Crafty wool farmers turn to yaks in New Jersey

    Listen 5:26

    What is a farmer to do when large portions of his land are unusable? That was the challenge facing the owners of Wood’s Edge Wools Farm in Stockton, New Jersey when they discovered the white tail deer near their land carry a deadly parasite: the meningeal worm. The parasite attacks the spinal cord of hoofed animals, which are essential to fiber production.

    Using careful prevention measures, the farm’s owners, Brent Walker and Amy Serridge, have since protected herds of alpacas and llamas from the parasite. However, the farm has found one type of livestock resistant to infection: Tibetan yaks.

    The yak business is booming for Wood’s Edge. While the bulk of their sales come from clothes and accessories crafted from animal hair, yak meat is flying off the shelves. “I can’t raise them fast enough,” Walker says, “We are sold out of breeding stock. I am limited supply on meat.”

    And Walker suggests there is more to gain from yak meat than just income, he claims the meat’s fat content can be read like a weather report. In previous years, he noticed fattier meat coming back from the butcher in months preceding a harsh winter. “They have that sixth sense of when winter is going to be bad, that they need to put more insulation on to survive.”

    You can listen to Newsworks Tonight’s visit to Wood’s Edge Wools Farm above.

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