North of England Mule Sheep Association

At Community Update, we take pride in showcasing the very best services provided by people, companies and charities that provide a wealth of benefits for their community. As such, in this issue we are proud to announce that we have selected NEMSA as the recipient of our Commitment to Excellence Award.

NEMSA (the North of England Mule Sheep Association), was established in the early 1980’s as a marketing group to spread the word about the North of England Mule, to all parts of the country. Committee members attended shows and sales throughout the Southern counties, the Midlands and Wales to educate and introduce people to this ‘new’ breed.

It began as a trickle, as Southern buyers bought small numbers of Mules to try, but the hybrid vigour of the Mule shone out, and its popularity began to grow year on year. Over the last 40 years, farmers have made the pilgrimage ‘up north’ to meet up with old friends, and to buy their flock replacements.

The NEMSA mule is made from crossing the blue faced Leicester ram onto either the Swaledale or the North of England type Blackface ewe, and the polled offspring has a speckled dark brown and white face.

NEMSA Secretary, Linda Allan, along with her husband and their four children, farm in the beautiful Lune Valley, near Kirby Lonsdale in South Cumbria, and she told us, “as a society, we represent all of the northern counties of England, and as far north as the Scottish border. We have 1100 members and are divided into 9 branches where auction marts are affiliated.”

NEMSA has always worked very closely with auction marts across the north of England and cannot underestimate their importance within the rural community. They are not only social centres but are brokers who provide a safe and fair environment for farmers to market their stock.

As it looks to the future, NEMSA is looking at collating figures from farms across the north of England, in order to better record the breed success. Also, Maedi-Visna, an iceberg disease, is very much in the press at the moment as animals can never fully clear the infection, and NEMSA is investigating this and will advise members on how these can be addressed in the future.

Linda continued, “Since 1997 all NEMSA lambs have carried the official NEMSA grey tag, which ensures full traceability back to the farm of origin. The grey tag is the guarantee of both equality and provenance.”

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