GFM Network News


Graham Rannie checks over a full body of spring-sheared wool.

Binscarth sheep producers take farming from hobby to full-time job

Graham Rannie and Janice Johnstone have been raising sheep for years

The Parkland region of the province takes pride in the quality of its grains and livestock, says a Binscarth sheep producer. Graham Rannie, along with wife Janice Johnstone, raise commercial and purebred sheep which they’ve sold to producers across Canada. Up until last July, shepherding was a hobby for Rannie, who worked at the Mosaic

Joey Fiola and Christel Lanthier and their three daughters, Olivia (6), Anne Rose (4) and Lila (1).

Resurrecting the family farm

Faces of Ag: Joey Fiola and Christel Lanthier are determined to give their girls the same farm life that shaped them

As 25 ewes and a gangly baby llama mill around Christel Lanthier, her six-year-old daughter chats to her in French, the language they speak at home. She’s wondering if you want to know anything about the cats, Christel translates for a reporter. Olivia explains the names of the three cats and shows off her stuffed


Sheep shearers are a hot commodity in Australia right now as producers try to capitalize on higher wool prices after a generations-long slump.

Falling off the sheep’s back: Why Australia can’t capitalize on record wool prices

A long-awaited surge in wool prices has met a shortage in key personnel and a low sheep count

Sheep farmers in rural Australia waited more than half a century for wool prices to come roaring back, only to find there aren’t enough shearers to trim their golden fleeces. “Once upon a time you could go down to the local pub and arrange for some fellas to come in and start almost immediately —

Janet Kroeker applies a wool batt to cotton encasement fabric as she works on product line for the family’s Rosa-area home-based business, Shepherd’s Dream.

Making their bed

A rural Manitoba family operates a leading company in the Canadian natural bedding industry from their home near the tiny village of Roseau River

Ssshhhh! People are sleeping, and very soundly, thanks to their wool mattresses and comforters. The products are handcrafted by a Roseau River-area family that’s been quietly in the bed-making business — more precisely the making of pure wool beds — since 2002. Janet and Tim Kroeker were inspired to start Shepherd’s Dream by Janet’s sister’s

Elaine Owen, Grade 6 teacher at Miami School, holds the classroom’s pet angora rabbit that spends his 
days being patted and adored by students when they’re not knitting and spinning.

Wool studies help students see value of hard work — and generosity

Grade 6 social studies students at Miami School learn to card and spin, knit and crochet

Angela Dyck and Alyssa Bruce think a little differently than most teen girls about clothing. They don’t take a full closet for granted. Earlier generations didn’t have one, and it took a long time to make anything to wear, say the two 12-year-olds at Miami School. “We have it much better than they did,” says


Cool weather brings hair lambs to auction

Strong bidding for a good selection of feeder lambs; no price difference between wool and hair types

Producers delivered 450 sheep and goats to the Oct. 5 sale at Winnipeg Livestock Auction. There was no indication that the producers had any concerns about lower prices caused by stock left over from earlier sales. Feeder lambs and ewes dominated the sale. The young meat goat kids were of show quality and drew the

New Zealand square bags, which are made of polyethylene and sourced from China are said to be a more efficient way of transporting wool.

The wool is in the bag — but which one?

Industry watchers say square packaging is becoming the norm

Some Manitoba sheep producers are balking at an industry trend towards a wool-bagging system that processors say is safer and more efficient to transport. Sheep producers generally have two options for packaging wool, long tube bags made from jute or New Zealand square bags made of polyethylene. At its annual general meeting in early March,

Randy Eros speaks with customers at the Manitoba Fibre Festival.

Wool fibre production for dummies

How one manages the flock can make the difference between getting good fleece or getting ‘fleeced’

Randy Eros, a shepherd from just outside Winnipeg, jokingly blames his wife when explaining why they are in the sheep business. Eros and his wife began raising sheep more than 30 years ago — initially just for wool. “It’s my wife’s fault,” he told a workshop at the Manitoba Fibre Festival Sept. 6. “She’s a


Sheep and goat buyers focused on quality not weight

Results from the Winnipeg Livestock Auction Nov. 6 sale

Producers supplied 750 sheep and goats to the Winnipeg Livestock Auction on Nov. 6. There was strong bidding from new and traditional buyers. There was no differences in the price range between the wool and hair sheep — even the extremely woolly ewes were within the range. The price range was from $0.35 to $0.54

School teaches art of sheep shearing ‘blow by blow’

Two-day course shows shearers how to separate the 
wool from the sheep with a minimum of fuss

Imagine trying to provide a full-body buzz cut to a woolly, four-legged Greco-Roman wrestling opponent. That’s sheep shearing in a nutshell. Nine students had a chance to hone their technique at a recent two-day sheep-shearing school sponsored by the Canadian Co-operative Wool Growers and hosted by Miniota shepherd Brian Greaves. Shearing is a lot like dancing,