Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Four Hills Farms Lamb

Kentucky farmer Jim Mansfield thought his 40 acres of forage could be turned into a tidy part-time income, growing livestock for sale while he held an office job.
Instead, his little part-time sheep herd has turned into herds on the farm across the road and another a few miles away. In addition, he is contracting with at least 15 family farmers around Central Kentucky to grow for his business, which provides lamb for Whole Foods in Kentucky and Southern Ohio, and has begun to sell to Kroger stores and a few restaurants.
Mansfield Launched in Whole Foods

He raises Katahdin sheep, named for Mt. Katahdin in Maine, where the breed was created in the 1950’s by crossbreeding traditional wool sheep with a Caribbean breed, referred to as “hair” sheep. Unlike dependable and widespread European breeds, Katahdin are not grown for wool and meat, but meat only. 
Katahdin can withstand heat and humidity (but grow furrier in the winter), often produce twins or triplets, require no shearing, are parasite-resistant, and are good mothers. As the Katahdin International website enthusiastically proclaims, “An all purpose sheep, for anyone, at any location, any time of year!”

While lamb auctions currently pay high prices to farmers, domestic production will no doubt rebound and prices will no doubt fall as a result. It’s then that Mansfield’s advantage for farmers should play out: he guarantees both the price and the market for farmers who raise sheep for him.
Mansfield is looking for more farmers to grow lamb for him. You can find more information about raising lamb and contact information at
contributed by -
Sarah Fritschner
Coordinator, Louisville Farm to Table

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