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Special to the Enquirer

Hartselle farmer makes history with new breed of sheep

Alabama will make culinary history with the debut of the Australian White USA Sheep Aug. 14 at Fagerman Farm in Hartselle. 

Owner Daniel Fagerman will host a symposium for the breed debut, along with an after party at his farm, from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. The after party will begin at 7 p.m. and is open to the public. The symposium is open to farmers and producers and will begin at 8 a.m. 

Farmers and producers from all over the world are anticipated to attend the event to learn how to develop the breed and plan for its expansion across the U.S. and Central and South America. 

Fagerman will be the sole distributor and registrar of the Australian White sheep in the Americas. 

In addition, and as part of the sustainable farming network in Alabama, Fagerman said he hopes to show attendees what makes the breed so appealing. 

The Australian White sheep have less impact on the environment than cows, Fagerman said, and they are also used to graze and browse. Like goats they eat grass, brush, trees and shrubbery. 

These sheep are more appealing to producers because of “the conversion of feed, their rapid rate of growth, their uniformity and ability to adapt to their environment,” Fagerman said. “These lambs have been successfully produced in the extreme cold of Mongolia and in the dry heat of Australia.” 

Following the symposium, attendees and the general public will have the opportunity to see what makes Australian White lamb so special at the after party. Dinner will be prepared by award-winning Huntsville chef Rick Vonk, who has prepared a six-course menu that will give guests a sampling of how the lamb can be cooked. 

“This dinner will be an eye-opening, history-making culinary experience,” Vonk said. “Whatever preconceived opinions people have about lamb will hopefully be proven wrong at this dinner.” 

According to a press release, the meat quality from this breed is exceptional because it has been selectively bred for lower fat-melting points, increased Omega 3’s and increased intramuscular fat.  

“This meat has similar positive effects of Wagyu,” Fagerman said. “In addition, the increase in Omega 3’s as compared to other lamb or red meat gives you a major healthy benefit and the ‘melt in your mouth’ effect because of the fat-melting points … There is no other breed of sheep in the world that has been developed with these improved traits to provide a better consumer dining experience, which means this product is more consistent in delivering these same values over and over.” 

In addition to the symposium, American Idol contestant Brandon Elder will provide the event’s entertainment. 

The general public is invited to attend the dinner. Tickets are $100 per person and are available for purchase on Eventbrite.com.