The cast ewe and tups sales are now finished for another year, for me at least.
It was great to catch up with friends old and new and lovely to hear so many different accents from all over the country around the sale rings.
Long and protracted discussions can now be heard from the fanks on the merits of a particular tup and what cut of ewes he is going to be run on.
We were gathering the hill last week to sort the ewes for tupping and it was an absolute pleasure to be out there enjoying the autumn colours.
The sheep have thrived with the good backend we have enjoyed and are in great heart.
Our sheep industry, like all sectors in agriculture, will face many challenges over the next few years. I honestly believe that we can change and adapt to what the future brings.
It may not be for the faint hearted and there may well be casualties along the way. Perhaps we need to be pushed into a different way of thinking and ask ourselves some difficult questions.
There is young blood out there but they must be allowed the chance to take control, make their own decisions and learn by their mistakes.
I was heartened to see the drive and enthusiasm of many young shepherds and shepherdesses last week at the Dingwall tup sale – fathers allowing sons to buy whatever sheep they liked and could afford, farmers and estate managers listening to the thoughts of the next generation on the merits of tups. Their opinions mattered and that is vital to the success of any farming
Their energy, drive, determination and passion is what will be required for the future and a solid continuation of our industry.
None of us like change but maybe it’s time for some of us older folk to
relinquish power and slacken our grip on the reins.
The unfortunate reality is that in one of the societies that I am involved with, I have been referred to as a ‘youngster’ and I am 47 in March.
When the hierarchy of this organisation found themselves being questioned on various issues by some ‘younger’ members, the response from the chair was initially one of dismay that the meetings were now taking much longer. Our interest in the running of the affairs was likened to the ‘seagull effect’, whereby we flew in, made a lot of noise, defecated on everything and then flew away again.
We should be nurturing the next generation and not referring to them as ‘seagulls’ when being asked challenging questions.
It’s like training a young dog. They will learn nothing lying in their kennel, not working and becoming frustrated. Put them into a pen of ewes in the fanks and very quickly they will learn from their mistakes and shape up at the job.
Give them support, encouragement and with a little bit of time, effort and patience you will have another invaluable team member.