RETURNING sheep farmer Ed Stubbs acted on a friend's recommendation that he become a National Sheep Association member – and became the lucky, final winner of the NSA's recruitment prize package, receiving a Tornado Wire fencing kit.

Ed returned to farming after time working in banking and purchased a smallholding in the Staffordshire moorlands. Running a small flock alongside his day job as an NFU group secretary, Ed is now looking to build up sheep numbers.

He explained: “Having grown up on our family farm I always had a desire to get back into farming when time and money allowed. In 2017 I finally achieved my dream and purchased a small holding alongside my fiancé Liane (all be it with a large mortgage!). In the first year we started with just eight breeding ewes while we settled in and this year, we will look to lamb 60. The long-term plan is to build the flock numbers further whilst keeping a watching eye on what happens to prices post Brexit, land values and availability of land to rent.”

After having spoken with a neighbouring farmer and NSA member, Ed decided to join NSA and is looking forward to the advice and support his membership will provide: “Having been away from farming for 10 years I recognise the benefits NSA membership can offer us as well as the help and support from the network of other sheep farmers involved, such as Bryce MacKellar and his wife Kate, who were the ones who suggested I join up.

“I was shocked to hear I had won the prize. I know it’s a cliché, but I really do never win anything! I am looking forward to using the prize to complete the fencing needed around the farm.”

As part of the Tornado Wire prize, Ed receives a set of stock fencing wire and fixings worth more than £450. NSA is now preparing to launch its new campaign for 2019 that will automatically offer new NSA members and existing members who recommend a friend, family member or neighbour more chances to win through the year.