Jeff DeJong is the inaugural recipient of the Emerging Leader Award from the Ontario Sheep Farmers (OSF).
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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 positively impact Ontario’s sheep industry.
“Jeff first started as a shepherd for another sheep farmer and had slowly started building his own flock,” said John Hemsted, OSF chair. “As his flock grew, he also completed the OSF Master Shepherds’ course.”
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DeJong’s nominator said he’s a person who listens and learns from others, is willing to share his experiences and comes to the table with new ideas. DeJong has been an active District 7 member, hosted farm tours and participated in numerous education days.
Luke and Jenny Carnaghan were named outstanding shepherds, a designation that recognizes operators who have made significant contributions to the advancement of the Ontario sheep industry.
The Carnaghans run a successful sheep operation and recently built a state-of-the-art barn. They are founding members of Trillium Lamb Incorporated, serve on many agricultural organizations in and out of the sheep industry and are active members of the large flock operators.
“They are part of the Durham Farm Fresh and have hosted numerous tours of their operation and are true ambassadors for the sheep industry and agriculture in general,” said Hemsted.
The OSF had two candidates for its undergrad scholarship and the board chose to award both. Applicant Madeleine Cullen was given 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 want to further their Ontario sheep industry leadership development.
Cullen is a first-year Bachelor of Environmental Science student at the Ontario Agricultural College. She’s been an active 4-H member since 2015 and has been a sheep club youth leader for a year. She volunteers at her church, supports refugee fundraising, shows sheep at local fairs and will compete at the Royal Agricultural Fair show this month.
Chloe Pyke also received the OSF undergrad scholarship. Pyke is attending Olds College in the agricultural management diploma program and submitted an article titled ‘Annual versus accelerated lambing – which works best for me,’ which will be published in the 2022 winter OSF Sheep News. In addition, Pyke was a member of multiple 4-H clubs, was a 2019 college representative for the sheep and goat club, was a church volunteer, fundraiser, horse camp counsellor, yearbook club member and hockey player.
The Ontario GenOvis recognition awards highlight breeders within 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 high-average genetic selection index of 91 per cent and excellent on-farm data entry at an overall 89 to 72 per cent of lambs measured for loin and fat.
Icelandic breeder Clara Leahy of Leahy Hill Farm placed second with 90 per cent lambs’ genetic selection and use of young rams as sires.
Frank and Ned Cursio, Dorset breeders with Cursio Farms & Arkell Valley, placed third with an excellent percentage of lambs evaluated and use of a low number of ewes bred per ram to keep genetic diversity.
Rideau breeder Shelagh Finn of Lamb Lady Farms captured the top spot in the Prolific Breed Award with an average genetic selection index of 95.6 per cent for her lambs. Fellow Rideau breeder Sean McKenzie of Tulach Ard Farms placed second with a low number of lambings per ram to preserve high genetic diversity.
Wayne Kreklewich, Rideau and Romanov breeder at Craigmore Farms, placed third for keeping genetic diversity and increasing the genetic progress by using young rams as sires.
Paul Dick of Stonehill Sheep took top marks in the Terminal Breed Award. The Suffolk breeder has an outstanding 100 per cent of lamb weights, loin and fat evaluated and uses young rams and a low number of ewes bred per ram to increase genetic gain.
Dick also sells rams and buys outside genetics to create genetic links with other flocks.
Bill and Lynne Duffield, of Codan Suffolks, took second place with 100 per cent of lambs evaluated, using young rams to increase genetic gain and a high genetic average of 95 per cent for the lamb selection index. They also sell genetics to other barns.
Keith Todd of Todd Sheep Company rounded out the top three in the category with a 93 per cent rating for on-farm data collection for his Ile-de-France, Southdown and Suffolk sheep.
Crossbred Productivity: Ewes’ Performance was awarded to Earl Brubacher, of Brubacher Ovine, for his kilogram of lamb weaned per ewe based on 181 lambings considered.
Mark and Betty Bearinger, of Fare Vewe Acres, with 391 lambings, and Todd Payne of Asphodel Sheep Company, with 297 lambings, placed second and third, respectively.