SDSU Extension accepting applications for emerging sheep producers program

South Dakota State University Extension
A herd of sheep standing in a pasture.

Applications are now available for the SDSU Extension Emerging Sheep Producers Program. The program is designed for sheep producers who want to develop or improve a full or part-time sheep operation and is an opportunity for participants to increase their knowledge of all aspects of the sheep industry and improve their skills needed to be successful shepherds.

Those eligible for the program must be older than 18 years of age with 10 years or less of management experience in sheep production. If not currently involved in sheep production, participants must show a strong desire to manage a sheep operation in the future.

The program will run from September 2022 through August 2023 and will consist of a nine-session course that is a combination of workshops, webinars, hands-on field days and networking opportunities. Throughout the course, participants can expect to receive hands-on experience working with sheep and a step-by-step process of developing a personalized business management plan.

Whether a participant has ten, or thousands of sheep, this course is designed to help mitigate risk and increase overall success in raising sheep. Participants can also expect additional assistance through personalized, one-on-one consultation visits to their own operation or with mentors, if needed.

Applicants must complete and submit the application form by July 31. Based on the application, up to 20 people will be selected to participate. Couples and family members are welcome to apply from the same operation. Participants must make a commitment to the entire program and actively participate in all program components with an open mindset to learning new ideas. If more than one individual per operation is accepted, both individuals must fully participate.

Funding for the project is sourced from work supported by USDA-NIFA under Award Number 2021-70027-34694 and registration fees.

The participant registration fee is $200 per person or $300 per couple, if they are members of the South Dakota Sheep Growers Association. Fees for non-members are $250 per person or $350 per couple.

Registration fees will be due upon acceptance into the program. With their registration, participants will receive a one-year membership to the South Dakota Sheep Growers Association, meals at in-person workshops, a lambing kit, an ASI Sheep Production Handbook and a grazing stick, as well as other print and digital resources. In addition to registration fees, participants will be required to cover travel and hotel costs for in-person workshops.

Interested individuals can find more information or apply by visiting the SDSU Extension Emerging Sheep Producers Program webpage.

For more information or questions, contact Kelly Froehlich, Assistant Professor & SDSU Extension Sheep and Goat Specialist, at kelly.froehlich@sdstate.edu or 605-688-5433, or Jaelyn Quintana, SDSU Extension Sheep Field Specialist, at jaelyn.quintana@sdstate.edu or 605-394-1722.