This page is designed to inform producers of current initiatives that OSMA is working on. Included are some on-going projects as well.
The pilot phase of Benchmarking I was completed over the past year. In this phase, OSMA formed a technical advisory committee to decide what should be measured, and how to capture the information. A management questionnaire and financial survey were developed, tested and revised using a pilot group of producers.
The objective was to learn how top producers achieved this status. The overall aim is to establish the appropriate Key Performance Indicators for Ontario sheep operations. The underlying goal is to provide Ontario sheep producers with the information and financial tools to make their own businesses profitable . Once we know what specific factors are most important to benchmark and how to measure it, we can provide them with a set of financial, production and managerial parameters that are meaningful to their operations.
The second phase of the project is now in progress. Management and financial surveys are now being collected from a larger group of producers. After the data is collected, analysis will take place, and the participating producers will be provided with individualized and composite reports. These reports will serve all producers and the industry because they will detail where individual producers stand compared to the rest of the group on key performance indicators.
The results from the study of a probe to measure fat and meat on a carcass have been inconclusive. The concept of predicting yield on a carcass is important however more investigation will be needed by OSMA and its partners.
Identifying Obstacles of Sheep Expansion
The 2009 Producer Survey showed marketed lambs per ewe, reproduction and predation to be the main factors limiting expansion. OSMA addressed all its initiatives with these matters in view. It is very encouraging to get these calls from and see new producers at meetings. While increasing volume of lamb coming off farms is important, so is on-farm profit and producer sustainability. The OSMA Board at each meeting discusses ways to expand the industry and make sheep farming profitable. Producer input on these topics is always welcomed,
Homegrown Ontario was an alliance of Ontario Pork, the Ontario Veal Association, the Ontario Sheep Marketing Agency, Turkey Farmers of Ontario and the Ontario Independent Meat Processors. The project is now complete and new ways to brand and market our products will be studied over the coming months
Feasibility Study- Financial Protection Program
OSMA, in cooperation with Fitzgerald & Co., conducted a survey to get feedback from producers and industry stakeholders on the need for a financial protection program. Solely based on producer numbers, the survey sample did not support an Ontario Sheep Financial Protection Program. However, 54% of the marketed lambs represented are sold by producers identifying this as a need. Most producers are still selling through sales barns but we don’t know whether this is because this affords de facto financial protection, because they are selling in small lots, it is more convenient etc. It was noted that the financial protection program might encourage more producers to try other methods of selling and would be especially helpful in promoting the value chain approach.
Business Risk Management Program
OSMA is a participating member of the Ontario Agricultural Sustainability Coalition. Although sheep farming is not under the financial pressures that some other commodities may be, the OSMA Board feels it is important to be an active participant in the Ontario Agriculture Sustainability Coalition.
Funding Research Projects
OSMA is in the process of evaluating the research letters of intent, and soliciting full project proposals from a chosen few projects. The projects that were submitted show great promise for advancing knowledge in the sheep industry, and we are looking forward to seeing them progress.
On-Going Support and Events from OSMA
Sheep News Magazine
This is a quarterly magazine available to all sheep producers. The magazine keeps producers up to date with education, industry development news, network opportunities and much more.
You are now viewing our new website. We hope to continue to build this site to assist our producers in education and marketing. All ideas are welcome.
Messenger - Monthly Newsletter emailed to producers up to date with the latest events and news. This is available to everyone who has Internet access. Please contact the OSMA office to give us your email address if you are not receiving it. The Messenger can also be found on the homepage at www.ontariosheep.org.
Host and Sponsor- OSMA participates in and in some cases assists in sponsoring Sheep Education Events, Sheep Seminars, Sheep Shearing Courses, Farm Shows, the Royal Winter Fair, the Outdoor Farm Show and other shows as well.
Health Programs run by OSMA - Maedi Visna and the Ontario Flock Health Program
Support to Producers and Districts – The office staff is always available to offer support to producers and District Executives in any way they can.
Producer Education Day/AGM – Every year the Annual General Meeting informs producers of OSMA activities and finances over the past year. As well the day before is full of seminars, education and updates of OSMA activities
Predation – At its March 2010 meeting the OSMA Board decided to seek support from others associated with Ontario sheep farmers to bring the needs of farmers to more immediate attention of the Ontario Government. More details will be out soon on plans and actions.
Education – The OSMA GM has now spoken at many meetings this year. Most of these presentations have addressed industry potential and how producers might take steps to grow their sheep enterprises. At the present time OSMA is speaking with other industry stakeholders to find ways and means of making producers aware and informed on how to enhance their enterprise. A group within OSMA is currently addressing the resources available and producer needs with respect to education. By late fall OSMA hopes to have a program designed.
OSMA also educates through the Sheep News Magazine as well as brochures, posters and pamphlets, informational packages on health programs and introductory sheep binders for new producers. Weekly market information is available on the website, submitted to the Ontario Farmer and can also be accessed verbally by into the OSMA office and selecting the phone option. We hope to build a substantial resource library on this website. There is also a series of educational information for schools.
Traceability – OSMA is working with other industry stakeholders to initiate projects that will provide traceability form Farm to Fork. Over the remaining months OSMA will be attempting to find ways for a cross industry traceability to occur on a planned basis that includes all steps in the supply chain. CSF is conducting a RFID pilot study for ways to use RFID tags and provide benefits to users. This is a long-term matter. However, it is important that it be a cross industry approach that starts with animal identification and ends with consumers buying a high quality product where food quality and safety are both assured and where consumers pay for that assurance.
Biosecurity –OSMA has been involved in a biosecurity gap analysis project. It invovles the study of gaps and diseases. Through the winter and spring of 2011 OSMA hopes to be able to make producers aware of ways they can address biosecurity on their farms.
The Sheep Advisory Committee
The committee is chaired by a person named by the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission and the purpose for the committee is so that all stakeholders have an opportunity to bring forward ideas and concerns they feel the OSMA Board needs to address. The Board determines if OSMA should take actions based on the input. On March 2nd 2010, a communication meeting was held to address “Traceability-Farm to Fork and here to Stay”. The meeting was well attended and the end result to the OSMA Board was that OSMA take steps and facilitate a cross industry initiative on traceability.