Empire Sheep Producers Association (ESPA) Annual Meeting

Event Details


February 26, 2022


2pm - 4pm


Online via Zoom


Southwest New York Dairy, Livestock and Field Crops Program

Mary Jeanne Packer

The Empire Sheep Producers Association 2022 Annual Meeting will be held via Zoom on Saturday February 26, beginning at 2 pm. All ESPA members, other sheep producers, and people affiliated with NYS's sheep industry are invited to attend.

 The Zoom link is:


 Or dial in: 646 876 9923

Meeting ID: 869 6533 8798

Passcode: 151598

Lewis Fox, co-founder and partner in ESPA-member Agrivoltaic Solutions and a founding board member of the Ithaca-based American Solar Grazing Association is the invited guest speaker. He is expected to cover what sheep farmers need to know and do as far as working with a solar operation including setting up a contract, what your responsibilities are, how to manage fencing and water, and other topics. Agrivoltaic Solutions currently grazes solar assets for multiple firms in New York State, Vermont and Pennsylvania. Lewis Fox has a BS in Animal Science from Cornell University and has extensive experience within the dairy industry. Lewis managed large scale cow, sheep and goat dairies in New York, and grew up on an organic grazing dairy in Vermont. 

 Other invited presenters include NYS Assembly member Carrie Woerner (D-Round Lake) who will speak about the state's new textile supply chain expansion initiative that she is championing. Confirmed speaker Gail Parrinello, President of the non-profit Hudson Valley Textile Project will update the group on the work that is now underway by her organization to develop a commercial scouring facility slated to open in fall 2022 that will address the wool marketing needs of sheep farmers and fiber processing facilities across NYS and the northeast; and Jessica Brooks (invited) from NYS Dept. of Ag & Markets who will provide information about how sheep farmers can get involved with the NYS Grown and Certified Program for marketing wool and wool products and the benefits of certification.

Dana Havas, Agriculture Team Leader, Cornell Cooperative Extension Cortland County will speak about the accomplishments of the animal fiber subcommittee of the Cornell Livestock PWT. The sub-PWT develops and provides programming and educational opportunities and identifies areas of research that improve the welfare of the NYS animal fiber community and its stakeholders. Niko Kochendoerfer and tatiana Stanton from Cornell University sheep program will provide updates, as well.

 The annual ESPA business meeting will follow the program. All ESPA members in good standing may vote and non-members are welcome to attend. The meeting agenda will include 2022 budget approval, revised bylaws adoption, a legislative report, reports from 2021 Empire Classic Youth Show in Batavia and the Canandaigua Ewe Show, updates on 2021 wool pools and plans for 2022, planning for the 2022 State Fair, election of 2022 officers, and other business.

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