The National Sheep Association (NSA) has announced David Croston as winner of the 2014 George Hedley Memorial Award for outstanding contribution to the sheep industry.

David Croston wins George Hedley Memorial award.

Mr Croston dedicated his career to supporting sheep farming businesses, and continued this past his retirement when he became an NSA office holder.

NSA chairman John Geldard said: “David Croston’s service to agriculture is well-documented, and his support for NSA in particular has been enormously appreciated. The award has been extremely well earned and richly deserved.

“That David has achieved so much for the sheep sector without ever farming himself goes to show the breadth of opportunities available in agriculture.”

During a career spanning four decades, David Croston has worked to advance almost every area of the sheep sector, from breeding programmes to export markets. He joined the Meat and Livestock Commission (MLC) in 1970, taking responsibility for the individual ewe recording schemes, later known as Sheepbreeder, and the creation of Sire Reference Schemes.

Mr Croston moved on to roles within MLC as chief sheep advisor and sheep strategy manager, before transferring to the commission’s export marketing department and then taking over the export department in 1996.

In 1998 he was appointed head of sheep strategy at MLC and in 2003 became chief executive of Eblex. While at the levy board he drew up the proposals for the better returns knowledge transfer programme.

Following his retirement in 2005, Mr Croston became involved with NSA, playing a key role in the running of NSA events and using his industry experience to help steer the organisation through a period of reform.

In 2010 he became NSA honorary treasurer, a post he held for five years before stepping down in 2014. Mr Croston’s 1985 book collaboration, planned sheep production, remains a staple of students’ reading lists.

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