Extension and Ag Research News


Starter Flock Program Launched

A new program helps young people get a start in the sheep industry.

The North Dakota Lamb and Wool Producers Association has launched the perpetual starter flock program to help youth get into the sheep and wool industries.

The program, created with assistance from the North Dakota State University Extension Service, is open to youth ages 10 to 18.

Each youth selected for the program will receive 10 ewes from the association. The animals will be purchased at the association-sponsored ewe sale at the Bowman (N.D.) Livestock Market in September.

Also, the association will provide program participants with a list of producers who have volunteered to supply an RR ram. The participants will be responsible for arranging with the producer to obtain the ram.

“We hope this will encourage young people to become involved in an industry that is growing in numbers,” says Lyle Warner, NDLWPA president. “The growth and survival of the sheep industry, as any industry, is dependent on getting new people involved in the business.”

The association will recognize program participants at its annual convention in mid-November.

“The perpetual starter flock program is an excellent example of how the North Dakota Lamb and Wool Producers Association and NDSU Extension Service are working together to revitalize the state’s sheep industry,” says Justin Luther, NDSU Extension sheep specialist.

To be eligible for the program, youth must have a strong desire to become involved in the sheep industry. Active involvement in 4-H or FFA is beneficial, but not necessary.

Youth also must:

  • Be between age 10 and 18 as of Jan. 1 of the year they apply for the program
  • Accept mentoring from a designated association member, who can assist with production questions and issues
  • Attend the association’s convention the year they receive the sheep
  • Attend the convention the following year to give a progress report
  • Become a junior or senior member of the association
  • Return 20 percent of the cost of the ewes to the association in September of the second, third and fourth years after receiving the sheep to perpetuate the program’s efforts

Youth interested in participating should send an application to Luther at 100D Hultz Hall, NDSU, Fargo, ND 58105. The application must be postmarked by Aug. 1. Applicants also must submit a letter of support and endorsement from a parent or legal guardian and two letters of recommendation from people other than family members.

“This is a way for a young producer to get into the sheep business with a ‘sweat equity’ investment until they gain some experience and have an opportunity to realize a return,” says Curt Stanley, an NDLWPA board member and North Dakota sheep producer.

For more information about the program or to obtain an application form, contact Luther at (701) 231-7993 or justin.luther@ndsu.edu.

NDSU Agriculture Communication

Source:Justin Luther, (701) 231-7993, justin.luther@ndsu.edu
Editor:Ellen Crawford, (701) 231-5391, ellen.crawford@ndsu.edu
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