July 9 Ohio Sheep Day Offers Insight Into Starting, Expanding Commercial Sheep Production

Grazing sheep with lamb. Photo: Thinkstock.

SALEM, Ohio — With a strong market for lamb and sheep in Ohio, the opportunities for new producers to get into the sheep production business or for existing producers to expand their operations are growing, says a sheep expert with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University.

“The market for sheep and lamb meat across Ohio and the country is dictating that we need more commercial sheep and lamb producers to meet growing consumer demand,” said Roger A. High, executive director of the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association (OSIA) and Ohio State University Extension state sheep program specialist.

“The market demand has created a profitable way for farmers to make more income on their farms for those who have some extra land,” High said. “It’s also a good time for new people to get into the industry.”

Expanding the sheep industry and improving the productivity and profitability of sheep and other small-ruminant livestock farms will be the focus of Ohio Sheep Day July 9.

The daylong program is designed to offer both new and established producers expert tips and techniques on pasture renovation practices and other management processes that can help improve their financial bottom lines and either get started in sheep production or expand their flocks, High said.

The event is sponsored by OSU Extension, OSIA, the Ohio Sheep and Wool Program, the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, the American Sheep Industry, and the Department of Animal Sciences and the Sheep Team at Ohio State.

The program will be led by experts from industry and from OSU Extension, which is the outreach arm of the college. The animal sciences department and sheep team also are part of the college.

The event is from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Rodger Sharp Sheep Farm, 27735 Winona Road, in Salem. The commercial sheep operation, which is owned by the Rodger Sharp family, is an example of how a sheep producer new to the industry has taken progressive steps in terms of management to position his commercial sheep operation for profitability, High said.

“The farm offers participants the opportunity to see how the Rodger family started a new sheep production business that’s very progressive in terms of the facilities that have been constructed to house the sheep,” he said. “The business is also progressive in its pastures renovations, data collection methods and cross breeding.”

Topics to be addressed during the workshop include:

  • New Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and Equipment Technology.
  • Introduction to the Shearwell Data Animal Identification and Management Systems.
  • Sheep Flock Management and Nutrition in a Semi-Confinement Type Barn.
  • Basic Sheep Management Practices for the Beginner or Novice.
  • Key Considerations When Selecting Sheep Equipment.
  • Internal Parasite, Animal Welfare and Animal Behavior Research Report.
  • Approved Practices for Successful Pasture Improvement and Renovation.
  • Working Border Collie Demonstrations.

The event is open to the public, although onsite registration is required. Registration, which includes lunch, is $15 for OSIA members and $25 for nonmembers. Memberships are available for purchase at the time of registration. For information about registration or about the event, contact High at 614-246-8299 or rhigh@ofbf.org, or see ohiosheep.org.

Tracy Turner
For more information, contact: 

Roger A. High