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Call for farmers: Producer’s Open Meeting scheduled

Don Brown looks out over his flock of ewes.

Amber Kanuckel

There’s no denying the demand for lamb is growing, particularly along the East Coast and anywhere else ethnic populations are swelling. To meet that demand, there are several major efforts underway to help farmers grow their flocks or even to help them get started if they’ve never kept sheep before.
And there is definitely room for more sheep breeders, particularly here in Holmes County, where farmers are looking for market animals that can be raised by people working full-time jobs or animals that can be raised on smaller plots of land.
According to the USDA Sheep and Goat Report, released in January of this year, the national lamb inventory fell by two percent from 2016 numbers. In other words now is the time to get into the sheep business, expand one's flock, or adopt new marketing and husbandry practices.
That is why Don Brown, a local farmer active in the sheep community, is inviting anyone who is interested to the inaugural Producer’s Open Meeting in Mt. Hope.
“This meeting is for commercial sheep operators, small-time farms with anywhere from five to 15 or 20 ewes at their farm, people that would like to get into the business,” he said.
What topics will be up for discussion? According to Brown, that is totally up to the attendees. The meeting is designed to be an open forum where breeders and anyone else with an interest can bring up their own ideas about education, marketing, husbandry or any other issues that a market lamb producer might face.
“The idea for this deal is,” Brown said, “over the years people have been talking about sheep and sheep organizations in the area. Let’s see if we can do some good on our marketing. Let’s do some good on some education and that sort of thing. We need to be talking about pasture management, maybe, and we need to be talking more rotational grazing. Do we want to discuss feed lots? Are there any ways we can do things to help make life better for everyone?”
According to Brown, this meeting and the meetings to follow in the coming weeks are all about the sharing of ideas with one another. Brown wants the local sheep community to come together to develop educational resources, schedule pasture walks and take part in other valuable activities.
The first meeting will be Tuesday, May 16 at 6:30 p.m., giving everyone a chance to get in on the ground floor of a new producer’s group. The meeting will be held at the Mt. Hope Event Center. This meeting is open for anyone to attend and to bring friends and ideas about the lamb industry, marketing or any other topic they'd like to discuss.
Future meetings will be on the third Tuesday of the month in June and July, also at 6:30 p.m. Mark calendars for June 20 and July 18. Plans for additional meetings and other activities will be made during the three initial meetings.
For questions or comments about the Producer’s Open Meeting, call Brown at 330-897-4320.

Published: May 16, 2017
New Article ID: 2017170519973