Recap: 2009 Ohio Sheep Day

Roger High, Executive Director, OSIA
Susan Schultz, OSIA President

OARDC Eastern Research Station in Caldwell, OH hosted the 2009 Ohio Sheep Day

The weather was absolutely gorgeous, with a glint of rain in the air all day, and finally it rained near the end of the program, which was very much appreciated in the drought stricken area of southeastern Ohio.  The air was filled with positive thoughts of an exciting Ohio sheep industry and the OSIA/OSWP/OSU coordinated Ohio Sheep Day was another overwhelming success.   Sheep producers from all over Ohio and other states flowed in to learn about several topics related to the sheep industry. The food served was generous and very well prepared.  There was just nothing to complain about during the day of Saturday, July 11, 2009 at the OARDC Eastern Research Station (EARS), in Caldwell, Ohio.

As the day progressed, nearly 150 sheep producers made their way to the 2009 Ohio Sheep Day event, several from outside of Ohio to learn about improved practices and research for the sheep industry.  Of course, many topics of interest to sheep producers were a valuable part of the day.  Many of the speakers entertained to crowds throughout the day as they spoke of topics from production of the sheep flock, lamb management to lamb cutting and cooking demonstrations.   There was something for everyone at the 2009 Ohio Sheep Day Program.  Welcoming the sheep producers to the OARDC-EARS Unit were Roger A. High, Executive Director of the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association and OSU State Sheep Extension Program Specialist, OSIA President, Susan Shultz, Dr. Steve Slack, Director, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Centers and Dr. Jim Kinder, Chair, Animal Sciences, The Ohio State University.  Key speakers of the day included Wayne Shriver, Manager of the OARDC Eastern Research Station Unit and Clif Little, Guernsey County Extension Educator, who coordinates much of the sheep research done at OARDC-EARS.  Pasture management tours were once again popular as sheep producers were able to see the latest in annual and perennial forages; Bob Hendershot, USDA Grazing Specialist, and Rory Lewandowski, Athens Co. Extension Educator were the speakers for this part of the program.  One popular part of the program was Managing Coyotes and Black Vultures in Ohio by Chris Bartholomew, USDA Wildlife Services, David Schott, Monroe County SWCD Wildlife and Forestry Specialist and Mike Dyer, a private trapper, this discussion provided the attendees the opportunity to learn how to manage these major predators on their own sheep farms. Another popular topic area was Dr. Paul Kuber, OSU Animal Sciences, and Nick Forrest, American Lamb Board who provided the audience with a lamb cutting and lamb preparation demonstration; those in attendance stated that it was a “yummy” topic area. Daryl Clark, Muskingum County Sheep Producer discussed the type of sheep that works at OARDC-EARS using several sheep examples on the research farm.  The OARDC-EARS sheep handling facility was discussed by Chris Clark, EARS Animal Manager, and Wayne Shriver, Clif Little, and Kevin Stottsbury, of OARDC-EARS provided tours of the research grazing paddocks utilized at the station.  Another popular topic was a discussion by Katherine Harrison, of Blystone Farms, who discussed Marketing to the Ethnic Population.   Dr. Bill Shulaw, OSU Extension Veterinarian for Sheep and Beef discussed the parasite issue with sheep producers including managing the flock with FAMACHA scoring.   Of course, food is always an important part of any Ohio Sheep Day event, and OSIA member, Leslie Jordan and her family managed to serve a wonderful lamb meal.  The roast lamb sandwiches, prepared by Kris Doyle and served by OSIA serving crew of Lisa Rodenfels, Fannie Brill, and others were a popular hit for the lunch time meal.  Bottled water donated by David Betts, a Licking County Sheep Producer and President of the Amanda Hills Premium Bottled Water Company, was a much needed addition to Ohio Sheep Day as the weather was a bit warm.

Looking forward to 2010: Breeding Sheep for a More Profitable Flock will be the focus of a comprehensive seminar on defining and selecting traits that can increase profits in sheep production. What are the latest innovations in sheep genetics? How do we use modern selection criteria to increase profits? The seminar will include selection of traits, advantages of crossbreeding systems and evaluation of sheep breeds and their contribution to the commercial industry. Genetics for production systems ranging from grain based to total grass and marketing goals from selling roaster lambs to 140# finished lambs will be included in the discussions. Dr. Dave Notter (VPI), Dr. Dave Thomas (Univ. of Wis.) and Dr. Kreg Leymaster(USDA Marc) have been asked to be the keynote speakers. Breakout sessions will include live animal evaluations and a panel discussion with Dr. Charles Parker as the moderator.

This joint regional conference is sponsored by the ASI genetics stakeholders committee, the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association, the Ohio Sheep and Wool Board and the Ohio State University. It will be held July 10-11, 2010 at Riverwood Farms, Powell, Ohio. More detailed information will be available at the Buckeye Shephards Symposium in December.

The planning committee for this seminar includes Bill Shultz, Rory Lewandowski, John Anderson, Dr. Henry Zerby, Eric Bruns, Susan Shultz and Roger High.

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