Wales & Border Ram Sale - Welsh Consultation Response

6th March 2024

NSA Wales & Border Ram Sales has told the Welsh Government that its proposed Sustainable Farming Scheme (SFS) threatens the future of the sales. They are held in Mid Wales annually and have a £2million plus turnover, providing 200 part time jobs.

Executive Director, Jane Smith, says that it has, over more than 45 years, helped to radically improve the Welsh sheep breeding flock. The sales attract vendors and buyers from across the UK and beyond, providing top quality, veterinary inspected rams, within easy reach of Welsh buyers - 80% of the tups are bought to serve flocks in Powys.

This in turn continually and consistently improves the Welsh breeding flock, helping to maintain the vital PGI status of its lamb. The Welsh meat and meat products sector is worth £1.4 billion and vital to rural Wales in terms of the economy, culture and landscape.

She says: “If all these regulations and rules are imposed on Welsh farming it could well be catastrophic.

“Not just farmers, but all the allied industries will be hit and could lead to the demise of Welsh farming as we know it.”

The sales contribute to the business of local auctioneers and depend on scale.  Last year’s main sale at the Royal Welsh Showground had a £2,050,929.88 turnover, while the early sale had a turnover of £104,786.98.

The NSA Wales & Border Main Sale 2023 attracted 3,500 entries from across more than 20 breeds, selling in 16 rings. Their significance was underlined when HRH Princess Royal attended the 40th anniversary sale in 2018, the Queen Mother having supported the sales from 1981 to the mid 1990s.

The committee is extremely concerned that the Welsh Government’s current proposals set out in the SFS consultation means a projected reduction of 122,000 livestock units across Wales in the next five years. One scenario is that this could equate to the loss of 800,000 sheep from a total flock of 4.8 million breeding ewes, so threatening future viability of the sales.