Oct. 28 – Pennsylvania Sheep & Wool Growers Shepherd’s Symposium on Feeding for Performance and Profit – PA Furnace, Penn. – http://www.pasheep.com
Start planning now for the ASI Annual Convention. From the Hill Country to Capitol Hill will take place Jan. 31-Feb. 3, 2018, at the Marriott San Antonio Rivercenter. Details on registration, schedules and speakers are still to come, but attendees can book hotel rooms now by visiting: https://aws.passkey.com/gt/215642451?gtid=1c9f7e5483e1011581b8de0e15d43c2c.
Additional information on the convention can be accessed at http://sheepusa.org/Events_2018Convention as it becomes available.
Shepherds now have a place to find all the latest information on sheep production, industry research conducted at Ohio State, and daily management tips. The recently rebuilt The Ohio State University Extension Sheep Team blog page can be found at http://u.osu.edu/sheep/.
The site is managed by Sheep Team Program Coordinator Brady Campbell and includes contributions from the more than 25 Ohio State faculty and staff who each have unique interests in sustaining the sheep industry. Once at the site, readers will find current management information, a listing of upcoming events, research summaries and a library of resources.
The U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance will offer a free webinar entitled How and When to Go Live on Social Channels on Thursday, Oct. 26, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. mountain daylight time.
In recent months, the major social channels have all launched live features where users can stream live video straight from their phone, tablet or desktop. In this month’s webinar, USFRA will examine various social channels’ live offerings, and go through when and how to “go live” on each channel.
Sheep producers who are considering the use Artificial Insemination to improve their flock genetics might want to consider attending the 2017 Symposium of the Dairy Sheep Association of North America, Nov. 30-Dec. 2 in Orford, Quebec, Canada.
The first day of this year’s symposium will be devoted entirely to AI. Speakers from Canada, Europe and the United States will present on AI techniques used in France, Iceland and Canada, both cervical and laparoscopic, with both frozen and fresh semen. Presenters will also discuss protocols that will improve conception rates and litter size in ewes who have been artificially inseminated.
Furthermore, a large number of dairy sheep producers who have begun using AI to incorporate European genetics into their flocks will be in attendance. Developments in AI techniques, as well as improved availability of internationally-sourced semen, are offering American sheep producers some real opportunities to broaden and improve their breed’s gene pool.
The symposium will be at the Estrimont Suites & Spa in Orford, in southern Quebec just north of Vermont. Attendees can register for just one day (i.e., for the day of AI presentations on Nov. 30th), or for the full symposium – which includes two days of presentations, a wine-and-cheese reception featuring Canadian sheep-milk cheeses, tours of two Quebecois sheep dairies and an optional cheese-making workshop.
For more details on the symposium schedule, go to www.dsana.org.
“I was always acutely aware that there were less women shearers,” photographer Nich Hance McElroy said of photographing women shearers up and down the West Coast for Vogue. But last year, when he began shearing on commercial crews for a shearer and sheep rancher named Robert Irwin, McElroy noticed more and more women working on flocks – many who Irwin actively recruited. Some were already farmers or gardeners themselves, some were tech professionals in the Bay Area with a back-to-the-land mind-set, some were part-time knitters who wondered why it was next to impossible to find local wool. McElroy began photographing them, too.
“I really think, going forward, it’s going to be women doing farm work,” Irwin told me recently by phone from California. “The last five years or so, teaching guys to do this stuff, a lot of them just don’t have the mentality of waking up and thinking to themselves, ‘I’m going to get better at this.’ The women do. They’re more apt to stick with this; they’re more detail-oriented; they’re tougher.”
Wool is one of the world’s most diverse natural fibers. It’s this diversity that has made the United States military the American wool industry’s No. 1 customer.
American Sheep Industry Association Deputy Director Rita Kourlis Samuelson says, “We’re trying to remind people why they use wool. It’s not your grandma’s wool sweater.”
With 18 different characteristics, wool plays an important role in today’s U.S. military.
“Wool is naturally fire resistant, which protects our soldiers when they are exposed to fire hazards. Wool is comfortable in that it breathes. I could go on and on, but there really are so many properties that make it comfortable for a soldier to wear,” says Samuelson.
This week, ASI’s Wool Council hosted a military wool tour in North Carolina and South Carolina with stops at Chargeurs Wool, Burlington Worldwide and Nester Hosiery (known for their all-American brand Farm to Feet).
“We had the wonderful opportunity to explain that we have a good supply of wool that is adequate to meet the military’s specifications,” said ASI Wool Council Chairman Ken Wixom of Idaho. “We have a lot of good, fine wool and we do a good job of producing it for them. This was the perfect way to show that to them first hand.”
Not only is the relationship between the U.S. military and American wool industry an exciting one, it’s also a very important one. And one that all stakeholders involved hope to keep going for years to come.
The United States military is the single largest consumer of American wool in the U.S. and consumes 15 to 20 percent of the annual American wool clip.
To support animal disease traceability and scrapie eradication efforts, the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has provided both metal and plastic ear tags and applicators to sheep and goat producers – at no cost – since fiscal year 2002.
These changes will reduce APHIS tag and applicator costs while still providing sheep and goat producers with a free identification device. APHIS will provide a limited number of plastic tags to producers newly enrolled in the Scrapie Free Flock Certification Program who submit tissues for scrapie surveillance in order to encourage on-farm scrapie surveillance.
The agency will continue to work closely in partnership with states and industry to achieve scrapie eradication.
Penn State Extension along with Buy Fresh, Buy Local Greater Lehigh Valley to host session
ALLENTOWN, Pa. — Farmers who have been selling direct to consumers via farmers markets and/or CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) have noticed a shift in those market channels. For the last few years, farmers markets and CSAs have been stagnant and in some cases shrinking. Are there other market channel opportunities for farmers? Are there techniques we can use to improve customer retention? What are the current trends in local food we can capitalize on?
Penn State Extension along with Buy Fresh, Buy Local Greater Lehigh Valley will host an “Intensive Marketing” program at the Nurture Nature Center, 518 Northampton Street, Easton, Pa., on Dec. 8.
Nick Burton, State of The Soil, Simon Huntley, Small Farm Central and Marilyn Anthony from Temple University Fox School of Business will help to improve and sharpen our marketing skills for this day-long workshop.
— Penn State Extension
Proposals are due online by Tuesday, December 5, 2017 at 11:59 p.m. EST
BURLINGTON, Vt. — The call for applications for 2018 Farmer Grants has been released by the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Program.
Proposals are due online by Tuesday, December 5, 2017 at 11:59 p.m. ET. Funded projects will be announced in March 2018 and projects may begin in the spring.
Northeast SARE Farmer Grants are intended for farm business owners and managers who would like to explore new sustainable production and marketing practices—often through an experiment, trial or on-farm demonstration. Reviewers look for innovation, potential for improved sustainability, and results that will be useful to other farmers.
Awards are capped at $15,000 and projects may address the wide range of issues that affect farming in the Northeast. To search topics that SARE has previously funded, please access the national database of projects at: https://projects.sare.org/search-projects/.
Applicants must work with a technical advisor—typically a Cooperative Extension educator, NRCS staff, university research or extension specialist, private crop consultant, veterinarian, or other service provider—who serve the farmer applicant in a consulting capacity.
Application materials, including detailed instructions and supporting documents, are posted on the Northeast SARE website at http://www.northeastsare.org. Questions about the grants program should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Northeast SARE region is made up of Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Northeast SARE programs are offered to all without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or familial status.