Shepherd’s Forum 2014: Healthy Fiber, Healthy Herd

Photo courtesy of Echoview Fiber Mill

From a press release:

Farmers raising fiber animals in the Local Cloth region will learn how to generate an income flow from all that gorgeous fiber walking around in their pastures. Local Cloth’s Shepherd’s Forum provides tools to increase income from fiber animals, as well as a place to meet service-providers and network with other farmers in the region.

This year’s conference will answer questions such as: How to better care for animals to make sure they produce marketable fiber that will generate customer loyalty; How to market fiber to attract more buyers; How to make money from animal fiber; and How to comply with IRS regulations.

Speakers include:

Dr. Jean Mare Luginbuhl, Professor of Crop Science and Animal Science at North Carolina State University. Dr. Luginbuhl is an authority on current practices in parasite management and husbandry.

Tara Swiger, Teacher. You can have the most wonderful product in the world, but there’s no income flow if you can’t sell it. Tara has learned what it takes to be successful and leads explorations into profit, marketing, and enthusiasm for crafty businesses. She’s the author of Market Yourself, a guide for creating a marketing plan you’ll stick with.

Steve Duckett, Country Extension Director, NC Cooperative Extension. Steve will present a video by Dr. Guido van der Hoeven on Tax Issues for Farmers and will speak on the recent changes to Federal and NC State Tax laws that affect farmers.

In addition, break-out sessions will address:

Making and Marketing Fiber Products – while targeted specifically to the beginning fiber farmer this group will be of interest to any one who is working to increase sales in their local market. Representatives from Local Yarn Shops will answer questions about what works (or doesn’t) in their shops to successfully sell local fiber products.

Markets for Raw Fiber – not everyone wants to be a Maker! This group will discuss marketing options available to farmers who just want to sell their raw fiber. We will have representatives from a variety of cooperatives to answer questions about how they work.

Pasture Management and Husbandry for Fiber Producers – quality fiber products starts with clean, healthy animals. Joe Moore, Shear Bliss Shearing, will lead a discussion on how to take care of your animals the 365 days between shearings. And also how to ensure that your shearing day puts a quality harvest in the bag.

Marketing Craft Products – Tara Swiger will be available to answer questions in greater detail about how to improve your farm’s use of marketing.

Parasite Management – Dr. Luginbuhl will be available for additional questions about how to improve your herd health.

Seating is limited, and pre-registration is recommended. To register, contact For more information about Local Cloth, or to join, go to

WHAT: Local Cloth’s Shepherd’s Forum

WHEN: Monday Dec. 8, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., lunch included

WHERE: Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center, 455 Research Drive, Mills River

ADMISSION: $15 for Local Cloth Members, $25, Non-members.

About Kat McReynolds
Kat studied entrepreneurship and music business at the University of Miami and earned her MBA at Appalachian State University. Follow me @katmAVL

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