2017 Howard Wyman Sheep Industry Leadership School
The National Lamb Feeders Association has chosen the Mid Willamette Valley of Oregon for the 2017 Howard Wyman Sheep Industry Leadership School. Based in Albany, Oregon (known as the grass seed capital of the world) and held in March during the areas peak production time, the school will provide sheep producers from across the country an in depth look at the unique grass fed sheep operations and marketing systems as developed and practiced in the Pacific Northwest. The Oregon Leadership School team is made up of a wide age range of small and large producers engaged in a variety of operations.
1. Improve understanding of forage based sheep production
2. Provide details about year-round lambing program
3. Showcase both large and small sheep operations
4. Learn methods of year-round pasture rotation
5. Present marketing techniques for producers to sell their own grass-fed lamb
6. Learn from and increase networking among industry members
Upon arrival, students will gather in the hotel’s event room, which has been set up trade-show style with producer related information and industry representation that will be working with the school. The program will include participant introductions and an informal dinner. The following two days (all within a 70-mile radius of the hotel) will be visits to a startup sheep dairy, a full service fiber mill and yarn shop, a three-year old state of the arts harvest facility, a vineyard grazing operation, a premier Hampshire breeding operation, a grass seed warehouse and a variety of both large and small sheep growing, shearing and sheep equipment operations.
NATIONAL LAMB FEEDERS ASSOICATION,
NSIIC 2016 GRANT AWARD RESULTS REPORT-
APRIL 2018 Project Title: 2017 Howard Wyman Sheep Industry Leadership School
Project Contacts: National Lamb Feeders Association Jodie Anderson, Executive Director
The National Lamb Feeders Association chose the Mid-Willamette Valley of Oregon for the 2017 Howard Wyman Sheep Industry Leadership School (HWSILS).
Based in Albany, Oregon the event was held in March during the area’s peak production time. The school provided sheep producers from across the country an in-depth look at the unique grass-fed sheep operations and marketing systems developed and practiced in the Pacific Northwest.
The Oregon Leadership School team was made up of a wide age range of small and large producers engaged in a variety of operations. The goal for the 2017 HWSILS was to provide a thorough overview of the sheep and wool industry in the Northwest, including touring a sheep dairy, evaluating fall lambing, vineyard grazing, grass-fed harvest and fabrication along with visits to small and large sheep operations.
Additionally, the program topics were designed to educate and support young producers entering the sheep industry on the western-region management practices and concepts that could be utilized in their own businesses.
Program Objectives and Summary: The planning and implementation committee for the 2017 HWLS developed a program and itinerary specifically highlighting young producers who are entering the industry, either as start-up entrepreneurs, or through generational transitions. Year-round pasture rotation programs, grassfinished lamb operations, along with small scale direct marketing and alternative production businesses were all featured as part of the program. All these themes have been a priority for the industry and/or suggestions for program topics from previous school participants.
1. Showcase the lamb industry in the Northwest – including large, small and alternative operations. a. Magruder Farms - sheep dairy experience: i. Attendees visited Magruder Farms, a grazing-based sheep dairy. They learned about milking sheep, rations and production. An interesting by-product of this business model is that the sheep’s wool is used to produce natural insulation products. b. Snow Peak Fiber Mil and Yarn Shop: i. Attendees toured this textile manufacturing facility that processes wools, mohairwool blends and fibers from customer-owned material into a variety of products for their customers to sell. The tour provided participants an opportunity to experience the milling process and view processes including washing/scouring, blending and spinning. c. King Estates Vineyard and Winery:
2 i. Attendees toured the winery and learned about King Estate’s environmentallyconscience philosophies and how they incorporate vineyard grazing into their practices. d. Grass-seed Cleaning Warehouse: i. Another business that ties directly to the Oregon lamb industry is growing grass-seeds for the domestic and export markets. Participants toured a warehouse/plant that cleans the grass-seeds that can then be sold internationally and domestically. They also learned how producers in the Northwest can use pastures for grazing and growing grass-seed.
2. Provide information on forage-based sheep production practices, year-round lambing and pasture rotation. a. Nichols Livestock and Wahl Livestock Businesses: i. During visits to these locations school attendees learned about winter lambing and toured shearing facilities as well as mobile working chutes. They also viewed working facilities, sheep trailers, and electric fencing products. b. Ayers Lane: i. Participants visited the Ayers Lanes business where they learned about irrigation, improved pastures and electronic sorting methods. c. Hubbard Hampshires: i. Group toured and learned about a breed specific Hampshire program, related to seed-stock business and how it relates to the lamb industry. d. Panel Discussion: i. The group listened and participated in a panel discussion on lamb feeding, custom grazing in the Willamette Valley and the challenges of getting started in the sheep grazing business.
3. Learn about a Farm to Fork – fully integrated lamb business model a. School participants toured Anderson family’s Kalapooia Valley Grass Fed Processing Facility. The plant was built in 2013 to support the Anderson business plan of controlling their lamb business from farm to fork. The Andersons breed and raise their own lambs while also working with other producers to support their lamb business. The next step in the process is then to market and sell their end products into retail and foodservices. Part of the synergy with this business plan is reduced transportation and minimal stress before processing.
4. Present marketing techniques for producers to sell their own grass-fed lamb a. Panel Discussion: i. The group listened and participated in a panel discussion on marketing techniques with direct marketers and chefs to share ideas about how to direct market their lamb in the current environment.
How the Industry Benefitted and Might Continue to Benefit from this Grant Initiative:
The industry continues to benefit from the Howard Wyman Sheep Industry Leadership School. Participants learn annually about different business entities, models and programs that can and do support their own businesses. As the industry continues to evaluate its future and how it can continue to grow and be profitable, it is imperative that programs like this stay on course and continue to educate new and existing producers to support their participation in the industry.