The NSN is a producer-driven initiative focused on finding innovative solutions to challenges facing the sheep industry. The NSN works primarily within multi-industry organizations that facilitate collaboration and communication among stakeholders and with government.   



Canadian Federation of Agriculture

The NSN is a member of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA). CFA provides member organizations a voice in a wide-range of issues including international and interprovincial trade, food safety, farm labour issues, rural development and more. 

Business Risk Management Programs & the AgGrowth Coalition

On-farm management cannot address all threats to sustainable food production, and there will always be risks that are out of producers' control. Industry stability depends on providing the security of a strong system of Business Risk Management (BRM) programs. Currently, Canada's agriculture BRM programming is under review. Visit the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada website for existing programs and details of the review.

NSN activities:

The review process includes consultation with industry.  The AgGrowth Coalition was formed to give industry an united voice in ensuring a comprehensive reform of BRM programming for Canadian farmers. The Coalition is comprised of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, the Canadian Canola Growers Association, Grain Growers of Canada, Grain Farmers of Ontario, the National Sheep Network, and the Canadian Horticultural Council.  

NSN is an active participant in the Coalition. Visit the AgGrowth Coalition website for more information and details of activities.

Animal Health and Welfare


There are currently many important animal health and welfare risks that are top of mind for the sheep industry (i.e., Scrapie, vector-borne diseases, Maedi Visna). It is important for the industry to be proactive and ensure it has established effective emergency management systems, a robust approach to animal disease surveillance, prudent antimicrobial use to minimize antimicrobial resistance while maintaining animal welfare to protect the health and well being of Canada's flock, maintain public trust, and ensure the viability of the industry.  The sustainability of Canada's livestock industry is enhanced when these issues are addressed through effective programs and legislation. It will be important for the industry to provide input into program and legislative development to ensure they achieve their intended outcome in addition to be practical at the farm level. 

NSN activities:

NSN members are actively engaged in the working group members of Canadian Animal Health Coalition.  

NSN leadership is also working with other livestock industry leaders who are committed to building a new, industry-government partnership for animal health risk management in Canada. Read an overview of Animal Health Canada below.

Livestock traceability

 Canada's national livestock traceability system protects animal health, public safety and the viability of Canada's livestock industries in the event of an animal health or food safety crisis. Based on three components  - animal identification, premises identification and animal movement - traceability is mandatory under the Health of Animals Act.  More on Canada's national livestock traceability system can be found on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency website. The Canadian Sheep Identification Program (CSIP) is a mandatory industry initiative, which addresses the animal identification component of traceability in Canada's sheep industry.  Amendments to the Canada's livestock traceability regulations are anticipated to be complete in 2019.  These changes will enhance  many aspects of the current legislation, particularly regarding animal movement. You can learn more here

NSN Activities:

NSN members participate in the CSIP working group. The NSN is monitoring the current system and future developments to ensure CSIP is an effective, sustainable and affordable program for the sheep industry, and is engaged in the consultation with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the CFIA regarding current system and progress of regulation amendments.

Sheep Value Chain Roundtable

 The Roundtable brings together key industry and government members to discuss market challenges and opportunities facing the industry as well as develop and implement action plans designed to improve the industry's competitive position.

NSN members currently participate in the Roundtable's activities. You can learn more about the Roundtable here