U.S. Targhee Sheep Association announces the 2014 Starter Flock recipients

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Farm Forum

2014 is a landmark year for the U.S. Targhee Sheep Association (USTSA) Starter Flock Program which honors young applicants with a beginning flock of three ewes donated by its members. Made possible by the incredible generosity of the association membership, there will be two Starter Flock Awards presented at the USTSA National Show & Sale, July 17-19, in Brookings, South Dakota. Targhee breeders from across the county recognize the importance of bringing quality youth into the sheep industry, and in the sixth year of the program, the USTSA is proud to announce its 2014 award winners.

Haylee Kilber from Ipswich, S.D.

Haylee, 15 years old, is looking forward to raising her own sheep. She knows what its like to raise cattle and bottle calves, but they have not had sheep until now. Thanks to the Beastrom family, Haylee has had the opportunity to lease animals in the past to show at their county and state fairs, but never her own. “There is a lot of great competition at the state fair that I hope to compete with in the following years.”

State Fair is not Haylee’s only focus though. “My goal in life is to improve the lives of others and to inform them of the many possibilities that are available to them… By starting our own Targhee ewe flock we could provide an opportunity for children to show a lamb. Having animals teaches responsibility and holds young children accountable. Responsibility is a key aspect of life.”

Haylee is no stranger to hard work with animals. Early morning bottle feedings, exercising her animals, and preparing them for show and sale are not easy, but she and her little brother and sisters try to make it as fun as possible. Her parents, Scott and Bobbie, have promised their support in her project. Scott raised Southdowns and commercial crossbreds as a kid. And now in his position as a feed salesman, he will be an invaluable resource for Haylee to be sure she is feeding her animals correctly.

“I plan to sell the lambs that are produced out of the ewes and generate some revenue from them. The money I earn would then be put towards my college education. The sheep will also teach me work ethic and responsibility, which are both key things to live in today’s world. Opportunity is out there so go find it and capture it.” It sounds like there will be many opportunities in Haylee’s future!

Haylee will be receiving a ewe lamb from Dean & Charleen Von Krosigk (Riverton, Wyoming), a yearling ewe from the Lewis Family Ranch (Reed Point, Montana), and a brood ewe from Drs. Rod & Lana Kuenzi (Waukesha, Wisconsin). The USTSA is grateful for their generosity and support of this program!

Seth Schoon from White River, S.D.

To say Seth, 10 years old, is a focused and dedicated young man would be an understatement. For his Starter Flock application essay, Seth hand wrote a seven-page paper documenting anything and everything that could relate to him winning this award! And his family members are no strangers to the livestock industry. Seth’s parents, Lealand and Jennifer, were raised in the business and they currently raise sheep, beef cattle and milk cows on their ranch in South Dakota.

The family flock consists of range ewes with a Rambouillet emphasis, aiming to have a fine quality fleece while producing a quality carcass. They have improved their flock by using Targhee rams in the past, so Seth has had the opportunity to see first hand what the Targhee breed can do. He currently owns 2 Rambouillet ewes and a ewe lamb he raised from his first ewe, and according to his parents, helps with overall lambing, shearing and pasture management. “Because of our grazing management, our lambs wean heavier than some other producers and have brought top price the day of the sale.”

Seth raised the money for his ewe purchases from his chicken business he started 3 years ago. “I own 30 Rhode Island Red laying hens. Everyday, I go down to the coop and let them out. I make sure they have fresh water and grain.” And that is one way Seth has become active in his local 4-H club, presenting his demonstration titled “Egg Preparation.” Last year, he displayed one dozen uniform, clean eggs that brought him a purple ribbon.

Already looking forward to receiving his flock, Seth has a plan for his future as a Targhee producer. “My sheep may provide customers with quality wool for spinners to make yarn, bulk wool taken to the warehouse, and raw wool for projects. In addition my lamb will provide for a great eating experience.” Seth and his brothers will usually ask their parents for lamb to eat instead of the beef they raise. He has also made lamb jerky, which is an idea Seth wants to share with their current non-lamb consumers as a way to expand the family business.

“My parents have said that the Targhee breed has been using the National Sheep Improvement Program (NSIP). I can tell that Targhee’s must be looking into the future as a result.” The USTSA is continuing to look into the future and is excited that youth like Seth are going to be a part of it!

Seth will be receiving a ewe lamb from the Jon & Theresa Beastrom family (Pierre, South Dakota), a yearling ewe from Desire Routier (Lake Benton, Minnesota – the 2011 USTSA Starter Flock Program award winner), and a yearling ewe from Amber Borchardt (Watertown, Wisconsin – the 2013 Wisconsin Junior Targhee Sheep Association Starter Flock winner) and the Jeff & Leslie Nevens family (Lodi, Wisconsin). The USTSA is thankful for their belief in and support of this program!