Ohio State Extension Rebuilds Sheep Team Blog

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.

Women Shearers Featured in Vogue

“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.”

Read the story at https://www.vogue.com/projects/13535219/women-sheep-shearers-california-oregon-photographs-nich-mcelroy/.

APHIS No Longer Providing Free Plastic Scrapie Tags

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.

After a funding reduction in FY 2012, APHIS used specific, no-year funding (for scrapie and ADT) to continue purchasing the tags and distributing them free of cost to producers. These no-year funds were exhausted in fiscal year 2017. While the Agency remains committed to ADT efforts, beginning Oct. 1 of this year, APHIS is providing only metal tags free of charge to producers and others who handle sheep and goats. Plastic tags and applicators for metal and plastic tags will remain available for purchase directly from approved tag manufactures.

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.

For more information on how to purchase tags and applicators, visit https://www.aphis.usda.gov/animalhealth/scrapie-tags.
Note: The American Sheep Industry Association and other stakeholder groups continue to work with USDA on alternatives to this new policy, including increasing the appropriations designated to the scrapie eradication program.

PA Extension to host farm marketing program Dec. 8

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.

Registration and detailed information to follow soon. For more information contact Brian Moyer at 610-391-9840 or email at bfm3@psu.edu.

— Penn State Extension

Source: https://www.morningagclips.com/extension-to-host-farm-marketing-program-dec-8/

Northeast SARE Invites Farmer Grant Applications

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 northeastsare@uvm.edu.

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.

—Northeast SARE

Source:  https://www.morningagclips.com/northeast-sare-invites-farmer-grant-applications/

NJDA Announces Farm to School Mini Grants

$10,000 in grant money available to enhance Jersey Fresh Farm To School programs

TRENTON, N.J. — New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher has announced $10,000 in competitive mini grants is available to schools or school districts for the purpose of developing Farm to School activities in New Jersey schools. The grant money can be used for the purchase of materials to support school gardens that grow fruits or vegetables, the cost to transport and pay for class trips to New Jersey farms, or the purchase of cafeteria salad bars that will increase the offering of fresh fruits and vegetables in school meals.

“The Farm to School program is a wonderful way for students of all ages to become engaged in activities that help them learn and appreciate more about fruits and vegetables and where they come from,” Secretary Fisher said. “Farm to School programs enhance what already takes place in the classroom and educate students about food and farming.”

Funds have been made available through legislation signed into law in 2014, which allows contributions to the New Jersey Farm to School Program through the Farm to School and School Garden Fund tax check-off. Additional legislation signed in 2014 created the Farm to School Donor Fund, making it possible for private donations to supplement Farm to School activities in the state. Mini grant applications will be open until Dec. 15.

More than 100 types of fruits and vegetables are grown in the Garden State. Opportunities exist for New Jersey farmers to provide agricultural products to school food service departments throughout and beyond the growing season. The object of serving healthy meals in school cafeterias is to improve student nutrition and help students make lifelong, healthy choices.

Farm to School Programs also include school garden activities that teach students where food comes from by growing it themselves. Students benefit by learning the science behind farming and the nutritional value of fresh produce to gain a greater understanding and appreciation of the environment and supporting local farmers. Educators can use school garden programs to teach any subject — math, science, language arts, health and nutrition, art or social studies. In New Jersey, Farm to School Programs promote and create a sense of community for all involved.

A school or school district may apply for a mini grant on behalf of a school(s) that:

  • Currently participates and administers, in good standing, the USDA National School Lunch Program
  • Provides an explanation of how these funds will be utilized to increase Farm to School activities throughout the intended grant period
  • Submits a Letter of Support from the school Principal Administrator stating support for these efforts

For more information on mini grants click here and for information about the New Jersey Farm to School Program, visit www.farmtoschool.nj.gov.

Source: https://www.morningagclips.com/njda-announces-farm-to-school-mini-grants/

 

23rd Annual Dairy Sheep Symposium Nov 30-Dec 2 2017 Quebec

23rd Annual Dairy Sheep Symposium, Nov 30th – Dec 2nd 2017, Estrimont Suites and Spas, Orford (near Sherbrooke), Quebec.

This year’s Symposium, entitled “Profitability in Dairy Sheep Production”, will focus on genetics and nutrition of the dairy sheep flock. The Dairy Sheep Association of North America’s annual symposium travels to a different North American location every year. We are thrilled to be back in Quebec this year, in the middle of a vibrant community of sheep-milk producers and artisan cheesemakers. The 2017 symposium will include discussions on the development of long-term breeding plans, using milk data, the diet of dairy sheep, and the nutrition of youngstock; producer and cheesemaker panels; and presentations from dairy sheep researchers in Canada and the Roquefort region of France. There will also be visits to Quebec dairy sheep and cheesemaking operations — and don’t forget the banquet with dozens of DSANA members’ sheeps-milk cheeses!

For more information see Flyer  or
DSANA website (http://www.dsana.org).

Contacts:
Marie-Chantal Houde (brebislaitierequebec@hotmail.com, 819-578-7234)
Bee Tolman (info@meadowoodfarms.com, 315-655-0623)

 

South Jersey’s largest sheep farm isn’t where you think it is

Near luxury homes, a Moorestown site raises stock for breeding, wool, and market lambs.

JSHEEP16

DAVID MAIALETTI/ Staff Photographer

Charlene Carlisle and her husband, Kenny, pose with their lambs and sheep at Little Hooves Farm, which has a flock of about 300, in Moorestown, N.J.

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In the middle of a fast-developing town known for its desirable zip code is a sheep farm believed to be the largest in South Jersey – and you wouldn’t know it’s there.

Little Hooves farm in Moorestown is where a flock of 300 sheep and lambs thrive mostly out of sight, inside three sprawling dairy barns that decades ago held cows. The sheep have been there for more than a dozen years. Sometimes they can be seen on pastures that border a two-lane country road that’s gradually becoming less peaceful.

The farm is among the last in Moorestown.  One reason sheep farms survive is the state’s ethnic diversity, which drives a demand for the meat, state agriculture experts say.  Muslims, Orthodox Greeks, Hispanics, and some Middle East and Asian immigrant communities favor market lamb — especially during the Easter season and other religious holidays.

“Easter is one of our peak times. But it keeps going with Orthodox Easter, Muslim holidays, and even the Fourth of July, when people can roast lamb on a spit or a grill,” said Charlene Carlisle, a part-time intensive-care nurse at Virtua Hospital who operates the Little Hooves farm off Centerton Road.

Nationwide, sheep inventory has been declining for decades, but New Jersey is enjoying a small uptick.  The state had nearly 15,000 sheep in 2012 and was ranked fifth in the nation in the production of market lamb and mutton in 2015, according to the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture figures. Pennsylvania, however, had a decrease in market sheep in 2015.

 DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer
Sheep gather in one of the fields at Little Hooves in Moorestown.

Little Hooves has carved out a niche in Moorestown while other farms have disappeared. But across the street, workers for Toll Brothers hammer away at a new development of luxury homes, the Mews at Laurel Creek.  The 250-acre farm has an executive office campus on one side and community gardens on the other.

This time of year, the farm contributes to the bustle.

Consumers can buy market lambs and wool products directly from the doorstep of the farm or from the nearby Burlington County Farmers Market.

Carlisle tends to the animals, while her husband, Kenneth, grows mostly hay, soybeans, and corn on the acres they lease from the county under a farmland preservation program, and from several landowners.

“I don’t require much sleep,” she said, laughing. Carlisle also said sheep are “fairly easy” to raise since they only need to be fed twice a day.

Carlisle says the new focus on farm-to-fork and fresh, locally produced meats and vegetables has also helped their business grow.  “There’s definitely an increased interest with people wanting to feel connected, wanting to know where their food comes from,” she said, noting she doesn’t give her sheep any hormones.

She sells market lambs to restaurants and to consumers at the farmers market.

The farm also sells prize-winning sheep for breeding and for so-called gentleman’s farms that use small flocks of sheep to get tax breaks.

 DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer
The Carlisles raise sheep for breeding, wool, and market lambs.

The Carlisles have been farming at this Moorestown site for 30 years, including more than a decade when the couple worked for the Winner dairy farm, which once had 400 Holstein cows on the property.  Now, they raise only sheep, which Carlisle described as more pleasing to residential neighbors who have moved into the area.  “There is less smell and manure, since sheep poop is like rabbit poop,” she said.

Carlisle also markets wool, yarn, and pelts online.

“We’re probably the largest sheep farm around except for the one in North Jersey,” she said.  That farm, Valley Shepherd Creamery, in Long Valley, Morris County, has about 500 milking sheep used in a commercial cheese operation.

Nationwide, there were about eight million sheep and lambs in 1997, and only about 5.3 million this year due partly to decreased demand.  In 1997, New Jersey had 12,900 sheep, and 14,900 by 2012, on 819 farms.

The majority of those farms had fewer than 25 sheep and lambs.  Only a dozen had more than 100.

Among the smaller ones is the Square Key Farm in Pedricktown, Salem County, which has about 70 sheep and lambs.  “I focus on meat lambs that look nice on the table,” said Ed Hall Jr., the owner.  He supplies a few Philadelphia and Delaware restaurants and sells directly to customers who then take the animals to a butcher.

“I’m not struggling, because it’s a unique market,” Hall said.  There also are challenges.  Hall won’t be able to capitalize on the Easter market this year because his ram became sterile and his lambs were born too late.  “I’m not rich, but I’m paying my bills and I’m happy and doing well,” he said.

Dan Wunderlich, a New Jersey Department of Agriculture livestock specialist, said the state had the distinction of being fifth in the nation in the number of sheep and lambs that were slaughtered in 2015 in federally inspected facilities and then marketed.  There were 126,000 market sheep in that category, up 5 percent from the previous year.

That number, the latest available, represents sheep raised in the state for meat along with those imported from other states.

New Jersey “has the market, and the population, and ethnic diversity and relies on Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware, and Maryland for a supply of live animals,” Wunderlich said.

In 2015, Pennsylvania processed only 61,100 sheep for meat, a 15 percent decrease from the previous year, the USDA reported.  Wunderlich said that state likely exports many of its sheep to states like New Jersey that have the diversity and the customers.

Currently, New Jersey has 13 federally inspected sheep and lamb meat processing facilities.  Catelli Brothers in Camden is among them.

Wunderlich said a growing number of farmers also deal directly with consumers, who may take the animals to butchers or a non-regulated facility.  Muslims sometimes purchase the lambs and take them to a special halal butcher.

 As for wool products, Wunderlich said they provide “less of a boon” because consumers often purchase synthetics and washable fabrics.

Carlisle said her wool is sold mostly to consumers interested in warm blankets and others interested “in getting back to natural fibers.”

She said the county farmers market, which opened about 10 years ago, also has helped give her business a financial boost. It is open only on Saturdays, in the summer.

“It gives us a way to educate the public,” she said.

Source: https://www.philly.com/philly/news/new_jersey/New-Jersey-Sheep-farmers-Easter-immigrants-lamb-Moorestown.html

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Impact of Tax Code on Agriculture

WASHINGTON — The House Agriculture Committee has held a hearing to examine how the tax code impacts agricultural producers. Members of the committee heard from a panel of Members of Congress—including Rep. Kristi Noem (SD-at large) and Rep. Lynn Jenkins (KS-2)—from the House Committee on Ways and Means, the committee charged with crafting our nation’s tax code. The Committee also heard from a diverse panel of witnesses including agricultural and tax professionals.

“Both the ranking member and I are CPAs, and many of our colleagues in Congress are small business owners in their own right,” said Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway. “Few business sectors in America are subject to as many unknowns as farming and ranching. With the upcoming potential for tax reform, it is important to highlight the unique challenges of the agricultural industry and explore opportunities within the tax code to better support a vibrant farm sector.

“As with tax reform changes from years past, the devil is in the details. Providing for a simpler, fairer tax code means that many parts of the tax code may have to change, but these individual proposals cannot be evaluated in a vacuum. I look forward to working with Chairman Brady and his colleagues on the Ways and Means Committee as they craft a tax reform package, and I urge all of my colleagues to reserve judgment until they’ve had an opportunity to evaluate a complete package.”

Written testimony provided by the witnesses from today’s hearing is linked below. Click here for more information, including Chairman Conaway’s opening statement  and the archived webcast.

Witness List:
Panel I
Ms. Patricia Wolff, Senior Director, Congressional Affairs, American Farm Bureau Federation, Washington, DC

Mr. Doug Claussen, CPA, Principal, KCoe Isom, LLP, Cambridge, NE

Mr. Chris Hesse, CPA, Principal, CliftonLarsonAllen, LLP, Minneapolis, MN

Mr. Guido van der Hoeven, Extension Specialist/Senior Lecturer, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Raleigh, NC

Dr. James M. Williamson, Economist, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, Washington, DC

Source: https://www.morningagclips.com/the-impacts-of-tax-code-on-agriculture/?utm_content=articles&utm_campaign=NLCampaign&utm_source=Newsletter&utm_term=newsletteredition&utm_medium=email

 

 

 

Horse tests positive for deadly EHM (EHV-1) equine herpes

TRENTON, N.J. — The New Jersey Department of Agriculture has quarantined properties in Hunterdon and Somerset counties after a horse developed highly infectious equine herpes myeloencephalopathy. EHM is the often deadly neurologic form of the Equine Herpes Virus infection. No recent movement had occurred at the farm where the virus was reported prior to this case. The horse was moved into the isolation barn at a local animal hospital the evening EHM was confirmed. Both the horses at the original farm and the hospital are under quarantine.

Nine horses were being treated at the hospital at the time of the incident; several horses were exposed to the ill horse. Seven of these horses will be moved to a remote facility, which also will be placed under quarantine so the hospital can be cleaned and disinfected in order to reopen. Other than the initial case, none of the quarantined horses at either location are showing clinical signs at this time. Both locations are taking the necessary biosecurity precautions to limit the spread of the virus. Temperatures also are being taken twice daily on all quarantined horses.

“The Department took swift action to prevent the disease from spreading to other horses by enacting a quarantine, which stops movement of horses in and out of the properties and puts in place preventive measures to contain the virus,” said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher.

The EHV-1 organism spreads quickly from horse to horse and can cause respiratory problems, especially in young horses, spontaneous abortions in pregnant mares, and the neurologic form of the virus can result in death. The incubation period of EHV-1 is typically 2-10 days. Clinical signs include respiratory disease, fever, nasal discharge, depression, cough, lack of appetite and/or enlarged lymph nodes. In horses infected with the neurologic strain of EHV-1, clinical signs typically include mild incoordination, hind end weakness/paralysis, loss of bladder and tail function and loss of sensation to the skin in the hind end. The virus spreads readily through direct contact with infected materials. While highly infectious, the virus does not persist in the environment for an extended period of time and is neutralized by hand soap, alcohol-based hand sanitizers and sunlight. The virus does not affect humans and other domestic animals, with the exception of llamas and alpacas.

Concerned owners should consult with their veterinarian prior to taking any action as the clinical signs of infection with the neurological form of EHV-1 are common to many other diseases. EHM is a reportable disease in New Jersey. If an owner has a horse exhibiting neurologic signs or suspects Equine Herpes, they are directed to call their veterinarian immediately.

The NJDA Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory provides testing for the neurologic form of EHV-1. For more information, visit www.nj.gov/agriculture/divisions/ah/prog/lab.html or call 609-406-6999.

Source:  https://www.morningagclips.com/horse-tests-positive-for-equine-herpes/