Pics from the 2018 Festival

The 24th annual Sheep & Fiber Festival was held on Saturday and Sunday at the Hunterdon County Fairgrounds in Ringoes.

The festival was presented by the Garden State Sheep Breeders, a non-profit, educational group promoting sheep and wool products in New Jersey.

This year they added two breeds: the Scottish blackface and Valais blacknose, a new breed to the United States, on display courtesy of Stone Manor Farm.

Source and to see the Photo Gallery:

https://www.nj.com/hunterdon-county-democrat/index.ssf/2018/09/for_24_years_nj_sheep_have_had_their_own_day_in_hu.html

 

2018 Contest Results

Breed Display

1st Place Cheviot, American Miniature The Shepherd’s Croft – Toni Keller
2nd Place Scottish Blackface Stone Manor Farm (Kevin & Reni Melvin)/ Swayze Inn Farm (Bob & Diane May)
3rd Place Romeldale/ CVM Swayze Inn Farm (Bob & Diane May)

 

Fleece Show

Sheep Shows

Babydoll Classics Commercial Grade
 Hampshire Jacob Meat (Open)
Romney, White (no show 2018) Romney, Natural Colored (no show 2018) Shetland
 Wool-Fine & Medium Wool-Long

Shepherd’s Lead

Skein Contest

Contact North Country Spinners.

 

Page Updated:  26-Sep-2018

Livestock Conservancy Introduces New Shave ‘Em to Save ‘Em Wool Program

The Livestock Conservancy is hoping to preserve endangered sheep with its Shave ‘Em to Save ‘Em program that encourages fiber artists to work with wool from rare sheep breeds.

Leicester Longwool

Genetic diversity is just one reason to preserve heritage sheep. Heritage breeds have survived through the ages because they are naturally hardy. Of particular interest to fiber artists are the different types of wool that each breed produces. Some have a softer wool that’s excellent for garments, while others have wool that’s more suited to making rugs. Some have white wool that takes well to dyes, while others come in a wide variety of natural colors and patterns.

The goal of Shave ‘Em to Save ‘Em is to put fiber artists in contact with shepherds who produce wool from sheep on The Livestock Conservancy’s list of endangered livestock. When fiber artists register, they will receive a passport that includes a page of information for each breed. Each page will also include space to put a stamp after they purchase wool from a particular breed. There will be a Facebook group and a Ravelry group where members can share pictures of their projects. As fiber artists work their way through the breeds, they will receive prizes for completing projects and reaching various landmarks.

In addition to encouraging fiber artists to try rare wools, the program will also educate shepherds about how to prepare their wool for sale to fiber artists. By helping shepherds market their wool, they will become more financially stable, which helps ensure the future of the sheep.

When shepherds sell raw fleece from rare breeds directly to consumers, they can earn an average of $16 per pound on Etsy.  Fiber can also be sold to fiber artists at fiber festivals that are held around the country. By turning wool into roving, it can be sold to hand spinners or felters for an average of $44 per pound on Etsy, and if they take the extra step of having it spun into yarn, it averages $80 per pound.

More information about the Shave ‘Em to Save ‘Em  Challenge or about sheep breeds on the Conservation Priority List are available on the Livestock Conservancy website.

Source: ASI Weekly September 7, 2018

Final Festival Brochure Available

It’s gone to the printers so Festival time is almost here!  You can get a jump start by viewing or printing the brochure from the website.  Paper copies will be handed out at the gate and will also be available at the Info. Booth in Barn 1 (W Center).

http://njsheep.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/2018-GSSB-Festival-Brochure.pdf

 

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)