Sunday, October 21, 2012

Dairy Sheep Association holds annual symposium

The Dairy Sheep Association of North America (DSANA) held its 18th annual symposium recently in Sterling, Virginia. The symposium was attended by people from all over the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

Wine and sheep cheese:
a perfect combination
The symposium included two days of educational presentations and a tour day. Shepherd's Manor Creamery in New Windsor, Maryland, hosted one of the tour groups. The other tour group visited Everona Dairy in Rapidan, Virginia.

The dairy sheep industry in North America is not very large, but there is potential for growth, as most sheep cheeses are imported from Europe. Sheep dairying lends itself well to farmstead cheese production and direct marketing at farmers' markets, wineries, gourmet food stores, and white table cloth restaurants. Ewe's milk is superior, yielding more cheese than either cow or goat's milk. The milk can also be made into soap or other dairy products, such as yogurt.

East Friesian ewe lambs
There are two breeds of dairy sheep in the United States:  East Friesian and Lacaune. Most sheep dairies milk ewes of these breeds or crosses. Milking of ewes begins when lambs are removed at one day of age or after being allowed to nurse their dam for 4 weeks. Sheep do not produce as much milk as goats or cows, but the milk is superior and lamb sales contribute more to the income of the dairy enterprise. 

Visit the web site of the DSANA

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