Around the States
Wool Classing School Well Received
A full class of 16 students converged on the Old Red School House at Vermont Technical College in Randolph, Vt., on June 24-25 for the first ASI Wool Classing school in the state.
Among the attendees was organizer and Vermont Sheep and Goat Association Director Elaine Fortin. The students – most of whom are small flock, fiber sheep producers – were highly engaged according to ASI Raw Wool Consultant Lisa Surber.
The first morning consisted of lecture and discussion on: wool science; responsibility in wool production; values determining characteristics of wool; and wool contamination. Students went to a shearing site in the afternoon and handled and skirted wool being shorn.
The second day began with a review of things learned from the shearing site as students discussed shearing setup, wool quality improvement and the commercial wool industry.
Attendees were keenly interested in the commercial industry, but ultimately wanted to know how to produce the best product for hand spinners and niche marketing – which is a huge avenue of growth regionally.
Wools in this region are well-sought-after in the hand spinning arenas. There are many active spinners that seek local sources of wool and yarn. Wool producers can command excellent prices for well-skirted, clean wools into these specialty markets.
Purdue University Awards Sheep grants
The Indiana Sheep and Wool Market Development Program, administered by the Office of Agricultural Research at Purdue University, will fund four new projects to promote the state’s sheep and lamb industry.
Funding requests were reviewed at a recent bi-annual meeting of the council. Funding requests are accepted year-round for any program or project focusing on educational, promotional and research efforts supporting Indiana’s sheep industry. The projects accepted for funding are:
• Indiana State Fair sheep shearing contest. This annual event at the Indiana State Fair will recognize shearers in competition and encourage others to become shearers.
• Scottsburg High School lamb carcass evaluation project. This project will allow Scottsburg High School vocational agriculture teachers to use a lamb carcass and cuts for in-class evaluation and identification. The meat will then be used for cooking method evaluations, microbial growth rate and other meat-related experiments.
• Scottsburg High School Family and Consumer Sciences lamb education. This project will allow Scottsburg High School FACS teachers to educate students about lamb as a protein source. Students will learn about lamb production, meat preparation and recipes.
• Indiana Sheep Association meeting and symposium. The annual sheep symposium and association meeting has goals that include educational programming and producer recognition.
Anyone with project ideas for consideration by the Indiana Sheep and Wool Market Development Program may fill out and submit a funding application, which is online at https://ag.purdue.edu/arp/Pages/sheepwool.aspx. The council will consider proposals at its fall meeting in November.