Ward (13)Susan Epps Ward, Brothers on Farms

Lamb Production Expansion
Grant Award: $6,000

Susan is expanding her lamb meat venture, which she started with the help of a 2013 WNC AgOptions grant. She is renovating her pasture to better control barber pole worms in her animals as well as transitioning to a Dorper and Katahdin stock, which is expected to be more worm-resistant and have higher carcass yields than her current breed.

She is planting Sericea Lespedeza, a perennial legume that has shown to reduce barber pole worms in animals, improve soil health, and add protein content to the sheep’s diet. Susan is also planting the far end of her pasture as a wildlife buffer for foraging deer and wildlife, which also lessens worm populations.

“One of the biggest risks to sheep health in western North Carolina is the barber pole worm,” Susan said. “With the failure of many worming medicines due to overuse, it is necessary for ruminant farmers to seek out alternative ways in maintaining heard health and preventing worm infestation.”

Susan is also drill seeding a mix of cold and warm season high protein forage into her pasture. The improvements help her apply for a 100 percent Grass-fed certification. Brothers On Farm meat is non-GMO, since she does not feed corn to the sheep, as well as certified Animal Welfare Approved.

“With the addition of eight more ewes to our breeding program, a new worming pasture planted in Lespedeza, and drill seeding the remaining pastures in high protein grass forages, I feel that we will finally have the farm at a place of true sustainability and profit,” Susan said. By tripling production in 2016, she is closer to keeping up with demand. “Keeping product in stock has been our biggest issue,” she said.

Susan sells at the Blairsville, Georgia farmer’s market and to customers directly off the farm. She expects to soon offer full animals to nearby restaurants. See www.brothersonfarms.com.


Clay County

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