Brook Ridge Farm was honored to be awarded the 2019 Producer of the Year award from the Sheep Producers Association of Nova Scotia. The below article appeared in the December 2019 Newsletter.
Brook Ridge Farm was established in 1998 when Ian and Rhonda McCarron purchased a 200-acre tract of land just west of Antigonish town. Their venture into the sheep industry began with one ewe and her twin lambs, purchased from Ian’s father.
Soon after, while on the hunt for a 4H goat, they bought their first Border Leicester ewes and lambs from the late Ralph Downey. Adding to the flock with another small group of Border Leicester’s began their interest in this longwool breed. Over the years the McCarrons’ focus has been on growing a commercial flock.
Today, they breed Romanovs with Border Leicesters to produce an F1 cross, affectionately known as “White Russians”. These crosses are put to Île-de-France rams for market lambs. The flock of purebred and commercial crosses now numbers over 200. The McCarrons’ are shipping members of Northumberland Lamb Co-operative and Rhonda has served on several industry boards, including:
- Eastern Nova Scotia Exhibition
- Antigonish Guysborough Federation of Agriculture
- All Canada Classic Sheep Show and Sale; 2006 Hospitality Chair and 2012 Event Chairperson
Rhonda is presently on her second consecutive term on the Northumberland Lamb Co operative Board and sits on the board of the Brookside Abattoir Co-Op. For a number of years, the McCarrons were 4H parents and sheep leaders. Brook Ridge Farm is also a past participant of Open Farm Day.
In 2017, Brook Ridge Farm became the first sheep farm in Canada to be certified under The Canadian Verified Sheep Program – CVSP. This feat was accomplished with the assistance of Kara Saville, Program Delivery Manager with the Agri-Commodity Management Association (ACMA).
For close to 20 years, Brook Ridge Farm has been a staple at the Antigonish Farmers’ Market. They “niche market” their wool by shipping to MacAusland’s Woolen Mills in PEI and sell farm labeled blankets and throws. For the past three years, they have been selling fresh frozen lamb and exclusive to them, lamb pot pies. Last year, with the assistance of Perennia, they were able to have nutrition labeling completed for the pies enabling them to move into the retail market.
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