Featured Breed: American Romney
Stop by the Featured Breed Showcase Tent to learn more about our 2017 Featured Breed, the American Romney.
The Romney breed originated in the Kent region of southeastern England. The Romney, often referred to as the Romney Marsh, was developed and selected for its strong, foot rot resistant hooves and durable fleeces that remain healthy under harsh conditions. These characteristics have enabled the breed to thrive in many areas and become one of the most successful breeds worldwide.
Romneys were first imported into the United States in 1904 by William Riddell and sons of Monmouth, Oregon. The breed quickly spread in popularity throughout country. The American Romney Breeders Association (ARBA) was formed in 1912 to continue to enhance the role of Romneys in the U.S. sheep industry. Featuring a slight mix of English style and recent New Zealand introductions, the American Romney is truly something unique. Today, the ARBA has members in states throughout the U.S. and Canada, and continues to promote the breed by maintaining an official registry, sponsoring breed shows throughout the country, maintaining the breed standards, and keeping an active youth program.
Romneys are a true dual purpose breed. They excel at producing both quality meat and wool. The Romney has a milder, more delicate flavor than other breeds, making it ideal for the newcomer to lamb. They generally reach market weight from 4-7 months depending on the flock’s management. Romneys also have a calm temperament making them ideal for the young 4-Her starting out or the retiree looking for a small hobby flock.
Another key characteristic is the Romney fleece. Falling between 29 and 37 microns, it is the finest of the long wools. It contains a striking luster and has a very soft handle despite the increased fiber diameter. Fleeces commonly weigh 8 to 15 pounds for one year’s growth, providing enough fiber for several different projects. Because of these attributes, Romney fleece is a must for most hand spinners to learn with and continue using throughout their fiber careers.
Romneys can be found throughout the U.S. They can be found in small spinner’s flocks, on family farms, and in large commercial operations. The adaptability and versatility of the Romney makes it an excellent fit for many producers throughout the U.S.
The American Romney Breeders Association will also be sponsoring the following special Romney prizes:
- Best White Romney Breed Class Fleece – $25
- Best Natural Colored Romney Breed Class Fleece – $25
- Best Romney Skein – $25
- Best Romney Skein by a Junior – $25
- Best Romney Knitted Article – $25