Sustainable Sheep Award Winner
James Horn in Leicestershire
Leicestershire-based sheep farmer, James Horn, has won the 2023 VetPartners Sustainable Sheep Farm of the Year award.
The award recognises strides made by sheep farmers in 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.
Mr Horn was nominated by his vet, Gina Rigby from Cross Counties Farm Vets. A first-generation sheep farmer, Mr Horn is based in Lutterworth, Leicestershire. He has worked exceptionally hard over the past five years to build 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.
Mrs Rigby explains that animal health and welfare have been at the centre of Mr Horn’s enterprise and he is of the opinion that farmers and vets can improve this if they work in close partnership.
“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,” she says. “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 (blood tests and faecal egg counts), veterinary advice and good management help keep antibiotic and anthelmintic usage low."
Mrs Rigby says: “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.”