MORE than 12,000 producers are expected to attend the National Sheep Association event at the Three Counties Showground, Malvern, in July.

The theme of the industry's biennial initiative is commercial business for the future.

The event, on Wednesday, July 28, will be split into five themed zones focusing on a comprehensive range of industry issues: production, marketing, consumption, traditions, and environmental and conservation issues.

More than 150 educational and commercial trade stands have already booked in, together with live exhibits from 52 sheep breed associations and societies.

A key feature of the Agri-Lloyd sponsored event, with EBLEX and Intervet as mainline sponsors, will be a series of seminars, commencing with a breakfast question time and followed by presentations throughout the day of keynote industry-wide speakers.

Outdoor activities will include professional fencing contractors participating in the wire fencing competition; finalists in the English National Sheep Shearing competition, the Young Shepherds' pentathlon, and a sale of working sheep dogs.

In addition, farm tours will be running throughout the day to Eastnor Castle Farms, a nearby 1,000-acre grassland unit carrying 1,100 ewes and 200 spring calving suckler cows.

Visitors will have the opportunity to meet with farm manager, David Meredy, and discuss how he has recently improved flock performance and his plans for the unit to successfully meet the challenges presented by the Mid-Term Review.

The NSA is also staging a series of industry briefings at the showground the previous afternoon, Tuesday, July 27, each of which is designed to explore the industry's future challenges and subsequent economic implications.

Response to MTR

Event chairman, David Smith, said: "We've created a new format for the event which will offer not only all sheep farmers but the entire industry the opportunity to learn about the latest developments to help then to reformulate their own business strategies in readiness to respond to MTR.

"The day will also provide a great chance to catch up with other farmers and industry representatives from all stages of the production chain, share ideas and ultimately take home information to help improve their unit's efficiency and profitability."