imageA couple of Katahdin registry folks and I have been working on a website which explains more detail about the National Sheep Improvement Program (NSIP), specifically as it relates to our breed, Katahdin hair sheep. Kathy Bielek and Roxanne Newton put together most of the content, and I worked on the back-end of the site.

As an aside, they had chosen FatCow as the host; one I’ve never used before. I enjoyed using its online website editor, the Weebly editor. It is very easy to pick up, it’s just a drag-and-drop interface, and has many aesthetically pleasing templates to work with. It’s not fancy, and lacks some advanced capability, but it’s got all the basics. For anyone looking to make a basic website for himself, or for an organization where multiple folks will be editing the site and don’t all have strong technical knowledge, this is a great tool!

We made the site because we realize the learning curve is steep- both in understanding the concepts, as well as learning to collect the data, use the tools, and use the output for breeding decision-making. We are hoping to encourage more of our peers to participate in NSIP, because the more data in the system, the greater the accuracy for all of us.

We are already aware of several people who are curious, but on the fence: deterred by taking the big leap of learning the tool, or paying the fees, or all the other reasons that can cause us to  not pull the trigger something that interests us. I am personally hoping that more people on the West Coast get involved, so that there is a wider pool of NSIP rams to select from. I purchased two rams this year, and felt so blind in choosing them, with no data to guide my decisions. All I can do is wait for their scores to come back after they’ve produced one lamb crop, to see how they compare to each other and my existing rams.

The site has a lot of great articles written in the past by several experts. We’ll keep adding to it as time permits. Please check it out!