With a career in the agriculture industry and a strong interest in farming, Trevor purchased a small holding in the townland of Cargycreevy, close to Ballynahinch in 1980 and has since developed a flock of commercial sheep alongside breeding pedigree Hampshire Downs. The pedigree flock was first registered in 2015 and has grown since then. Lambs bred using the Hampshire Down as the terminal sire are in demand and all lambs from the commercial flock are sold direct to butchers. Trevor is currently leading the Group and developing the Hampshire Down Lamb initiative in Northern Ireland.
Rodney farms 70 hectares near Pomeroy in County Tyrone and has over 30 years’ experience in lamb and suckle beef production. He has been running a registered pedigree Hampshire Down sheep flock since 2012 and currently has 20 ewes registered with the Society. Rodney is a committee member of the Northern Ireland Hampshire Down Sheep Society and believes strongly that the modern “Hampshire” with its reduced fat levels and excellent taste makes it an excellent terminal sire for producing the meat which consumers and butchers are seeking.
Kevin & Anna McCarthy run a family business with their son Keelan, daughter Alex, and her partner Andrew Stamper. Kevin and Anna purchased their house and 55 acre farm at Ballycreelly, Comber in 1985. After farming Limousin cattle and sheep for a number of years, they decided to concentrate on sheep and chose the Hampshire Down as it was renowned for quick finishing and easy lambing.
During the 1990s the McCarthys started to export Hampshire Downs to Belgium and also grew a flock of Beltex sheep. They have approximately 100 Hampshire Down Ewes and 20 Beltex ewes producing top quality pedigree lambs and shearlings for other pedigree breeders throughout the UK, ROI, and Europe. Last year they sold over 60 sheep, many to new local flocks and others for export to the rest of the UK, ROI, and mainland Europe. In addition to the local NI market rams and ewes were sold to GB, ROI, and France and Spain.
Kevin is passionate about flock recording and genomic testing and has seen a tremendous change in the performance of the breed especially in improving the days to slaughter. Hampshire Downs are now one of the quickest breeds to finish and fat levels have fallen dramatically, which makes the breed very appealing to local butchers and consumers.
Allen and his wife Vicky run a small but specialist sheep business with some 25 breeding sheep, of which 15 are pedigree Hampshire Downs. Their Hampshire Down sheep have been recognised for their excellent quality being judged best Irish Hampshire Down flock in 2019; Best Small Flock in the UK Hampshire Down Sheep competition in 2018 and Reserve Flock in the same competition in 2019. Allen is currently Chairman of the Northern Ireland Branch of the Hampshire Down Sheep Society, for which Vicky acts as Secretary.
This initiative was supported through the Agri-Food Co-operation Scheme which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.
Further information on the scheme is available at www.countrysideservices.com