Producer Spotlight: From our producer’s perspective
ALP is currently looking for a producers to feature in our quarterly N’ewesletters!
ALP introduced a new producer spotlight section this past month in our quarterly N’ewesletters, to let our producers get to know one and other and learn about the vast amount of sheep operations we have here in Alberta.
With that being said, we want to hear from “ewe.” Would you like to write a small (or big) article for us explaining about your business and what you do? Some ideas could include:
- Your farming operation: for example, number of animals, time in the industry, breeds, system (intensive vs extensive). Boast about what you do best. It doesn’t matter if you have 10 sheep or 10,000.
- Choose your own personal angle. What are you passionate about within the sheep industry? Why did you join the industry and what interests you about it? Talk about it; it can be anything—innovation, wool, breeding, feed, medication vs holistic, machinery, tips and tricks, whatever tweaks your interest.
- What are your plans for the future in the sheep industry? Is there something you want to see happen in the industry? Have you got personal goals you want to achieve on your farm?
These articles are all about you and your operations. We want to use them as a way to encourage producer networking, asking questions, and learning from each other about what we all do best—sheep farming. The more we can share as an industry, the stronger we can become!
The deadline to submit intent to write for each N’ewesletter edition is*:
Spring Edition: February 15th 2023 - Producer selected already by random draw.
Summer Edition: May 20th 2023
Fall Edition: July 23rd 2023
Winter Edition: November 2nd 2023
*If there are multiple submissions for each edition, we will put names into a draw and let the winner know. You can apply for as many editions as you like. Please note, from the submission date above, you will have one month to write and submit your article back to ALP for proofreading and formatting.
Winter N'ewsletter 2023 Producer Spotlight
CJ, Jolanda, Bastiaan and Daniel ten Haaf
In July 2006, my wife Jolanda, our sons Bastiaan and Daniel, and myself immigrated from Holland and settled in Ponoka. A year later we purchased an acreage as a kind of hobby farm and needed some animals to keep the 10 acres of pasture short. Alongside a variety of animals, we decided to buy just over a dozen Dorset/Suffolk mixed ewes, marking the beginning of our Adventure into the sheep industry. We enjoyed having the ewes very much and within 5 years we grew our flock to about 80 head and at that point we had to decide whether we would shrink our flock to fit the space or look to expand our operation.
Naturally, we decided to move forward with an expansion and found a beautiful property east from Ponoka that fit our needs and in 2017 we moved to our current home. Our flock numbers continue to grow year by year, through investment into our lambing barn and setup, proper animal husbandry and refining our lambing and growing practices. Typically, we lamb out a lot of our flock in wintertime, making it necessary to lamb indoors during those months. Luckily, the previous owners had a horse stable which we converted into a lambing barn big enough to fit our needs. We added a ventilation system to keep the air in the barn fresh and healthy, converted pens to lambing jugs and built out the center of the barn into a proper feed alley. The first 5 years we used this building to lamb out our ewes in this barn but with the flock expanding, we needed to have more space. In 2020 we started preparing to build a lambing barn in which we can potentially have 360 ewes lamb out.
When designing the facility, we had a very specific criteria in mind that needed to be met. The building needed to be as efficient as possible in all metrics including how many ewes we can put in the building without overcrowding and maximum comfort. At the same time, we wanted to reduce stress to the animals as much as is possible. This would mean, keeping the barn at a carefully regulated temperature and climate in order prevent health issues, minimal movement of the animals, and sealing the barn off from the elements and drafts as much as possible. With these things in mind, we started our project and without a doubt we have succeeded in meeting and exceeding all the goals we previously mentioned. In December 2021 we were able to move our operation had our first lambs born in the new building.
Looking back on this last year, we can confidently say that the barn was an unqualified success and has made our daily routines much easier and efficient. The results are as good as we could have hoped for, and we are looking forward to expanding our flock and farm. We also would like to thank the sheep community for their passion and continued support in the industry, and we want to continue to promote and give back as much as it has given us.
Thank you kindly,
CJ, Jolanda, Bastiaan and Daniel ten Haaf