Youth Sheep Starter Flock Program seeking applicants

North Dakota State University Extension
Farm Forum

For the 12th 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.

“The ewes look better than ever,” says Dave Pearson, NDSU Hettinger REC shepherd. “These Wyoming-bred ewes are a great opportunity for young people to get involved in a growing sheep industry.”

Youth receiving the ewes will be assigned a mentor, who will be available to answer the youths’ questions and help them with record-keeping and setting management goals. The youth also have the option of arranging for a mentor on their own.

“Over 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% 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.

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

Applications are due Aug. 15. Successful recipients will pick up their ewes at the Hettinger Research Extension Center tentatively on Sept. 19. They’ll also take part in a Beginning Shepherds Clinic, an educational program to help them get started with their flock.

For more information, contact:

  • Luke Dukart at 701-214-2123.
  • Hoffman at 701-231-2222.
  • Pearson at 701-928-1410.
  • Wyman Scheetz at 701-220-4639.