By Roger A. High, executive director, Ohio Sheep and Wool Program
The Ohio Sheep and Wool Program (OSWP), Ohio’s sheep and wool check-off program, is investing over $60,000 in sheep and wool promotion, education, research, industry information, and producer and youth educational programs in fiscal year 2021-22. OSWP received 14 Requests for Proposals for fiscal year 2021-22, with seven of these proposals approved for full or partial funding by the board during its October meeting.
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, Young Shepherd’s Assembly, the Mid-Ohio Shepherd’s Group — Quarterly Mid-Ohio Shepherd’s Educational events, and other related programs and activities.
Producer related programs include supporting a Young Entrepreneurs Educational Program, which includes funding for sheep producers to attend the Trailblazers Tour Industry Leadership School. The youth related program, the OSIA LEAD Council Buckeye Sheep Youth Expo, which is proposed as a major sheep industry youth educational activity in 2022. Also approved for a major promotional program at the Ohio State Fair is the long-standing program at the Ohio State Fair “Taste of Ohio Café.”
Included in the OSWP FY 2021-22 Budget is a commitment to The Ohio State University Animal Sciences Department to assist in the hiring of a Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) for Brady Campbell. In Campbell’s new role as the OSU Small Ruminant Extension Specialist, he will also have a research appointment for sheep research, and will need funding for a GRA to fulfill his research obligations. The commitment from OSWP is to provide funding for that critical need for GRA for him to be successful in his research efforts.
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 community outreach programs. 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 be 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.
For more information, contact the Ohio Sheep and Wool Program at 614-246-8299 or visit the website ohiosheep.org.