By Roger A. High, executive director, Ohio Sheep and Wool Program
The Ohio Sheep and Wool Program, which is Ohio’s sheep and wool check-off program (OSWP), is investing over $49,000 into sheep and wool promotion, education, research, and producer and youth programs in fiscal year 2020-21. OSWP received 13 requests for proposals with 11 of these proposals approved for full or partial funding by the board during its October meeting.
These programs are primarily collaborative efforts that will increase visibility of the Ohio sheep and wool industry to the consumer as well as improve the knowledge and research base of our sheep, lamb and wool producers. The OSWP Board of Directors is committed to assuring every segment of the industry is represented in the funding since every segment of the sheep, lamb and wool industry contributes to the program.
OSWP assesses one-half of one percent based on the value on any sheep or lamb sold by an Ohio producer and $0.01 per pound of wool produced by an Ohio producer. These check-off 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.
OSWP approved programs will benefit every segment of the Ohio sheep industry. Major educational programs funded include the Buckeye Shepherd’s Symposium, Ohio Sheep Day, the Young Shepherd’s Assembly and other educational related 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 that influence every segment of the sheep industry. A study that research’s 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 but not limited to 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 the website ohiosheep.org.