Chef Ian Knauer Will Hold Cooking Demos at The Festival

Once again we’re lucky to have Chef Ian Knauer giving cooking demos at the Festival.  He starts cooking at 10AM on Sunday in the Ramsburg Building.  You can learn more about him and browse recipes on his website: http://ianknauer.com/

 

 

Breed Display Exhibitors Finalized with 2 New Breeds

This year we will have 2 breeds that haven’t been displayed at our Festival in prior years: Scottish Blackface and Valais Blacknose!

The Valais Blacknose is new to the US and the sheep on display (courtesy of Stone Manor Farm) is the 1st in NJ!  Freddie is an F1 wether (50% Scottish Blackface, 50% Valais Blacknose) born this year and part of the Breed Up program in the US.  Scottish Blackface sheep are first preference for use in the program as they were one of the breeds used originally to develop the Valais Blacknose (Leister Longwool and Lincoln are 2nd and 3rd preference breeds for the program).   Since animals can’t be imported to the US, semen from Blacknose sheep in other countries (Europe) is used on US Scottish Blackface ewes to produce a  hybrid.  After 5 generations the resulting sheep are 97% Valais Blacknose.

F1 (50% Valais)
F2 (75% Valais)
F3 (88% Valais)
F4 (94% Valais)
F5 (97% Valais)

 

Valais Blacknose Sheep Introduced in North America 

 

 

Got Fleece?

 

Hey local fiber farmers, let’s make this year’s GSS&F Fleece Show the best ever! Bring your skirted fleeces for either the Show or the Sale, or both. New to fiber farming? Enter your fleeces for the Show to receive helpful insights and feedback from our Fleece Judge or attend the Fleece Skirting Class. Register online at www.njsheep.net/festival/contests/fleece

Montana Researchers Pioneer Using Wool for Erosion Control

The stuff of socks, sweaters and high-tech underwear now has yet another use, according to a Montana State University study: revegetating roadsides to prevent erosion.

At a road cut along Highway 287 near Three Forks, Mont., healthy patches of native grasses are a testament to the lasting benefits of using wool, said Rob Ament, a research scientist at the Western Transportation Institute in MSU’s Norm Asbjornson College of Engineering.

When Ament’s research team began the project four years ago, they suspected that wool might have advantages over the straw and shredded coconut hull used in traditional erosion control blankets, which buffer slopes against sun and rain until seeds germinate and plants take hold. The results of the recently concluded study, however, surprised him.

“We were astonished by the vigorous plant growth,” Ament said during a recent visit to the site.

At the square-meter plots that received erosion blankets made of wool blended with straw, the team observed three to four times more perennial grasses – a result Ament called “stunning.”

Eli Cuelho, a former research engineer at WTI, also contributed to the project, as did Stuart Jennings and Monica Pokorny at KC Harvey Environmental, a Bozeman-based consulting firm specializing in reclamation. Pokorny, who now works as a plant materials specialist at the Bozeman office of the Natural Resources Conservation Service, worked with Ament to develop the wool products and conduct the field trials.

Revegetating disturbed ground along roadsides is required by various laws to prevent takeover by noxious weeds and runoff of sediment, which can harm fish and other aquatic life, and it also contributes to the longevity of the roadbed by reducing pooling water, according to Phil Johnson. He oversaw roadside reclamation for the Montana Department of Transportation for 25 years before retiring in 2017. Johnson provided guidance for the project, which received an MDT grant, and was “very pleased,” he said.

Prior to the experiment, MDT had seeded the road cut in a traditional manner with a seed drill. But the plants on the exposed, west-facing slope had difficulty surviving, and the agency recommended the road cut for the experiment, according to Ament.

“We picked a really harsh site,” Ament said. “We didn’t want it to be easy.”

Some erosion-preventing wool products were available internationally, Ament said. But they were prohibitively expensive to ship and weren’t designed specifically for revegetation. “We had to be creative and work with wool producers here in Montana,” he said.

Ament and Pokorny traveled to three Montana mills and worked with them to produce shredded wool, which was then sent to a Minnesota manufacturer with the specialized equipment for blending the wool with straw to produce the erosion blankets. The researchers then seeded the Highway 287 road cut with native grasses and laid down the wool erosion blankets side by side with various other erosion blankets. They observed the site periodically and measured the growth of the grasses during the course of three years.

“We don’t know what mechanisms, exactly, give wool an advantage,” Ament said.

He suspects that the wool holds more moisture for a longer period. And wool, which is about 17 percent nitrogen, likely has a fertilizing effect on the plants as it slowly biodegrades. Ament said that wool also appears to adhere better to soil on steep embankments.

Ament noted that if wool were widely adopted for erosion control, it could support local manufacturing of the blankets as well as create a significant new market for Montana’s wool growers. Low-grade wool that is otherwise discarded could potentially be used.

Source: Montana State University (from ASI Weekly July 13, 2018)

Youth Ambassador Program

The Garden State Sheep Breeders organization is proud to announce the introduction of the Garden State Sheep Breeders Youth Ambassador Program. Part of our  mission as stewards of the sheep community is to develop and grow our sheep leaders of tomorrow. The program’s goal is to empower the selected candidate with the knowledge, skills and aspirations necessary to develop them into an effective advocate for the Garden State Sheep Breeders. The program will seek to strengthen and expand upon the chosen candidate’s leadership abilities so that they may serve as a positive role model while promoting sheep, build meaningful relationships and support the sheep industry.

For details and an application see the Youth Ambassador Program page.

Columbia Association Announces Video Contest

“Youth in the sheep industry can combine current technology with their passion for Columbia sheep,” says Sara Hildebrandt, President of the Columbia Sheep Breeders Association of America. “It is why the CSBA is sponsoring a program for youth to create videos of their Columbia sheep operation. We are in a day and age where it is easy to take video with the phone in their pocket when they go to the barn. Getting them to promote Columbias and combine this with technology is a progressive thing to do for the sheep industry.”

The program – a first for the association – has at its core the purpose to produce video suitable for public viewing on YouTube and Columbiasheep.org related to Columbia sheep.

Divisions and premiums are the following:

  • Promotion of the breed
  • Promotion of lamb and/or wool
  • Promotion of your own operation

Prizes in each category are $100 for first place, $75 for second place, $50 for third place, $40 for fourth place and $30 for fifth place.

To qualify to win, submissions from junior members only are to be in the form of a link to the video on YouTube, in the form of an iMovie, or .mpg file submitted by midnight EST on June 10, 2019, to dkloostra@gmail.com. Multiple submissions are allowed and all video must be original work of the junior member.

To learn more go to www.columbiasheep.org for rules and judging information.

All videos become the property of the Columbia Sheep Breeders’ Association upon submission. Timing of the contest began with the kick-off at the National Junior Columbia Sheep Association Show in Gillette, Wyo., on June 14 and ends with final judging in June 2019, prior to the 2019 National Columbia Sheep Show and Sale.

“This contest provides junior members the opportunity to showcase so many more diverse aspects of their creativity and talents along with their love for Columbia sheep,” says Manda Geerts, coordinator for the Junior Columbia Association. “We hope juniors blow us away with what we will see and hear.”

From: ASI Weekly June 22, 2018

International Heritage Breeds Week 2018 – Giving Rare Breeds their Jobs Back

Pittsboro, NC, USA  [17 May 2018] – Nearly one in five of the world’s farm animal breeds are at risk of extinction1. The reason? They’re underemployed.

For thousands of years, farmers have carefully bred and raised diverse animals perfectly suited to their corners of the world. These animals are well adapted to local environments and are designed to produce products that meet the needs of local communities. But over the past century, farming in many parts of the world has evolved into highly specialized operations designed to produce as much meat, milk, eggs, fiber, or other products as quickly as possible in order to maximize efficiency. For example, in 1927, the average American Holstein milk cow produced less than 4,500 pounds of milk per year. In 2017, she produced just shy of 23,000 pounds of milk² – more than five times that of just 90 years ago!

While numbers like these are impressive, placing too much emphasis on productivity sometimes leads to traits like drought tolerance, parasite resistance, mothering abilities, fertility, foraging instincts, and even flavor being diminished. Meanwhile, the populations of many slower growing but still incredibly valuable “Heritage” breeds have crashed. Livestock like Wiltshire Horn sheep, Gloucestershire Old Spots pigs, and Oberhasli goats can’t keep up and have now found themselves on endangered lists of conservation organizations around the world. Although Heritage livestock and poultry may not be as efficient as mainstream breeds, they are important sources for valuable genetics and traits, protecting them from being lost. In addition to animals known for food and fiber, rare equines have seen sharp declines, particularly over the past decade. But there is still hope!

20-26 May 2018 has been designated by fifteen livestock conservation organizations around the world as International Heritage Breeds Week to raise awareness about the status of rare farm animals, highlight examples of how they are still relevant to family farms, and bring choice to the marketplace. Breeds like Leicester Longwool sheep, Caspian horses, Tamworth pigs, Aylesbury ducks, Silver rabbits, Spanish chickens, and more than 1,400 other breeds worldwide need our help.

What’s the best way to support these breeds? By giving them a job! Many livestock conservation organizations have compiled directories to help consumers locate products from breeds historically used in their local regions. By purchasing eggs from Heritage chickens, pork from Heritage pigs, milk from Heritage cattle, or wool from Heritage sheep, you encourage farmers to raise more animals, and can discover the difference in the kitchen and on the loom for yourself. According to acclaimed French chef and proponent of Heritage breeds Antoine Westermann “An animal who has pure roots, the life, and food he deserves, offers it back to us in his meat.” By establishing their spot in the marketplace, biodiversity for these Heritage breedsis secured.

To learn more about International Heritage Breeds Week, how you can get involved, and where to locate Heritage breed products in your local area, visit HeritageBreedsWeek.org or call +1 (919) 542-5704. 

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Once a breed goes extinct, its genetics are lost to history – genetics that farmers may need in the future to combat outbreaks of disease, a changing climate, or genetic issues that arise from livestock being too closely related to each other. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, one domesticated livestock breed is lost every month.¹

Sources:
¹ FAO. (2015). The Second Report on the State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. Retrieved from www.fao.org/3/a-i4787e.pdf
² USDA- National Agricultural Statistics Service (2018). Retrieved from https://www.nass.usda.gov/Publications/Todays_Reports/reports/mlkpdi18.pdf

Participating Organizations

 

 


Ryan Walker
Marketing & Communications Manager
The Livestock Conservancy™
​rwalker@LivestockConservancy.org
M: PO Box 477, Pittsboro, NC 27312
P: (919) 542-5704 ext. 102

Editor’s Note:

Images of heritage breeds available for download at: https://tinyurl.com/ycjd5mdf
Interviews available upon request.