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.
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/
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)
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
|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.
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
Images of heritage breeds available for download at: https://tinyurl.com/ycjd5mdf
Little Hooves Romneys of New Jersey will be donating a white ewe lamb for raffle this year (2018) that will benefit ARBA’s youth. All proceeds will be ear marked for two specific Junior shows, the All American Jr Show and NAILE’s JR Show. Raffle tickets will be sold starting immediately and will continue through until the North East Regional Romney Show in West Springfield, MA (BigE) on September 24th, 2018. Let’s rally together and show support for our ARBA youth.
The Raffle tickets are $5 each or 5 for $20. Anybody wishing to buy or help sell tickets can contact Charlene Carlisle (Little Hooves Romneys) at 856-866-1747 (home) or 609-760-0399 (cell) or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org . Any help would be greatly appreciated. The financial cost of these youth shows are minimal compared to what our youth get in return, however the expense still has to be covered. In past years, donations and raffle sales have supported these shows for our kids and with the help from the Board of Directors, the membership and the public, I feel it can be done again. Please open your hearts and your wallet for this event but if unable to, then show your support by assisting with sales. I will be making up packets with pictures, info and raffle tickets that can be sent directly to your home, everyone has neighbors and friends that would want to buy tickets to help our youth and the future of ARBA.
Little Hooves 845 “Let’s Rally”. She is a twin, RR, white black factored. DOB: 2/2/2018. Sire is SOR 1258. Dam is Little Hooves 362 that goes back to our foundation ram, ToRRpedo, Julian & Moore 703. Grand Sire was Julian & Moore 350 who was Supreme Ram at NAILE in 2004. This is a great genetic package. She will be Futurity nominated. Pictures will be available on web site and Little Hooves FB page. Transportation will be available to BigE, Rhinebeck, and NAILE. Checks can be made out to ARBA but send to me. I will then do a mass mailing of checks/money to ARBA Secretary (JoAnn Mast). Please feel free to call or email with any questions or when you need more tickets.
Thanks in advance for your help… ”Let’s Rally” for Romneys, “Let’s Rally” for our Romney Youth, and “Let’s Rally” for ARBA’s Future.
510 Centerton Rd
Moorestown, NJ 08057
Shetland Wool Week 2018 Patron and hat pattern announced
Introducing the Merrie Dancers Toorie
We are thrilled to announce this year’s Shetland Wool Week patron as Shetland knitwear designer and handspinner, Elizabeth Johnston.
The news was officially launched this morning at the start of the Edinburgh Yarn Festival, where Shetland Wool Week has a stand.
The annual SWW hat pattern, which is now synonymous with the launch of the patron, was also released. This year’s official hat pattern is called ‘The Merrie Dancers Toorie’ and was designed by Elizabeth Johnston. The hat is based on a fisherman’s kep in the Shetland Museum and Archives’ Boat Hall, and features three small patterns, but is not a Fair Isle design.
Elizabeth has lived in Shetland all her life, and like many others who grew up in the islands, has knitted from childhood. Elizabeth bought her first spinning wheel in 1978, which changed her focus from knitting to spinning, and also teaching these skills. She eventually started her own business, Shetland Handspun, which has taken her to many places around the world and she is in high demand as a speaker and instructor.
Elizabeth said: “I have loved designing the Merrie Dancers Toorie. The kep has a dark background with colours that remind me of the northern lights, or ‘merrie dancers’, and a familiar sight to fishermen. You can blend or contrast any colours and I have suggested a variety that use yarns from Jamieson & Smith; Jamieson’s of Shetland; Uradale Yarns and Shetland Handspun.”
We are delighted to have Elizabeth as our new patron. She has a life-time of knowledge about Shetland wool, learned from those who came before and honed through practice. Centuries of Shetland textile craft come together in her work: sheep-rearing, wool processing, dyeing, spinning, knitting, weaving. Perhaps more importantly, she is passing on her skills and knowledge to others through practice-based teaching, just as Shetlanders have always done.
Download your copy of the hat pattern
The Merrie Dancers Toorie pattern can be downloaded for free here or come along to our stand at EYF and pick up a printed copy. Elizabeth will be splitting her time between the SWW stand and also her own stand, Shetland Handspun, so drop by and say hello.
The pattern will also be available from the Shetland Museum and Archives shop and textile outlets in Shetland.
Knit the hat in any of the suggested colour variations, or come up with your own colour scheme, and wear it to Shetland Wool Week 2018 – identify your fellow Wool Weekers and compare hats throughout the week and at the official SWW 2018 photograph!
Remember to share your creations and experiences with us by tagging your photos with #merriedancerstoorie or #shetlandwoolweek2018
We look forward to seeing your toories!
For one week only we’re offering a 20% discount on the Shetland Wool Week 2017 Annual both at Edinburgh Yarn Festival and the online shop. The offer is available from now until midnight 22 March. Please quote code ANNUAL20OFF at checkout.
Best wishes from the Shetland Wool Week team.
- March 17 – West Virginia Small Ruminant Short Course – State Fairgrounds in Lewisburg, W.V. – email@example.com
- March 19 – West Virginia Small Ruminant Short Course – New Agricultural Sciences Building, Evansdale Campus in Morgantown, W.V. – firstname.lastname@example.org
- March 21-22 – Kentucky Beginner’s Shearing School – Versailles, Ky. – Don Ely at email@example.com or 859-257-2717
- April 7-8 – Virginia Wool Handling School – Blue Ridge Community College in Weyers Cave, Va. – John Benner at firstname.lastname@example.org or 540-245-5750, ext. 2
- April 20-21 – Maryland Shearing School – Westminster, Md. – Aaron Geiman at email@example.com
- April 20-21 – Tennessee Shearing School – National Sheep Shearing Academy in Murfreesboro – Warren Gill at 615-478-3828 or www.lambshoppe.com
- April 28 – 109th Annual Connecticut Sheep, Wool and Fiber Festival Vernon, Conn. – http://www.ctsheep.com
- May 3-4 – Animal Agriculture Alliance Stakeholders Summit – Arlington, Va. – www.animalagalliance.org/summit
- May 4-5 – Maryland Sheep Festival All-Breeds Sale – Frederick, Md. – http://sheepandwool.org/festival/ewe-show-sale/
- May 5-6 – 45th Annual Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival – West Friendship, Md. – www.sheepandwool.org
- May 12-13 – New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival – Deerfield (N.H.) Fairgrounds – https://nhswga.org/nh-sheep-wool-festival
- May 26-27 – 44th Annual Massachusetts Sheep and Woolcraft Fair – Cummington (Mass.) Fairgrounds – http://www.masheepwool.org
- June 1-3 – ASI Wool Classing Course – Randolph Center, Vt. – http://vtsheepandgoat.org/event/register-asi-wool-classing-course/
- July 20-21 – National Katahdin Sale – Fishersville, Va. – https://www.katahdins.org/calendar/
- Sept. 29-30 – 30th Annual Vermont Sheep & Wool Festival – Tunbridge, Vt. – http://www.vtsheepandwoolfest.org
Updated: March 17, 2018