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Ocala Meat & Sheep Festival
The Meat and Sheep Alliance of Florida hosted its first annual Florida Sheep and Wool Festival at the Greater Ocala Dog Club this weekend. The family even included activities like Wool Spinning and weaving, sheep showmanship workshops, a lamb cook off, and an open sheep show. Winners of the youth senior division had the opportunity to win a belt buckle valued at $100. Shanna Hillman was lucky enough to take one home.
“It felt really good winning my first belt buckle, it’s not my first time winning showmanship but it’s my frist belt buckle so I’m very happy.”
Competitors ranged from age 4 to over 18, and there was just a big of a spread between the animals.
Backyard breeders do all their raising on 5 acres or less of land to produce market lambs. The spinning competitions were meant to encourage local production wool an area that Florida has been lacking. Doug Meyers says that there has been an initiative in florida for good wool... typically coming from the Florida native sheep.
“Here in Florida we have over 10,000 sheep registered by the USDA in their census.”
Few of those sheep produce quality wool. The Florida native sheep set “hoof” in the state when the Spanish settled in st.augustine and have been here ever since...that’s 500 years.Typically a wool sheep is sheared twice a year and has the ability to produce 3 to 4 sweaters. Festival goers came from all corners of the state of florida, meyers hopes that theyleave having learned a thing or two. Festival goers look forward to having a second annual florida sheep and wool festival the second week of April next year. Chris Gilmore, WCJB TV20.
For more information on this organization visit http://msasheep.blogspot.com/
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