Ontario Sheep Farmers is introducing a new award

Jeff DeJong is the inaugural recipient of the Ontario Sheep Farmers (OSF) Emerging Leader Award.

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The new award celebrates and recognizes younger OSF members who demonstrate social responsibility, leadership and innovation and make notable contributions that have a positive impact The Ontario sheep industry.

“Jeff started as a shepherd for another sheep farmer and slowly began to build his own flock,” said John Hemsted, OSF president. “As his flock grew, he also completed the OSF Master Shepherds course.”

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DeJong’s nominator said she is someone who listens and learns from others, is willing to share her experiences and comes to the table with new ideas. DeJong was an active member of District 7, hosting farm tours and attending numerous educational days.

Luke and Jenny Carnaghan were named Outstanding Shepherds, a designation that recognizes operators who have made significant contributions to the advancement of Ontario’s sheep industry.

The Carnaghani family run a successful sheep operation and have recently built a state-of-the-art barn. They are charter members of Trillium Lamb Incorporated, serve on many agricultural organizations in and outside the sheep industry, and are active members of major flock operators.

“It’s part of Durham Farm Fresh and they’ve hosted numerous tours of their operations and are real ambassadors for the sheep industry and agriculture in general,” Hemsted said.

The winning students

OSF had two candidates for its undergraduate scholarship, and the board chose to award both. Applicant Madeleine Cullen received the Memorial Fund Industry Leader Award. She submitted an essay on biosecurity with her application.

Funded by donations in memory of Ontario sheep industry leaders, the award is open to applicants who wish to further their leadership development in the Ontario sheep industry.

Cullen is a first-year undergraduate environmental science student at the Ontario Agricultural College. She has been an active member of 4-H since 2015 and has been a youth leader of the sheep club for one year. She volunteers at her church, supports fundraising for refugees, shows sheep at local fairs and will be competing at the Royal Agricultural Show this month.

Chloe Pyke also received the OSF Undergraduate Scholarship. Pyke attends Olds College in the agricultural management degree program and has submitted an article titled “Annual versus accelerated lambing – which works best for mine” to be published in the Winter 2022 OSF Sheep News. In addition, Pyke has been a member of several 4-H clubs, was the 2019 college representative for the Sheep and Goat Club, volunteered at church, fundraiser, horse camp counselor, yearbook club member, and hockey player

Breeding awards

The Ontario GenOvis Recognition Awards highlight breeders in the GenOvis genetic evaluation program who apply good genetic practices to improve genetic gain.

Laura Mosley of Rising Oak Dorsets took first place in the Maternal Breed Award competition with her Dorset lamb’s genetic selection index of 91% and excellent on-farm data entry on a total of 89 to 72% of lambs measured for muscle and fat.

Icelandic breeder Clara Leahy of Leahy Hill Farm came in second with her genetic selection of 90% lambs and the use of young rams as sires.

Frank and Ned Cursio, Dorset breeders with Cursio Farms and Arkell Valley, came third with an excellent percentage of graded lambs and using a low number of ewes bred per ram to preserve genetic diversity.

Rideau breeder Shelagh Finn of Lamb Lady Farms took first place in the Prolific Breed Award with an average genetic selection index of 95.6% for her lambs. Fellow Rideau breeder Sean McKenzie of Tulach Ard Farms came second with a low number of lambs per ram to keep genetic diversity high.

Wayne Kreklewich, Rideau and Romanov breeder at Craigmore Farms, placed third for preserving genetic diversity and increasing genetic progress by using young rams as sires.

Stonehill Sheep’s Paul Dick scored top marks in the Terminal Breed award. The Suffolk breeder has an outstanding 100% lamb weight, muscle and fat rating and uses young rams and a low number of bred ewes per ram to maximize genetic gain.

Dick also sells rams and buys genetics from outside to create genetic linkages with other flocks.

Bill and Lynne Duffield of Codan Suffolks took second place with 100% of lambs graded using young rams to increase genetic gain and a high genetic average of 95% for lamb selection index. I also sell genetics to other barns.

Todd Sheep Company’s Keith Todd completed the top three in the category with a 93% rating for on-farm data collection for his Ile-de-France, Southdown and Suffolk sheep.

Cross Productivity: Ewe performance was awarded to Earl Brubacher, out of the Brubacher ewe, for his pound of lamb weaned per ewe based on 181 lambs considered.

Mark and Betty Bearinger of Fare Vewe Acres with 391 lambs and Todd Payne of Asphodel Sheep Company with 297 lambs placed second and third respectively. Ontario Sheep Farmers is introducing a new award

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