WOOSTER, Ohio — After winning a Border Leicester in the 2012 Youth Conservation Program, Taylor Howman, of Wooster, is now encouraging other young shepherds to enter the 2013 contest.
The purpose of the Youth Conservationist Program is to introduce young shepherds to breeds of sheep not commonly found in the United States. The ultimate goal of the program is to conserve breeds known as Heritage breeds.
“This contest helps kids get used to sheep, they can get their own sheep and learn to care for them,” she said.
“It also helps the Heritage breeds; if there are more of these sheep in the U.S. we can preserve these breeds.”
As part of the program, 4-H and FFA members between 9 and 18 are required to write an essay addressing the question “Why I would like to help preserve a heritage breed of sheep?”
In addition to explaining why they want to help preserve a Heritage breed, they must also explain how they would care for the sheep. Their entries must include a letter of recommendation from a teacher, veterinarian, clergy or 4-H or FFA adviser.
They must be present at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival to receive the lamb.
After Howman received her ewe lamb, Alisa, at the 2012 Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, she exhibited her lamb at the Wayne County Fair and the Ohio State Fair.
“I got last in my class,” she said. “Since there are not many Border Leicesters in our area, they are put in with other breeds of sheep.”
Border Leicesters are a wool type breed. Taylor said last summer, her grandfather sheared the lamb for her and she helped card the fleece for her grandmother to spin and knit into a vest. She wore the vest in the Shepherds’ Lead at the Wayne County Fair.
Howman is knitting a pair of mittens with some of the yarn, and planning to exhibit this year’s fleece at the National Border Leicester Show in Wooster in May.
Howman also was required to breed her ewe to a registered Border Leicester ram. The result was a set of twin lambs, a ewe and a ram, born Feb. 17.
Howman is also keeping a scrapbook highlighting her activities during the year and she will display the scrapbook at the 2013 Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.
As part of the program, Taylor has been promoting the contest through interviews and articles in several newspapers to encourage other young shepherds to enter the contest.
Entries for the 2013 contest must be postmarked by April 1.
For more information or to apply for the 2013 program contact Elaine Ashcraft, 46118 CR 58, Coshocton, OH 43812, or at tankewe–firstname.lastname@example.org.