This course is designed to guide shepherds new to the wool industry through the process of producing and marketing their fiber. The class will begin with a review of the various types of wool sheep, the climates for which they are best suited, and a discussion of how classes of fleece are best used. This portion will conclude with a breakout activity; small groups will be asked to “design” a crossbreed that will present the best aspects of each breed and result in a highly marketable fleece.
The next area of focus will be production and management systems. At the end of this portion, you will be able to identify the merits and drawbacks of various bedding and feeding systems, lambing times, and cross-breeding programs.
You will explore practical aspects of fiber production, including methods of shearing and processing and how to find professionals to help you get the best product out of your wool. Then, we'll look at the various uses for wool outside handspinning and fiber arts. We will discuss how to set prices, when to change prices, and why prices change depending on the stage to which the wool has been processed. Information will be given on grants, small business loans, tax breaks, and Ag Extension programs.
The final portion will focus on networking, branding, and product placement. We'll practice building a website, registering for a breed association, creating a social media account, exploring Ravelry, and searching for local guilds, yarn shops, and knitting groups.
At the end of the day, you will understand how to raise a quality flock of wool sheep, produce a marketable product, and make a profit in the right market segment for them.
Class size is unlimited. Refreshments and materials will be provided. Reserve your spot today!