."

Cancellation of all 2020 events

The latest postponements follow the cancellation of all 2020 events. including the flagship NSA Sheep Event last July.

Attention will now turn to ensuring this and other events now planned for 2022 and 2023 are able to return safely and offer the usual popular mix of seminars, farm tours, competitions, demonstrations, trade stands and other elements enjoyed by sheep farmers across the UK.

Stocker continued: "The NSA’s series of events are run on a biennial calendar meaning these recently postponed regional events will now not return until 2023.

However, we hope NSA members and other interested visitors will consider travelling to events that will run in 2022 and join the smaller activities that will now be planned in the regions, such as farm walks and field days.

"The service NSA provides to members through events is of utmost importance, so we are actively looking at other ways to deliver important updates on policy and practical information.

"The NSA has found an online offering of these to be most effective while Covid-19 has prevented face-to-face gatherings, and it is now planned to continue to offer a blend of these and in-person events to the benefit of our valued members."

Future event dates

Several dates have now been set for future NSA main events.

These include:

  • NSA Scot Sheep, Wednesday, June 1, 2022, Dundee;
  • NSA Sheep Event, Wednesday, July 27, 2022, Worcestershire;
  • NSA Welsh Sheep, Tuesday, May 16, 2023, Powys;
  • NSA North Sheep, Wednesday, June 7, 2023, Northumberland;
  • NSA Sheep South West, Tuesday, June 20, 2023, Dorset;
  • NSA Sheep Northern Ireland, date tbc in July 2023, Co. Armagh.

The NSA has thanked all regional event hosts for agreeing to provide their time and farm locations for the new dates of the future events.

The event postponements do not include NSA annual ram sales, all five of which will be held later in the year.

These are the NSA Wales & Border Ram Sales (August and September); NSA South West Ram Sale (August); and NSA Eastern Region Ram Sales (August and September).