- Animals: lamb
- Animal Production: meat processing
The sheep industry is not meeting demand for lamb consumption with over fifty percent being imported from AUS and NZ. The 2013 ASI roadmap identified many changes that need to be made in the industry. One problem is the quality of lambs produced for packers. In fact, the industry faced a major setback due to poor quality lambs last year.
In Ohio, the largest sheep producing state east of the Mississippi, the average farm is only 40 ewes. There is more demand for direct marketed lamb in the greater Cleveland area for groceries stores and restaurants than any one farm can provide. In addition, producers can get more money for live weight on lambs in this market than at the Mount Hope Auction. The problem is getting a group of shepherds producing consistent, high quality lamb. Our group of farmers proposes to create a lamb coop that not only distributes and markets lamb at a profit but assists members in producing the required high quality, consistent lamb demanded.
The coop will provide educational programming on the muscle quality attributes required, conduct carcass ultrasound of lamb crops for acceptance, and educated producers on management, environmental, nutritional, and genetic factors that contribute to muscle quality deficiencies. The outcome will be better meat quality and marketing, leading to profitability, competitiveness, and wholesomeness for the consumers. And, this coop will be housed in the city of Cleveland creating jobs and providing emphasis on both training and education of shepherding in the urban setting.
Small farms cannot afford to invest in the tools that are commonly used in AUS, NZ, UK, and larger US operations. In our region, opportunities to create coops to market directly to groceries stores and restaurants often fail because they cannot deliver even lambs. However, with a coop making technological tools available to producers, better flock management could produce the desired results. So what we are proposing is to implement the value based lamb recommendations of the ASI Roadmap report and by providing producers with production criteria, making ultrasound carcass scanning tools available and affordable to regional producers through a technology coop, and providing a field day to educate them on producing quality product. We propose to create a coop that would make state of the art technology available regionally.
We would purchase ultrasound scanning equipment these tools with the grant moneys and begin providing these services to our farms as a series of test farms to show coop cost savings and to developed criteria, procedures, and protocol, and then make these services available regionally. Our farms represent good test sites as we have winter, spring, and fall lambing represented. We have traditional and untraditional settings with the utility line and urban grazing.
The educational programing would take place at the Miller Farm, The Spicy Lamb Farm, and The Foundry Project. The field day would take place at The Spicy Lamb Farm which is centrally located between the Amish and urban farms.
The expected project outcome will be successful distribution of even sheep, more breeders in the NSIP program, greater ease in collecting and analyzing data for producers, and the affordable use of technology.
Project objectives from proposal:
- Create a lamb co-op that not only distributes and markets lamb but helps producers by providing educational programming on the muscle quality attributes required, conducting carcass ultrasound of lamb crops for acceptance, and educating on genetic factors that contribute to muscle quality deficiencies.
Improve distribution of even sheep, more breeders in the NSIP program, greater ease in collecting and analyzing data for producers, and the affordable use of technology.
Benefit the environment by reducing carbon transportation costs from importing lambs.
Improve economic competitiveness of lamb producers in Ohio by redirecting consumers’ dollars to local providers rather than overseas; enlarging market opportunities for lamb producers with improved product quality; creating jobs for new shepherds, especially in an urban setting; and creating jobs for lamb processors, both meat and wool.
Create opportunities for inner city residents to acquire new skills which can help them be better equipped to handle challenges of life.