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BBC Wales's Steve Jones
"In recent years farmers have been forced to call in shearing contractors"
 real 28k

Thursday, 20 April, 2000, 10:32 GMT 11:32 UK
Move to keep shearing skills alive
Sheep shearer
Sheep shearing is an important skill for farmers
A new scheme has been launched to ensure the survival of sheep shearing in mid Wales.

The recent crisis in the farming industry has led to a drop in the number of people learning the traditional country skill.

Now new training courses - backed by European funding - are to begin in Newtown.


Farmer and sheep
New courses will ensure the tradition survives
For many years, every Welsh farm had at least one worker who could shear sheep - a vital job for the health of the animal, as well as providing extra income for the farmer.

But the industry's decline in recent years has seen the number of shearers plummet dramatically, forcing many farmers to call in shearing contractors from Australia and New Zealand.

Now, fearing that the traditional skill is dying out, the Wool Marketing Board and a number of agricultural colleges have joined forces to train a team of 30 shearing instructors.

They will be holding shearing courses throughout Wales this summer.

It is hoped the scheme will ensure the survival of one of the country's oldest country crafts.

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