Young shepherds are being encouraged to enter a competition for the chance to be named the best in the North.

The NSA North Sheep Next Generation Young Shepherd Competition, sponsored by Darlington Farmers Auction Mart (DFAM), and Vickers & Barrass, will be held on Wednesday, June 7, at Bradford House Farm, Belsay, Ponteland, Northumberland.

This competition gives young shepherds the chance of winning prize money from the pot of £740. The winner will not only receive £300 prize money and the Ali Johnson Perpetual Trophy; they will go on to represent the NSA Northern Region at the UK finals held at NSA Sheep, Malvern, on July 30, 2024.

It is open to young people aged up to 26 years (on July 30, 2024) and aims to test key shepherding skills. All entrants will compete in a number of rounds including lamb selection, Ram MOT, sheep shearing, stock judging, ATV handling, giving examples of correct foot care and handling techniques, vaccinating and dosage calculations, and answering questions on flock management and health issues.

NSA North Sheep 2023 is being held in one of the UK’s most noted sheep production areas. With dozens of trade stands, a dedicated farm tour of the host farm, a series of presentations, seminars and demonstrations, this biennal northern event is expected to attract thousands of visitors from across the UK. The Young Shepherd Competition is an important element of this industry event as it encourages participation at all levels from the next generation.

Chris Adamson, assistant event organiser, said: “Having been involved with the NSA’s Next Generation program nationally, it is great to be able to lead on this competition in my home region!

"Competitions like these are vital in terms of supporting and educating, and it allows those taking part to improve their skills and benchmark themselves against other young shepherds.

"Working with industry experts, the range of tasks we have put together for the competitors are all vital skills needed within their day to day work, and are designed to both challenge and improve knowledge.

“I would definitely recommend any young shepherd, who is keen to develop their knowledge, to enter this competition, as it really does take your shepherding career up to the next level.

"I’d like to thank Vickers & Barras and Darlington Famers Auction Mart for sponsoring the event and for their continued commitment to supporting young people within the livestock industry.”

Adam Barrass, managing director of Vickers & Barrass, said: “This competition is designed to furnish tomorrow’s sheep farmers with the skills they need and give recognition to the skills they have acquired.

"As a business operating in the sheep sector, we of course want to encourage and support the next generation, as it is important not just to the sheep industry but to the wider agricultural industry.

“Shepherds have an integral role to play at any sheep enterprise and through this competition we are ensuring best practice encouragement of the next generation coming into the industry, which in turn will see them continuing to support both Darlington Farmers Auction Mart and Vickers & Barras.

“I know some tremendous young shepherds and very much hope that they take this opportunity to be involved at NSA North Sheep.”

The competition is free to enter and open to young shepherds under 26 with some practical and theoretical knowledge of sheep work. The upper age limit for competitors is 26, as they must be aged under 27 on the day of the event finals at NSA Sheep Event on Wednesday, July 30, 2024. The competition starts at 8.30am with the prize-giving at 4pm.

The closing date for entries is Tuesday, May 9, and there will be a maximum of 20 entries.

The full competition rules and an entry form can be downloaded at or for further information, call Chris Adamson on 07930 225150 or email