Ohio sheep producers honor peers and industry supporters at symposium

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(Susan Mykrantz photos)Coshocton County commercial sheep producer Karen Locke received the 2014 Charles Boyle Master Shepherd award Dec. 6 from the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association. Also pictured are Ohio Lamb & Wool Queen Savannah Forgey; Roger High, association executive director; and Daryl Clark (right), immediate past president.

WOOSTER, Ohio —Supporting and promoting the Ohio sheep industry and building future leaders were just a few reasons the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association honored eight of its own during the 2014 Buckeye Shepherds Symposium Dec. 6. The symposium was held at the Shisler Conference Center in Wooster, Ohio.

Master Shepherd

Karen Locke of Warsaw, Ohio, received the Charles Boyles Ohio Master Shepherd Award, presented to a sheep producer who has made substantial contributions to the sheep industry and its organizations in Ohio.

Locke and her family farm 500 acres in Coshocton County where they maintain a flock of 200 ewes. She is a third generation shepherd, following the footsteps of her father, grandfather and great-grandfather. Her daughter Lisa and her family continue the family sheep operation, marking the fourth and fifth generations on the farm.

Locke has been active in her county sheep association and has been willing to open her farm to educate both the public and other shepherds about the sheep industry. She serves as a key leader for the Coshocton County 4-H sheep program and has helped with clinics for young exhibitors.

Locke served on the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association board of trustees and was a member of the Ohio Sheep and Wool Program Board at its inception in 1989.

Commercial flock

Although she maintains a commercial flock, Locke has developed her own National Sheep Improvement Program record system, with a goal to raise three crops of lambs in two years, with 175 percent of the lambs weaned off the ewes. She said she tries to have lambs ready for auction every two weeks to maintain a steady income on the farm.

Industry awards

shepherds.OSIA FriendsThe Ohio Sheep Improvement Association and the Ohio Sheep and Wool Program presented the Friend of the Ohio Sheep Industry Award to Dr. Charles Parker, retired chair of Ohio State University’s Department of Animal Sciences, and Von Davidson an artist and source of unique hand-painted trophies for sheep shows at all levels.

Davidson was also responsible for designing and painting the table favors at the all-breed picnic which were sold and raised over $16,000 for youth activities in Ohio.

Parker has been instrumental in the development and implementation of many sheep research projects both at The Ohio State University and at the United States Sheep Research Station in Dubois, Idaho.

Distinguished service

The Distinguished Service Awards were presented to: the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation Communications Department Dr. Paul Kuber; Doran Gordon; Jerry Allison; and Don Van Nostran.

The Ohio Sheep Improvement Association, represented by Executive Director Roger High (left), presented its Distinguished Service Awards to (L-R) the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation communications department, represented by Pat Petzel; Don Van Nostran; Doran Gordon; and Dr. Paul Kuber.
The Ohio Sheep Improvement Association, represented by Executive Director Roger High (left), presented its Distinguished Service Awards to (L-R) the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation communications department, represented by Pat Petzel; Don Van Nostran; Doran Gordon; and Dr. Paul Kuber.

The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation Communications Department Communication department members produce the Ohio Sheep Producer Newsletter, contact media representatives, prepare information for Our Ohio, prepare news releases and anything else that has to do with communications for the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association.

A professor in Ohio State University’s Department of Animal Sciences, Dr. Paul Kuber has been involved in many of the association’s lamb promotion activities including Ohio Lamb Jam, Ohio Lamb Chef’s Day, Ohio Sheep Day and Lamb 509. He was also recognized for teaching small ruminant courses, speaking at the Buckeye Shepherd’s Symposium and other educational programs and coordinating the Australia and the Idaho/Utah sheep industry tours.

Kuber has accepted an Extension position at Washington State University.

Doran Gordon, of Tuscarawas County, has been instrumental in the success of the Tuscarawas/Coshocton County Sheep Association’s sheep shearing schools for many years. He taught many people over the years to shear sheep as a hobby and as a profession.

Jerry Allison, of Zanesville, was recognized for his service on Ohio Sheep Improvement Association board of trustees for four years, and Don Van Nostran of Athens, Ohio, for his seven years on the board, including one year as secretary/treasurer.

Scholarships

Pierce Bennett of Shelby County and Mark Inbody of Hancock County received the 2014 Ralph Grimshaw Memorial Scholarships.

Bennett is a student at Kansas State University, majoring in animal science with a communications option. He is involved with his family’s sheep operation where they raise club lambs and breeding sheep.

Inbody is a student at the University of Kentucky, majoring in natural resources with a minor in animal science. His interest in the sheep industry began in 1999 when he started raising Rambouillets and added Dorpers in 2000.

Emily Johnson was recognized as the recipient of the Ohio 4-H Sheep Award, while Mckenzey Shell of Fairfield County was recognized as the recipient of the Ohio FFA Sheep Proficiency Award.

New leaders

Elected to serve on the board of trustees were Kathy Bielek, Dusty Knapke, Denise Percival and Bob Hendershot.

Serving as president for 2015 will be Shawn Ray, who operates a commercial flock in Noble County. Vice president is Mark McCabe, who operates a purebred Shropshire flock in Marion County, and second vice president will be Mike Stitzlein who operates a club lamb operation in Ashland County. Past president is Daryl Clark who operates a commercial sheep flock in Muskingum County.

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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.

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