Tue, Sep 8, 2020 8:00 PM – 9:15 PM EDT
Presenter: Jeannette Beranger, Senior Program Manager The Livestock Conservancy
Producer Panelists: Leslie Johnson, Brian Larson, and Oogie McGuire.
Host: Dr. Jay Parsons, Department of Agricultural Economics University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Time: 8:00 PM Eastern; 7:00 PM Central; 6:00 PM Mountain; 5:00 PM Pacific
In this webinar we will explore the amazing diversity of heritage sheep breeds found in America and how many are making a remarkable comeback as interest grows in small scale shepherding and in natural fiber arts. We will learn about the decades long effort to bring rare sheep back from the brink of extinction and current efforts to develop new markets for their products. Join us in this discussion about the conservation work and then listen to experiences of several rare breed sheep farmers as they recount the journey they have undertaken with their amazing sheep breeds.
This webinar is made possible with funding support from the Let’s Grow Committee of the American Sheep Industry Association.
Registration = https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/2643229660935774223
Download a copy of the Livestock Conservancy’s new brochure on heritage sheep breeds from their website.
The brochure explains the benefits of raising heritage sheep and lists the sheep that are currently on the Livestock Conservancy’s endangered list.
Their website also provides a number of other useful tools for selecting the right breed for you.
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.
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