Youth Sheep Starter Flock Program seeking applicants

NDSU Extension
Farm Forum

For the 11th year, North Dakota State University Extension and the North Dakota Lamb and Wool Producers Association are offering North Dakota youth an opportunity to become involved in the sheep industry and build their own flock.

Youth chosen for the Starter Flock Discounted Loan Program will receive an interest-free loan to purchase 10 yearling Rambouillet ewes from the association. The association will buy the ewes from NDSU’s Hettinger Research Extension Center.

Youth receiving the ewes will be assigned a mentor, who will be available to answer the youths’ questions and help them with recordkeeping and setting management goals.

The youth also have the option of arranging for a mentor on their own.

“Nearly 100 young producers have taken advantage of the opportunity to learn about sheep, lamb and wool production in North Dakota during the past decade,” says Travis Hoffman, NDSU Extension sheep specialist. “Now is a great time for young sheep enthusiasts to receive a solid start of 10 ewes with limited risk through a great loan program.”

The youth must pay back 70 percent of the value of the ewes. The first payment is due by Nov. 1 of the second year the youth have the ewes. The youth have two more years to pay off the balance of the loan.

To be eligible to receive ewes, youth must be 10 to 18 years old by Aug. 1 of the year they apply for a loan.

“It’s a great opportunity for young people to get involved in a growing industry,” says Luke Dukart, Mandan sheep producer and former starter flock participant. “It is also very affordable for them as well.”

Go to for an application or more information about the loan program.

Applications are due Aug. 10. Successful recipients will pick up their ewes at the Hettinger Research Extension Center on Sept. 21.

They’ll also take part in the Beginning Shepherds Clinic, an educational program to help them get started with their flock.

For more information, contact:

• Dukart at 701-214-2123 or

• Hoffman at 701-231-2222 or

• Dave Pearson at 701-928-1410 or

• Wyman Scheetz at 701-220-4639 or

Faith Norby of Killdeer, N.D., picks up her starter flock.