Dwight Loveday, Associate Professor
Approximately 50 youth, parents and volunteers participated in State 4-H Sheep Conference, May 25-26, at Tennessee Tech University. Tennessee Farmer’s Cooperative, FACCT and Tennessee Sheep Producers Association partnered with UT Extension to sponsor the event.
Activities began Friday night with a session for 8th-12th grade sheep exhibitors to learn about sheep genetics. Amy Powell Pedersen, 4-H Livestock Specialist at Iowa State University, discussed some basic sheep genetics followed by a ram selection exercise. Participants set flock production goals and then used NSIP ram data to select their rams.
Saturday’s program started off with skillathon training lead by teen leaders. Thanks to Randall Kimes, Clay County, for providing the skillathon stations. Also, each participant learned how to make a rope halter. Following the skillathon training, Matt Crisp with Tennessee Farmers CO-OP lead a session on feeding your project lamb and Mark Powell, Tennessee Sheep Producers, offered tips on keeping your project lamb healthy. After lunch, the participants received showmanship training and slick shearing grooming tips from Melissa Hubbard, Hubbard Club Lambs, Ewing, VA. Thomas Greenlee, Rhea County, demonstrated fitting wool for youth showing sheep in fleece.
The educational program concluded with the Sheep Quiz Bowl and presentation of awards. The winning quiz bowl team consisting of Taylor Young (Bedford County), John Buyrl Neely (Rutherford County), Bristol Brown (Anderson County) bested the runner-up team from Wilson County (Grace Powell, Anna Powell and Preslee Lamberson) by one question. The top educational exhibits were from: Sarah Powell (Wilson County), John Buyrl Neely (Rutherford County), T. J. Williams (Williamson County), Anna Powell (Wilson County), Grace Moore (Marion County), Nicholas Monday (Anderson County) and Grace Powell (Wilson County). Quiz bowl and educational exhibit winners all received prizes from TN Farmer’s Co- operative.