Joanie Baker of Memphis, Mo., helps groom Tempest the goat in the Sheep Barn on Monday during the Junior American Boer Goat Association's 2019 National Show at Fonner Park. (Independent/Barrett Stinson)

The Nebraska Sheep and Goat producers association and Nebraska and Wyoming Extension is sponsoring an educational program for sheep and goat producers to be held in Chadron on July 12 and North Platte on July 13.

The Chadron meeting will be held at the Chadron State College Campus while the North Platte meeting will be held at The West Central Research and Extension Center.

The meetings will start at 9:30 with registration and will finish up at 4 p.m. The cost will be $15 or $25 for two and for students will be $10 which includes a noon meal, breaks and handouts.

The University of Wyoming educators and sheep specialist has received a grant from USDA to provide educational meetings throughout the region in sheep production so they will travel to NE to speak on topics dealing with the economics of sheep flocks, the management of pastures and forages plus control of internal parasites in sheep.

One of the highlights of the program will be a young sheep producer, Caleb Pirc from SW Idaho, who has recently established his own small flock of hair sheep and is utilizing many new and proven practices in his operation.

Pirc is one of the most innovative producers that one will have the opportunity to hear speak. He is stressing utilizing forages in his operation, pasture rotation, selecting for parasite resistance, and, in fact, submitting the collected data to the National Sheep Improvement Program for calculation of Estimated Breeding Values (EBV’s) in key production traits including internal parasite resistance.

In addition to breeding stock sales, he also harvests some of his pasture-finished lambs for meat sales in the grass-fed niche market, selling locally direct to consumers and through other sale opportunities. While he is not busy with his sheep enterprise he is finishing his last year in college. He reassures that the industry is in good hands with our youth.

Pirc will not only offer some challenges and help to the more traditional producers but also will be an example and help to any new producer getting into the sheep or meat goat business.

Laura McHale, from South Dakota will discuss a bacterial disease that is prevalent and lethal in the wild sheep population.

She is conducting research to see if it is present in any domestic flocks in Nebraska. This is very important research as some, that are not friendly to our sheep industry, feels that domestic sheep should not be allowed in areas where wild sheep have been introduced.

To round out the day Randy Saner, NE Extension Educator will discuss management and feeding of goats and will be on hand to answer any specific goat questions that goat producers may have.

To assure a noon meal reservation please preregister by calling or emailing Melissa Nicholson 308-386-8378 or ne.sheep.goat@gmail.com or Randy Saner at 308-696-6700 or randy.saner@unl.edu by July 9.

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