Alnwick, Wooler and Berwick sheep-shearers among all female line-up set to showcase the best of British wool handling
and live on Freeview channel 276
With support from across the industry, thousands of farmers and people in the industry are expected to attend this sheep industry showcase hosted by J E Woodman and Son at Bradford House Farm near Ponteland on Wednesday, June 7.
And, at this year’s event an all female line-up is going to show the best of British wool shearing and wool handling.
The participants range in experience from young farmers who shear and handle fleeces on their family farms, up to professionals, some of whom will go on to compete at the Golden Shears World Championships at the Royal Highland Show two weeks after their demonstration at North Sheep.
Organised by NSA North Sheep in association with British Wool, the North Sheep Ladies Shearing and Wool Handling demonstration will show what key skills are needed in today’s sheep farming industry.
Gareth Jones, British wool’s producer marketing manager, said: “It showcases the fact that women are deeply involved in every aspect of farming and they play just as important a role in the future as men.
"Some of the women in the North Sheep line-up at Bradford Farm can shear more sheep in a day than many men, and the wool handlers’ skills are critical to the speed and efficiency of the shearing operation, and to the value the farmer receives for their fleeces.
“I hope the demonstration will inspire more young women to take a closer look at this part of the sheep industry, and it might also encourage sheep farmers to become more closely involved in supporting the British Wool Marketing Board.
"In today’s farming climate, we need to make the most of every possible opportunity to keep sheep farming commercially as well as environmentally sustainable.”
Competing is Berwick farmer Sophie Whitten who turned to shearing under the constraints of Covid. With a Blue Ribbon course under her belt, she’s shearing 70 sheep a day for family, friends and neighbours, and currently aiming to raise her target to 100.
Sophie said: “I am really delighted to be part of this day, and I’ll be learning just as much from the experts as the visitors who watch the demonstration.
"I watch the shearers on our own farm and I‘m learning from them to improve my positioning and my speed and skill to complete more sheep in a day – and hopefully how to improve my performance at the Young Farmers competitions I’ll be taking part in this year.”
Also lined-up is Una Cameron, a highly experienced long time shearer based in the Borders, Rosie Keenan, Wooler based shearer who has competed in world championships and Amy Liddles who works in Mole Valley Country Stores in Hexham, after learning her shearing skills on the family farm near Alnwick
Speaking of the competition, Amy added: “Young women shearers new to shearing really benefit from having a female peer who will support them and help them improve their skills.
"I was lucky enough to have the right help when I was learning and I hope we can encourage more young women at North Sheep who might be interested to have a try.”