Lutterworth sheep farmer wins sustainability award for ‘setting remarkable standards’ - The Rugby Observer

Lutterworth sheep farmer wins sustainability award for ‘setting remarkable standards’

Rugby Editorial 10th Nov, 2023   0

A DEDICATED first-generation sheep farmer from Lutterworth has won a national sustainability award for ‘setting remarkable standards in the industry’.

James Horn has won the VetPartners Sustainable Sheep Farm of the Year award.

The award recognises sheep farmers for fortifying their flocks for the future through exceptional stockmanship, animal health and profitable breeding.

VetPartners launched the award in 2022 to recognise achievements in improving farm sustainability through prioritised animal health and productivity.

Over the past five years, James has built up a flock of two halves – 400 indoor lambing North Country Mules, and 250 outdoor lambing New Zealand Romneys. The North Country Mules are now being sold to allow the Romney flock to expand.

He was nominated by his vet, Gina Rigby from Cross Counties Farm Vets.

Gina said animal health and welfare were at the centre of James’ enterprise, and he was of the opinion that farmers and vets could improve this if they worked in close partnership.

She said: “Together we have a big emphasis on flock health planning and disease surveillance, but individual sheep are also very well looked after with outstanding stockmanship.

“Following regenerative principles, the sheep have successfully integrated into local arable farms – benefiting all parties.

“Through this system, the flock benefits from high-quality forage and a reduced parasite challenge. Vaccines, diagnostics, veterinary advice and good management help keep antibiotic and anthelmintic usage low.

“There’s a very low involuntary cull rate due to the care and attention individual sheep are shown. James is never afraid to pick up the phone to ask for advice or a visit for individual animals.

“He was also key in helping me to set up the practice’s Flock Club and has been an active and engaged member since.”

VetPartners farm director Ian Cure added: “This award is testament to the importance of a collaborative approach between farmers and vets, and the positive impact it can have on livestock welfare and farm productivity.

“With current input costs so high, it’s great to be able to highlight ways farmers can increase business viability as well as improve welfare through making their business operations more sustainable.”

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