The Ohio Sheep and Wool Program is investing more than $49,000 into sheep and wool promotion, education, research, and producer and youth programs in fiscal 2020-21.
OSWP, funded by a checkoff, received 13 requests for proposals, with 11 of those proposals approved for full or partial funding by the board during its October meeting.
These programs are primarily collaborative efforts to increase the visibility of the Ohio sheep and wool industry to the consumer, as well as to improve the knowledge and research base of sheep, lamb and wool producers.
Every segment of the industry is represented in the funding because every segment of the sheep, lamb and wool industry contributes to the program.
OSWP assesses one-half of 1% based on the value of any sheep or lamb sold by an Ohio producer, and 1 cent per pound of wool produced by an Ohio producer.
These checkoff funds are collected by stockyards, purebred and club lamb sales, county fairs and the Ohio State Fair, wool marketing facilities, and provided by private sales from Ohio sheep- and lamb-producing farms.
Major educational programs funded include the Buckeye Shepherd’s Symposium, Ohio Sheep Day, the Young Shepherd’s Assembly and other educational programs and activities.
Producer-related programs include funding to support a Young Entrepreneurs Educational Program, which includes funding for sheep producers to attend the Howard Wyman Sheep Industry Leadership School.
Funds were approved for a major lamb promotional program at the Ohio State Fair, the long-standing program at the Ohio State Fair Taste of Ohio Café. Also approved was the Hardin County Extension-sponsored Statewide Sheep Production Tour and the Morrow County Extension and Farm Bureau Sheep Production 101 course.
In the realm of promotion, the board approved a proposal from Inspire PR Group for a Holiday 2020 Integrated Communications Campaign, which can be followed through the Ohio Sheep Improvement and Ohio Sheep and Wool Facebook pages.
The board also approved two important research projects, including a study on the use of soy hulls in sheep diets, and a research project that will assist in revising forage fertilizer guidelines for sheep producers.
Other OSWP traditionally funded programs include the Ohio Heartland Cuisine promotional program at the Ohio State Fair, as well as the State FFA Sheep Proficiency Award and several smaller sheep and wool industry programs, including county Farm Bureau and OSU Extension community outreach programs.
For more information, contact the Ohio Sheep and Wool Program at 614-246-8299 or visit ohiosheep.org.
High is executive director of the Ohio Sheep and Wool Program.