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Mark Your Calendars! September 11-13, 2015
Shepherd Workshops
Workshops for Shepherds of All Ages
  Registration Not Required


10:00 a.m.  Preparing A Fleece For Show and Sale To Handspinners
Learn how to make the most of your fleeces and increase your sales and profits. In this workshop, you will learn the basics of evaluating the quality of your fleece for the handspinning market and how to prepare a raw fleece for competition and/or sale to hand spinners. What are hand spinners looking for? How can you educate spinners about the qualities of your breed and your individual flock? How much should you charge for your fleeces? If you have never entered a fleece in a competition before, this is the class for you! If you have shown before but want to increase your sales or awards, this free workshop is a great chance to get some helpful feedback. Please feel free to bring a fleece with you that you would like to have evaluated! Holin Kennen, Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival Fleece Show Coordinator, Evansville, WI.
8:00 a.m.        

Hospitality Hour
Sponsored by: Mid-States Wool Growers and Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival

9:00 a.m.        

New Forages for Graziers
There are new things in the world — the forage and grazing world is exploding with new ideas, new species, new varieties. Chicory, plantain, hybrid forage brassicas, grazing radishes, high-sugar ryegrasses, novel endophytes, improved crabgrass, new clovers, dwarf sorghum-sudangrass, BMR, gala grazing brome. Do they fit Wisconsin conditions? Can you use them on your farm? Do they improve profitability? Come and hear about them. Woody Lane, Livestock Nutritionist & Forage Specialist, Lane Livestock Services, Roseburg, OR.

Ewe & Ram Management for a Successful Breeding Season   
Preparation for a successful lambing season starts one or two months before the breeding season begins. Producers willing to invest time and develop a plan early, will generally experience less stress and fatigue during the lambing season arrives and more profit potential when it’s over. Justin Luther, Associate Professor of Reproductive Physiology, University of Wisconsin River Falls, will provide an overview of general, nutritional and reproductive management considerations when preparing ewes and rams for a successful breeding season.

10:00 a.m.         

Remodeling ‘Retired’ Dairy Facilities for Sheep Production
America’s Dairyland is dotted with retired dairy barns, machinery and loafing sheds that can be converted to sheep production with some sweat equity and minimal expense. Dave Kammel, Professor & Extension Engineer, University of Wisconsin-Madison, has visited many sheep operations that utilize converted facilities and will share design information and examples of how those “retired” buildings can be adapted. Flexibility is key to changes in the production system throughout the year, along with a well-ventilated environment and labor efficiency.

Winter Ewe Feeding Systems: Reduce Costs and Maximize Efficiency
Feed is the largest expense for Midwestern farm-flock sheep producers, often times accounting for over 50% of total production expenses. With volatile grain prices and rising forage costs, efforts should be taken to minimize feed wastage and maximize the efficiency of the feed delivered to the ewe flock. Ewes are most often in the most critical stage of production nutritionally (late gestation and early lactation) during winter months when forage quantity and quality are lowest. Simple management strategies like methods of feeding forage and utilizing grain bi-products can reduce waste and maximize nutrients from feed. Chopping or grinding long-stem forages can reduce sorting and increase rumen fermentation. Feeding large bales of hay in feeders and limiting access to forage to 2 hours per day can reduce hay wastage as much as 45%. These feeding methods, paired with utilizing grain bi-products such as dried distillers grains, soy hulls, corn gluten and brewers grains can be an economically efficient means to reducing winter ewe feeding costs. Russell “Rusty” Burgett, Shepherd & Assistant Superintendent, UW-Madison, Spooner Agricultural Research Station.

11:00 a.m.      

Panel: The Challenge - What Lies Ahead?
Where is the industry headed in Wisconsin, the Midwest or the nation after several years with highly volatile lamb markets, continued growth in the specialty niche markets and a still shrinking national sheep infrastructure? While on a national level there are efforts being taken to correct many of the issues seen in our industry such as the Industry Roadmap, what are we going to do in Wisconsin? Can the Roadmap translate to local action? Can we stop the decline in stock ewes? Can we rebuild the commercial industry in this state? Join us for an open forum discussion about your industry, learn what’s being done and give us your best shot at what you think should happen! Moderated by Dave Thomas, Professor of Sheep Genetics & Management, UW-Madison.

1:00 p.m.  Making Decisions: Being Sustainable in a Nutritional World
The bottom line for a shepherd is to have a profitable and sustainable business, and by far, nutrition is the biggest slice of any sheep farm budget. If we can reduce our feed costs, we have a better chance of weathering the hard times and actually making a good profit when prices are high. It boils down to good business decisions. In this session, we’ll cover some basic decisions about nutrition and feed management that can guide your operation. Woody Lane, Livestock Nutritionist & Forage Specialist, Lane Livestock Services, Roseburg, OR.
9:00 a.m.     

Rare & Heritage Breeds Tour                    
This very popular and unique walking tour of the many different breeds that are on display in the Hall of Breeds will be conducted by Neil Kentner, Mason, MI. You’ll get a first hand look at many heritage breeds, take notes, learn the high points and many uses of each of the sheep breeds exhibited. You’ll receive breed information from the exhibitors and have an active conversation with Neil as he shares his practical experiences and knowledge of raising rare and heritage sheep! If you are thinking about a rare breed, this is the session you need to attend.

Top Ten Reasons A Border Collie is Better Than an ATV                   
Are you a livestock producer? Have you ever wondered whether a dog would help your operation? A well-trained stockdog can be an invaluable asset in most livestock production operations. We will show some examples of where and when it would be useful to use a dog over an ATV, people power, or a bucket of corn. We’ll also discuss the hows and whys of selecting a dog and how to get from puppy to useful partner on the farm. From rounding up a sick animal for treatment, moving ewe/lamb pairs up to the barn, rounding up the flock that got out the open gate and into the neighbor’s bean field, or watching your back around your rams, a good dog can save you time and money and, used properly, is a low-stress way to move livestock. We hope that you will enjoy this presentation and visit the Crook & Whistle Stockdog trial afterwards for further discussion! Pearse Ward, Sheepdog Handler, Past President of the Wisconsin Working Stock Dog Association, St. Paul, MN.

10:00 a.m. Filling Feed Holes: Forages When We Really Need Them
Anyone can grow forage in May. But what about the first few weeks in early spring, or during the summer slump in July, or having standing forage in November and December? Feeding hay and silage is astronomically more expensive than allowing sheep to walk to a pasture and graze it. Every year has predictable “feed holes” -- periods when forages are lacking. We’ll explore techniques for extending the grazing season and thus lowering your breakeven price. Woody Lane, Livestock Nutritionist & Forage Specialist, Lane Livestock Services, Roseburg, OR.
10:00 a.m. - Noon

Shetland & Other Primitive Breeds of the British Isles
Mary Gibbings, Somerset, England, joined the Rare Breeds Survival Trust in 1981 and has been involved in exhibiting and promoting Shetlands ever since. She has raised Hebridean, White Hebridean, Jacob and commercial sheep and continues to be closely involved with the U.K. sheep industry, inspecting and judging Shetlands throughout the country. In this two-hour presentation, she will discuss the history of the Shetland and other primitive breeds, her farming experiences with them as well as fleece characteristics and uses of the wool.

11:00 a.m.

Open Flock Management Forum
So you are raising sheep but have questions about feeding and managing your flock. Here’s a great opportunity to have an open discussion about sheep production, get feedback from fellow producers and discuss trends in the industry that can help solve your challenges. Join the conversation! All questions welcome, so ask away! Neil Kentner, noted purebred producer, livestock judge and farm flock entrepreneur from Mason, MI, will lead the discussion.

1:00 p.m.    

150 Years Since Those Young Men Carried Muskets 
It’s been 150 years since the Civil War. Young men served from many states — from the Union and from the Confederacy, including more than 90,000 from Wisconsin. They shouldered muskets, tramped dirt roads, ate hardtack, fought battles, and then came home and moved on with their lives. They became farmers, lawyers, scholars, scientists, congressmen, college presidents. Some were born as slaves. After the War they helped make a new world, one from which our Sheep Industry still benefits. We’ll meet some of these men, trace their histories, and see how their post-war efforts affect us as shepherds today. Woody Lane, Livestock Nutritionist & Forage Specialist, Lane Livestock Services, Roseburg, OR.

The Structure of the UK Sheep Farming & Wool Industry
The call of the curlew welcomes visitors to Higher Gills Farm, a hill farm adjacent to Rimington Moor and in the shadow of Pendle Hill. Owned and run by the Pilkington family, Higher Gills is a stock rearing farm, with sheep and cattle. Darrell and Freda Pilkington have kept a small flock of pedigree Teeswater sheep for 30 years. Originating from the Teswater area of County Durham the Teeswater sheep produces fine long stapled lustrous wool with a natural permanent curl. During the 1920s, Teeswater rams became a popular crossing ram, especially when mated with hill ewes to produce the half-bred lambs (Masham) as replacements in lowland flocks. With the introduction of Continental breeds in the 1970s the popularity of Teeswaters declined and the breed is now on the endangered list (cat.2) of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust. There are now only 450 registered females on the society list. Darrell and Freda produce a range of woolen products from their own and other peoples’ pedigree Teeswater fleeces and they also offer visitor accommodations in a 200-year old renovated granary. Darrell Pilkington will discuss the structure of UK sheep production and its woolen industry, including the breeds of sheep and the reasons for keeping certain types of sheep relative to the habitat they live on. He will also track the route of UK wool from fleece to yarn, including grading and sales by the Wool Marketing Board, processing and spinning on a commercial scale.

Shearing Workshop

This is a free workshop for producers or anyone interested in shearing equipment and techniques, such as basic shears maintenance, breed differences, handpiece set up and adjustment, comb selection, tension, oiling and sharpening blades, hard to handle animals and shearing standing animals. David Kier, Professional Shearer, Eleva, Wisconsin.


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