2021 Symposium and Sale Huge Success!

The Eastern Alliance for Production Katahdins hosted their 1st Annual Symposium and Sale at the Washington County Fairgrounds in Abingdon, Virginia on July 9 and 10th, 2021. Seventy-four producers from 11 states attended the event.

Friday’s morning educational session focused on in-flock selection for economically important traits such as growth, parasite resistance and mothering. Presenters Brad Carothers (OH), Roxanne Newton (GA) and Etienne Richards (NY) discussed how they collect and analyze data in their own flocks.

The morning session was followed by a delicious catered barbeque lunch provided by Bone Fire Smokehouse and an informative Producer Panel consisting of long time Katahdin producers: Lee Wright, Mandy Fletcher, Kathy Bielek, Etienne Richards and Robert Walker. Producers asked interesting and thought-provoking questions which made for a relaxed but informative discussion.

Dr. Scott Greiner (Virginia Tech) kicked off the afternoon session with a fascinating presentation on how to use EBVs to select for improved performance of Katahdins, especially in commercial flocks. Dr. Andrew Weaver (NC State) ended the afternoon session explaining how genomics will further assist NSIP producers in identifying those important, measured traits with greater accuracy. The first annual EAPK business meeting ended the day.

The online sale on Saturday had an unusual format in that the animals were offered for sale via Willoughby’s online auction but most were available on-site for inspection by potential buyers. The sale was extremely successful with total sales of $42,533 for 38 animals. Rams averaged $1100, while ewes averaged $1200. Another unique feature of the EAPK sale was the ability to consign mature, proven NSIP rams with more than 50 progeny. Buyers of those rams were able to reap the added benefits of higher accuracies, proven performance and genetic connections to several NSIP flocks.

The Eastern Alliance is grateful to the many producers, both commercial and seedstock, who attended the Symposium and those that purchased performance tested animals. A special thanks goes out to Lee Wright, Dr. Andrew Weaver, Nicole Valliere and Dr. Chris and Mandy Fletcher for all the work they did preparing and organizing for both the educational event and sale, the clean up after the sale and the smooth work of preparing interstate health papers for animals heading to their new flocks. And finally, a very big thank you to KHSI for the KREG grant which helped defray expenses for the educational program. We are pleased with the success of our first event and look forward to another exciting Symposium next summer!