The National Sheep Association (NSA) has announced a new national chairman.
The appointment comes after its management board met on January 14. It chose Samuel Wharry from Carnlough, County Antrim, to serve as chairman for a term of three years. He was elected from within the association’s pool of 12 regional trustee managers.
Mr Wharry – who has been an officeholder in NSA Northern Ireland for several years as well as serving on the board for three years – has a specialist interest in breeding fit-for-purpose stock, having maintained a purebred Scottish blackface flock on his hill farm in Country Antrim. He has also taken part in initiatives in other breeds, including the Swaledale and Lleyn, to gather practical data on maternal lines.
Mr Wharry is keen to encourage the next generation of sheep farmers, said the NSA. He has entered into a share farming agreement with a young farmer from Ballymena, for example, which sees the pair work side-by-side making management decisions on the sheep enterprise. The farmer, James Davidson, will earn an increasing stake in the flock over the coming years.
Mr Wharry said: “Our industry needs to bring new blood forward and I’m pleased to be working with James to build a healthy business that will provide a decent income for both of us. I would like to think it could be an example that was useful to other people in the industry.”
“I am delighted and honoured to be selected by my fellow board members for this role,” Mr Wharry said. “I look forward to working with the board to continue to make NSA relevant and useful to all our members.”
In his new role, Mr Wharry takes over from John Geldard of Cumbria. Mr Geldard said it had been an “absolute pleasure” to represent the NSA.
“I never dreamed I would be chairman of the grassroots organisation where I started as a member nearly 40 years ago and I have been very proud to be part of an organisation that punches well above its weight and involves a great bunch of people,” he said.
“I am fully confident Samuel will continue to take the organisation forward in the next few years in the same spirit as it has operated in.”
For more information, visit the NSA’s website.