The Schafpate-project started in 2008 and can be split into two parts: The sheep sponsorship and the wool project. Both parts are closely linked.

The sheep-sponsorship

Everybody has the possibility to start a sheep sponsorship and to give “their” sheep its own name. The sponsorship costs 60 € per year and the sponsor gets back a gift in value of 20 € each year they sponsor a sheep. 25 € is allocated to an additional account. This money ensures fast and unbureaucratic help is readily available to the sheep farmers which take part in this project (see declaration). With your sheep sponsorship you support the migratory sheep farming and the preservation of the unique landscape of the Wacholderheiden on the Swabian Alb. It is also our goal to increase the quality of the wool from the german merinolandsheep, for example, by buying suitable breeding stock.

The wool project

Because of the already increased quality of the wool, the sheep farmers gain more money with the shorn wool. We, as a yarn manufacturer, buy some of the wool and process it into our beautiful printed Opal sweater and sock wool, which is sold all over the world. With this project we keep jobs in Germany, the sheep farmers are supported, and in addition to this, active environmental and nature conservation is continually being pursued. The Schafpate badge documents the path from the sheep farmer to the consumer. The sheep farm of the family Smietana takes care of the Schafpate sheep. Every year there is a meeting at their sheep farm, where all the sponsors can visit their sheep and get to know the work of a sheep farmer.

The Sheep Pats Meeting

Dear sheep sponsors, dear friends of transhumance,

On Saturday, September 16, 2023, the 12th Sheep Sponsor Meeting took place at the Smietana family's farm in Steinheim am Albuch.
We would like to thank all the sheep sponsors who were able to join us on-site.

With nearly 130 sponsors, it was the largest Sheep Sponsor Meeting ever held.

For those who couldn't attend this year's gathering, we would like to provide a brief recap:

Upon arrival at the Smietana sheep farm, a small and delicious breakfast was served, followed by a welcome from Andrea Smietana, Chris Eder, and Henrike Zwerger. It was a beautiful and sunny day, perfect for a short hike across the Steinheim Heath. By the way, the Steinheim region was formed by a meteorite impact approximately 14-15 million years ago, which is why it is also called the Steinheim Basin. In the cool shade of the juniper bushes, Chris Eder explained some typical landscape features of the local vegetation and its diversity – as a forester, he paid particular attention to the forestation. Andrea Smietana shared stories about the varied daily life of transhumance. She also provided updates on the exciting days of numerous lamb births, as these adorable creatures entered the world after a 5-month gestation period. Did you know that a permit is required for the long migratory routes when leaving the county? Andrea mentioned this as well. Chris and Andrea took their time during the hike to answer questions.

Then came the moment everyone was waiting for: the sponsors finally met the flock of sheep, which was being shepherded by Franz on that day. Many listened to the sweet sound of sheep grazing, took photos with the sheep, and some even had the opportunity to pet a sheep.

Back at the sheep farm, coffee, cake, refreshing drinks, and grilled delicacies were served. All sponsors had the chance to participate in a quiz, which was resolved at the end of the day. Twelve beaming winners received a package of wool, a sheepskin cushion, and knitted socks.

Charly Smietana demonstrated sheep shearing to all interested attendees, with shepherdess Imana providing him with valuable assistance. Imana is a trained transhumance shepherdess and has been supporting the Smietana sheep farm for a few years now. In the stable, everyone had the opportunity to pet sheep and lambs. During the cozy get-together, sponsors exchanged thoughts and engaged in many interesting conversations.

We considered it an absolutely successful day and are already looking forward to the next Sheep Sponsor Meeting in 2024.

Smietana sheep farm

Our flock of sheep is looked after by the Smietana sheep farm, where the annual sponsorship meeting is held. At this day, all sponsors and interested people can get to know the sheep and the daily work of a sheep farm.

Discover the current collection Opal Schafpate 15 - Unter Bäumen.
Eight beautiful colors with wool from German sheep.