LIVINGSTON – The FitzPatrick family of Shamrock Farms had great success during the New York State Fair. Their ram, Melvin (Fitz 2422), primarily received the award for Champion Ram of Merino Breed. Melvin then went on to win the Triple Champion Accolade of Best Fleece of Merino, Supreme Champion Fleece, and Supreme Champion Ram.
Champion Ram of the Merino Breed is awarded for the best characteristics of the breed, Best Fleece of Merino is judged based solely on the quality of wool, Supreme Champion Fleece judges the quality of wool against different breeds, and supreme Champion Ram judges the ram against all others in the show.
“Some of the wool goes out to hand-spinners, but most of our poundage is purchased by commercial buyers,” said Dan Fitzpatrick of Shamrock Farms, “Besides the inherent high quality of the wool, extra steps in cleaning and washing the wool, as well as the difficulty of sheering the animal due to its wrinkled skin tends to increase the value of the wool.”
The term ‘Merino’ might sound familiar. The exclusivity and value of the wool places Marino as the finest fleece of any sheep breed. Marino wool demands the highest price on the market for its inherent qualities such as warmth to weight ratios, softness do to fine fiber size, regulating body temperature and absorbency. This wool is used primarily for newborn bedding, performance wear, luxury clothing, and military gear.
The FitzPatrick family holds a legacy in raising Merino in Livingston County, among other breeds of sheep. The Fitzpatrick family began their success as early as 1880, with at least six generations continuing the business. In the 1970’s Bill FitzPatrick and his wife Leona, moved from Ossian to Springwater. Since then aunts, uncles, and children have all been involved in the family’s success; the children particularly benefiting from their involvement in 4H fairs, a product of Cornell University’s Cooperative Extension of Livingston County.
“The 4H program had good benefits, such as teaching public presentation and general responsibilities when caring for livestock,” said FitzPatrick. “Not just the five Fitzpatrick daughters have gone through the training, I myself was involved, forging great friendships and peer group that I wouldn’t have been exposed to otherwise.”
For more information on 4H events please visit the Cornell Cooperative Extension at http://www.ccelivingstoncounty.org/
For more information on the FitzPatrick Farms and Fencing please visit http://www.shamrockfarmsfencing.com/