WOOSTER, Ohio — From novice shepherds to the experienced, and everything in between, the Buckeye Shepherd’s Symposium Dec. 2, in Wooster, hoped to have something for everyone, according to Roger High, executive director of the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association and the Ohio Sheep and Wool Program.
All eyes were on the center stage at the Shisler Conference Center at OARDC, Saturday afternoon, as awards were presented to farms, individuals and businesses who have made an impact on the Ohio sheep industry.
Al Kin and his sons, Jim and Phil, proved they know a thing or two about raising quality sheep, as they were named the 2017 Charles Boyles Master Shepherd. Kin Brothers Corriedales, of Wyandot County, got its start as a 4-H project in the 1940s and includes a line of genetics that has influenced the Ohio sheep industry.
Along with their dedication to the breed, the Kins were also recognized for their service to their fellow sheep producers. During a video presentation announcing the award, friend of the family and fellow breeder Alex Wolf said the Kins, “have always been good mentors of ours.”
Wolf purchased a buck from the Kins which he said turned his own flock around. When it came time to show, the Kins were always willing to provide a helping hand to get Wolf’s animals ready for the show.
High said what makes this award special is that it recognizes the entire family working together to make the farm a success. “When you think of a family like the Kins, they are just really deserving of this award,” he said.
Dorsets and Daylilies Farm, owned by Jason and Kirsten Hatfield of Muskingum County, received the Environmental Stewardship Award. The farm was also named the Muskingum County Environmental Stewardship Award winner in 2016.
The Hatfields raise 150 head of registered Dorsets and have a flock of white Dorper and Dorper crosses. They also grow over 800 varieties of daylilies and are actively hybridizing daylilies of their own
Service to the sheep industry
Distinguished service awards were presented to individuals and businesses who have made a difference in the Ohio sheep industry.
Leah Amstutz served on the OSIA board of trustees for three terms and played a large role in the development of the revised OSIA Code of Regulations (approved in April 2013) and spearheaded the development of the OSIA LEAD Council during the dissolution of the Ohio Club Lamb Association.
Barnesville Livestock LLC, owned by Darryl Watson, was recognized for being one of the top sheep and lamb markets in the state and one of the largest markets in southeastern Ohio. Barnesville Livestock also opens its facilities for educational programs.
Roger Hunker, of Bellevue, Ohio, served on the OSWP board for nine years and is term-limited as of the end of 2017. His company BreedersWorld.com has been a major sponsor of the OSIA LEAD Council programs and activities.
The Friend of the Ohio Sheep Industry award was presented to Mike Dyer, a private coyote trapper who has been protecting flocks in eastern Ohio for decades. He also served as a speaker and educator at several workshops, including 2015 Ohio Sheep Day.
The Ralph Grimshaw Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Katie Frost of Fayette County.
Morgan Mazey, of Wood County, and Kierstyn Wood, of Wayne County, each received OSIA LEAD Council scholarships.
Jacob Wenner, of Delaware County, received the Dr. Jack Judy Memorial Scholarship Award.
Zack Parrott, of Morrow County, was recognized as the State FFA State Sheep Proficiency Award winner, and Brandon Zuercher, of Hancock County, was recognized for being the State 4-H Sheep Achievement Award winner.
From 9 a.m.-4 p.m., producers had a full schedule of educational sessions and opportunities to network with producers across the state.
Break-out sessions included: novice and beginning sheep producer tracks; sheep reproduction to improve productivity including an afternoon session on artificial insemination; a marketing 101 targeting new ethnic and non-traditional markets; and a lamb cooking and cutting demonstration.
New this year, a second day was added to the programing to incorporate the next generation of Ohio shepherds. The evening before the symposium, a Young Shepherd’s Program was held at Jake’s Steakhouse in Wooster.
Christine Gelley, symposium planning committee member, said 19 young shepherds attended, ages ranging from 18-35, and listened to a panel of fellow young shepherds share their experiences in the sheep industry.
Gelley said decisions made within the organization have been primarily dominated by the older generation and “there hasn’t been an opportunity for the younger shepherd’s to jump in.”
By having programs like the Young Shepherd’s College and the Young Shepherd’s Program, Gelley’s hope is that more young producers will become active in the association and the sheep industry. “We’re trying to bridge that gap,” she said.
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