WOOSTER, Ohio — The key to profitability in sheep farming starts with the shepherd’s understanding of the tools available and skillfulness in using them, Woody Lane told those gathered for the Buckeye Shepherds’ Symposium, held Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.
Lane, livestock nutritionist, forage specialist and author, was the main speaker for the annual event hosted by the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association, and held at the Shisler Conference Center, in Wooster, Ohio.
Based in Roseburg, Oregon, Lane runs Lane Livestock Services, a private livestock consulting business.
During his sessions, Lane discussed various tools shepherds can use to improve nutrition, management and overall health of their animals.
It starts, he said, with lambing dates. When you choose to lamb sets up the nutritional requirements throughout the year.
Particularly in grass-based models, the key is knowing different methods to control, contain or encourage the right nutrition at the right time.
“It takes real skill to get animals to do what you want them to do on forage,” Lane said.
Lane also urged attendees to be nimble and assess the health of their flocks. Recommended dry matter intake is just a number, he said.
“Animals don’t use a number,” Lane said. “They eat what they want.”
During the event, the association honored longtime Hardin County sheep farmer, Dave Burkhart, as the 2018 Charles Boyle Master Shepherd.
Dave Rowe, of Madison County, was honored with a Distinguished Service Award, for his time on the Ohio Sheep and Wool Program board. Elysian Fields, a group that has helped market large numbers of Ohio lambs, was also honored by the association.
Mike Bumgarner, CEO of United Producers Inc., was named Friend of the Sheep Industry, for his help in dissolving the club lamb association and creating LEAD, which is the state’s youth program.
Doug Lichtenberger, of Marion County, earned Environmental Stewardship Award honors this year.
The association also honored these scholarship recipients: Ralph Grimshaw Memorial Scholarship, Ben Gastier, Erie County; Dr. Jack Judy Memorial Scholarship, Katie Frost, Fayette County; and OSIA LEAD Council scholarships: Samantha McAllister, Darke County; Kayla Ritter, Montgomery County; Seth Wasilewski, Richland County; and Austen Wood, Wayne County.
Zane Parrott, of Morrow County, was honored as the Ohio FFA State Sheep Proficiency Award winner, and the 2018 State 4-H Sheep Achievement Award winner was Sean McCutcheon, of Licking County.
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