Industry News & Events

Saltcapes Harvest Greets the Holidays Expo

As Nova Scotia’s largest consumer event producer with a strong “buy local” mandate, Saltscapes Expo, in partnership with Taste of Nova Scotia, Select Nova Scotia and Masstown Market, are delighted to announce a NEW fall 2015 event for your immediate consideration.

Saltscapes Harvest & Holiday EXPO will take place in Masstown, NS on November 14 & 15, 2015. The land holdings of the Jennings family at Masstown, Nova Scotia have been selected as the event site as it was critical to identify a destination retail venue in a well known rural location with easy to access from cities and towns across the Maritimes.

An affordable exhibitor package has been created for YOU in a carefully crafted outdoor (heated tents) and indoor pavilion covering more than 6 acres, with free parking accommodation for 800 cars.

The design of this ultimate fall event will inspire Maritime families to embrace an all-local and Nova Scotian holiday and winter season; offering staycation ideas, consumer friendly demos and workshops, a uniquely local retail marketplace and unduplicated food and beverage sampling.

We are also creating a large social media consumer contest focused on “eating local all winter long” with the winner receiving an ultimate, all-expense-paid Halifax weekend for two at Saltscapes Halifax Expo 2016.

Masstown Select NS Exhibitor Registration [PDF]

2015-16 Sheep Programs

The Sheep Producers Association of Nova Scotia is pleased to announce that we will be offering two industry programs in 2015-2016. The first is the continuation of the Sheep Handling and Parasite Control Program and the second is the Elite Ram Program.

The objective of the Sheep Handling and Parasite Control Program is to provide support to sheep producers for the purchase of fencers, electric fencing and posts, page-wire fencing and posts, livestock gates and handling crates. Pasture rotation has been proven an effective tool in reducing parasite loads in sheep. Up to 40% of the purchase cost will be provided for this equipment.

The objective is the Elite Ram Program is to provide support to sheep producers for the purchase of genetically superior purebred rams. Up to 30% of the purchase price to a maximum of $250 per ram plus $50 bonuses are available for rams with have three positive EPDs or a positive multi-index as well as for rams with confirmed scrapie resistant genotype.

No producer will receive more than $2,000 as a combined program maximum.

All claims for eligible expenses must be submitted to the SPANS office no later than February 29, 2016. For more information please visit

2015 Atlantic Sheep Sale Results

Please click here for results of the 2015 Atlantic Sheep Sale [PDF]

2015 Wool Shipment Date


Northumberlamb Goes Federal

By Richard Cutherbertson, CBC

As racks of lamb are cut and vacuum sealed for shipment at Bible Hill’s Northumberland Lamb Market Co-Operative, manager Michael Isenor lists the slew of changes the plant has undergone.

Doors were replaced, floors re-poured, new stainless steel rails installed to move carcasses and refrigerators equipped with temperature gauges connected to alarms. A hose periodically shoots out a stream of sanitizer to clean footwear.

“The original plant had to be totally redone, basically,” Isenor says.

After three years and roughly $700,000 (two-thirds of that government money), Northumberland has finally secured a federal licence — one that some view as the ticket to the future of Nova Scotia’s sheep industry.

Northumberland is the now only federally inspected lamb abattoir east of Quebec. The designation landed in July and means for the first time meat from the plant is allowed to be shipped out of province.

The goal is to get Northumberland lamb into the distribution centres for Sobeys and Atlantic Superstore, where it can then be transported to other provinces.

On Tuesday, Sobeys agreed in principle to begin taking Northumberland meat at its Debert warehouse and to make the cooperative its Atlantic Canada supplier of fresh lamb.

Many of Nova Scotia’s 40-odd Sobeys stores already take Northumberland lamb, but the deal opens the door to the grocery giant’s 42 stores elsewhere in the region.

All this is leading to talk of stability, even expansion in Nova Scotia’s sheep industry.

Farmers that supply Northumberland will have a better idea of how many lambs are needed and what price they will fetch, according to Fred Hamilton, who sits on the board of the cooperative.

Glut of lambs in fall

“Now that we’re federally inspected, it really opens up everything wide open for us, that we can market anywhere,” Hamilton says. “Hopefully increase our productivity and it will be a real bonus to the industry here.”

Northumberland slaughters and processes between 5,000 and 6,000 lambs a year supplied by roughly 90 farms in the Maritimes.

Packaged meat is then transported to restaurants and stores across the province, many in the metro Halifax area. With the federal designation now in hand, Isenor says he hopes to double production.

The sheep industry typically goes through cycles, says Hamilton, who owes roughly 200 ewes that produce more than 400 lambs a year. Often there’s a glut of lambs in the fall, and many producers are forced to send them to Quebec.

Tapping into wider markets through Sobeys and Superstore will help smooth out those bumps, Hamilton says.

“If there turns out to be a larger demand, existing farmers will expand and hopefully new farmers will come into the business,” Hamilton says.

In an email to CBC News, Sobeys spokesperson Shauna Selig says the supermarket has previously been limited to purchasing Northumberland lamb for its Nova Scotia stores as the meat could not be transported to other provinces.

A federal licence means Sobeys can now embrace a local supplier for its fresh lamb, Selig says, calling it a “win-win.”

2015 Atlantic Sheep Sale

The 35th Annual Atlantic Sheep sale will be held on Saturday September 5, 2015 beginning at 11:00 am at the Provincial Exhibition Grounds in Truro, Nova Scotia.

Sponsored by the Purebred Sheep Breeders’ Association of Nova Scotia, the sale will feature purebred Clun Forest, Polled Dorset, North Country Cheviot, Rideau Arcott, Suffolk and Texel as well as grades and crossbreds.

Please click on the image below for the full sale catalogue.


Canadian Animal Genetic Resource

Dr. Carl Lessard is again coming to eastern Canada this fall to collect semen from purebed, registered large and small ruminants for the Canadian Animal Genetic Resource gene bank (sheep, goats and cattle). The Canadian livestock industry and the success of this repository depends of your contribution.

If you wish to contribute to this program, CAGR team will be in Ontario, Québec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scoatia between September 15th to October 10th, 2015. If you wish to contribute, you can contact Dr Carl Lessard (306-956-7221) or Crissandra Auckland (306-956-2906). If you are not available between these dates and you are still interested in contributing to this program, please contact Dr Carl Lessard to discuss other options to donate germplasm from your valuable animals.

Commingling Site Traceability Program

The Commingling Site Traceability Program is available for the 2015-16 fiscal year. The program is targeted to support high-risk, high-throughput commingling sites where different species and/or animals from different herds or flocks commingle.

The objectives of this program are to assist commingling sites in the alteration or addition of animal handling structures to enhance traceability capabilities both in animal handling and in reading and recording identification tag information. These enhancements would assist traceability implementation, facilitate the identification of livestock, and support the ability to meet regulatory requirements related to animal identification and movement reporting.

For more information please visit the Commingling Site Traceability Program Website [new window]

Dalhousie Meat and Food Surveys

Meat Training Needs Survey
Extended Learning at Dalhousie University, Agricultural Campus is conducting a Meat Training Needs Survey:

This survey is for anyone who is interested in red meat slaughter, red meat cutting, marketing new products, meat processing, poultry slaughter or other meat topics. Taking this quick 10 question survey will help us gather information on the areas of training that are needed.  Your feedback is much appreciated!

Food Products Development Training Needs Survey 
Extended Learning at Dalhousie University, Agricultural Campus is conducting a Food Products Development Training Needs Survey:

This unique opportunity for entrepreneurs will look at building and enhancing the skills that are needed for food product development.  The objectives for the training are to provide an understanding of the process for developing ideas and value add products, to connect people to key resources to help develop their ideas, and to support entrepreneurs as they navigate the development process

If you have any questions regarding these surveys, please feel free to contact Ashley Coffin in Extended Learning at or 902-893-5304.

Modern Shepherd Being Offered

Back by popular demand, with updates and new materials, The Modern Shepherd is a four-module production course that provides you, the new entrant or veteran producer with up to date information to succeed in the Atlantic Sheep industry. The individual modules, aligned with a typical production year, provide a combination of in-class sessions with hands-on practical activities so you can gain an understanding of all aspects of raising sheep- from choosing sheep, breeding, lambing and marketing.

Module 1: Getting Started – Husbandry, Handling, Products and Markets [new window]
Course Dates: October 16-17, 2015
Registration Deadline: September 28, 2015

Module 2: Nutrition and Breeding [new window]
Course Dates: November 13-14, 2015
Registration Deadline: October 26, 2015

Module 3: Health [new window]
Course Dates: May 13-14, 2016
Registration Deadline: April 25, 2016

Module 4: Pastures, Predators and Price – the Real Cost of Raising Sheep [new window]
Course Dates: June 3-4, 2016
Registration Deadline: May 26, 2016

For more information, please visit the Dalhousie Extended Learning Website [new window]

Contact SPANS

60 Research Dr
Perennia Innovation Park
Bible Hill, NS
B6L 2R2
Phone: 902-893-7455
Fax: 902-893-7063