N.S. sheep producers backed for handling upgrades

Handling upgrades expected to help Nova Scotia’s sheep farmers cut down parasite loads in their flocks may be eligible for some public funding.

The federal and provincial governments and Sheep Producers Association of Nova Scotia (SPANS) recently rolled out a Sheep Handling and Parasite Control Program, which will pay up to 40 per cent of eligible costs, up to $750 per application.

The program will reimburse producers for setting up gates and handling crates, which the governments said will create safer handling systems to improve monitoring and reduce stress.

The funding is also to go toward fences and handling equipment, “reducing the risk of parasites affecting a flock.”

“Through a project supported by government we were able to identify management options to improve health and welfare of the animals,” SPANS president Beth Densmore said in a provincial release.

“Clean pastures are a must, especially for lambs. Rotational grazing helps keep animals healthy and by supporting the handling equipment, shepherds as well as sheep are under less stress.”

Agriculture Minister Keith Colwell, announcing the program Dec. 22 at Dalhousie University’s agricultural campus, said the plan came about after he “challenged” SPANS “to come up with a program that would meet the needs of the industry.”

Over 300 registered farmers raise sheep in the province. Farmers applying for program funds must have a valid farm registration and must be checkoff-paying registered members of SPANS at the time of application.

Program applications, available online through SPANS, must be completed by Jan. 16.

The federal/provincial Building Industry Capacity program under Growing Forward 2 will provide SPANS with $29,700, while the industry will put up $44,550, the governments said. –– AGCanada.com Network

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