Ohio Heartland Sheep Improvement Association honors Suzie Gortner

SMITHVILLE, Ohio — Suzie Gortner received the Ohio Heartland Sheep Improvement Association’s Meritorious Service Award winner during the annual banquet at the Wayne County Schools Career Center.

Gortner served as secretary/treasurer of the group for nine years and helped coordinate many of the group’s activities during her tenure. Gortner and her husband raise and show registered Hampshires.

Busy year

During the banquet, Russ Johnson, 2012-2013 president, highlighted the group’s activities over the past year. In addition to hosting their annual banquet, the group provided educational displays at the Wayne County Fair, Wayne County Farm Tour and Buckeye Shepherd’s Symposium.

They also sponsored a workshop for checking and testing for worms in sheep, and coordinated the class, Sheep 101: Introduction to Sheep Husbandry. In August, the group hosted the Katahdin Hair Sheep International Expo Sale. They coordinated farm tours and education programs for the group.

FAMACHA method. In 2013, the group is planning a workshop to teach sheep producers how to use the Famacha system to check their flock for parasites.

FAMACHA is system developed in South Africa that allows small ruminant (sheep and goat) owners to evaluate the need for de-worming treatment of individual animals based on eyelid color. This workshop is scheduled for June 1 at the OARDC’s Sheep Unit in Wooster.

They will also be hosting a field day July 12, prior to Ohio Sheep Day. The field day will feature tours and pasture walks of three sheep operations in the Holmes County area.

Pasture walks

Rory Lewandowski, OSU Extension, Wayne County, Jeff McCutcheon, OSU Extension, Morrow County and Bob Hendershot, Green Pasture Services, will lead the pasture walks and discuss pasture management and sheep production systems.

Other activities in the planning stages include 2013 Sheep 101 and a lamb tasting series at Local Roots.

Ohio Heartland Sheep Improvement Association received an $800 grant from the American Sheep Industry Association to use toward promoting lamb.

Trip highlights

Leah Miller presented the program showing highlights of a trip sponsored by the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association to tour flocks in the western United States. She said 80 percent of the sheep are produced west of the Mississippi, while 80 percent of the producers are east of the Mississippi.

She said the producers in the West deal with a different set of problems than those in the east, including predator issues from bears and wolves and guest worker issues for their labor.

Serving as officers for 2013-2014 will be Don Brown, president; Devon and Brandon Grosjean, co-vice presidents; Linda Myers, secretary; and Dave and Veida Limbach, treasurers.

About the Author

Freelance writer Susan Mykrantz has been writing for Farm and Dairy since 1989. She is a graduate of the ag college at Ohio State University and also serves as editor of the "Ohio Jersey News." She lives in Wayne County. More Stories by Susan Mykrantz

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