Prince Charles to open top sheep event
HRH PRINCE Charles, Duke of Rothesay, will open Scotland's national sheep event, NSA Scotsheep 2012, at Morrisons Farm on Dumfries Estate next Wednesday.
His Royal Highness will officially declare the event open at 10.15am and will spend almost two hours touring the exhibits.
He will view various stands including those run by Morrisons, the National Sheep Association, Quality Meat Scotland and The Wool Centre. His Royal Highness will also visit the breed societies' area.
The Duke of Rothesay takes a close interest in the management of the farm, which is run as a joint venture by the Dumfries House Trust and Morrisons, the UK's fourth largest supermarket group.
Historic Dumfries House, with its unique collection of priceless Chippendale furniture dating back to the 18th century, is now open to the public for the first time in 250 years. The house and surrounding estate were saved for the nation by Prince Charles in 2007 under his title as the Great Steward of Scotland.
Since the purchase, Dumfries House has undergone an enormous period of renovation and restoration. Many of the out buildings on the estate have also been transformed and now house educative centres, conferencing facilities and a café for visitors.
NSA Scotland is held every two years at a different farm venue and is organised by the Scottish region of the National Sheep Association. Bank of Scotland has again been confirmed as major sponsor.
His Royal Highness is passionate in his support for the British sheep industry and was instrumental in the launch of both the Mutton Renaissance campaign in 2004, to help sheep farmers sell older animals and get this delicious meat back on the nation's plates, and the Campaign for Wool in 2010 which is an all-industry initiative to expand the market for British and Commonwealth wool and promote awareness of its environmental benefits.
"Sheep farmers everywhere applaud The Duke of Rothesay for the tremendous support he has given their industry through these two initiatives and we are delighted that he has found time in his busy schedule to join us for NSA Scotsheep," said event chairman, Neale McQuistin.
"The practical, on-farm research work taking place on The Morrisons Farm, which Prince Charles has initiated, will be of great interest to the thousands of visitors attending the event and will be of immense benefit to both the sheep and beef industries in the longer term.
"Dumfries House is a fantastic venue for NSA Scotsheep and has all the ingredients to provide an outstanding showcase for the Scottish sheep industry."
The programme for NSA Scotsheep will include a tour of the farm by tractor and trailer and Dumfries House will be open to the public at a special reduced rate. A shuttle service of mini-buses will run from the farm for those who wish to visit the house.
The sum of £2 million has been committed to developing the farming enterprise which includes 700 Scotch Mule ewes, a small flock of pedigree Suffolk ewes and 250 suckler cows, including pedigree herds of Beef Shorthorn and Aberdeen-Angus.
The farm is run on strictly commercial lines but is also used as a demonstration farm and test bed for new ideas. It is currently one of three farms in Scotland carrying out trials on behalf of Quality Meat Scotland comparing the progeny of rams selected on performance criteria and rams selected solely on visual appraisal.
SEE THIS WEEK'S CHRONICLE FOR A FOUR-PAGE PREVIEW OF THIS TOP EVENT