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Michigan sheep breeders to host yearly convention
By KEVIN WALKER
Michigan Correspondent

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Sheep Breeders Assoc. (MSBA) will host its annual Michigan Shepherds’ Weekend in Lansing on Jan. 7-8, featuring a wide variety of topics and guest speakers.

Although it’s too late for early registration, it’s not too late to sign up for the event. The cost to register is $35 for an individual, $50 for a family, not including meals and hotel expenses. The cost for nonmembers is an additional $25, but it’s only $20 to join the MSBA. The event starts Saturday morning with an early bird coffee, registration and the MSBA annual meeting.

“It’s a family affair,” said Pat Tirrell, who helps to manage the MSBA along with her husband, MSBA’s Executive Secretary Duane Tirrell. “There’s youth programs. We try to have something for everyone. Our goal is to educate.”

Topics covered include Lamb 201 – Meat Science for the Lamb Industry, presented by Henry Zerby of Ohio State University; How to Outsmart a Wolf: Old and New Tools for Reducing Livestock Losses to Predators, presented by Tom Gehring of Central Michigan University; Why Do I Need a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan? presented by Julia Heilig, a CNMP consultant; and many other topics.

At 4 p.m. master producers from 2004 will give presentations on raising purebred and commercial sheep.

Kirby Hostetler, master commercial sheep producer for 2004, described the sheep market as a good business, especially compared to raising hogs and growing cash crops. Hostetler has 350 sheep in Athens, Mich.

“For the past four years it’s been a bright spot in agriculture,” Hostetler said. “You can make more dollars per acre with sheep than with cash crops.”

He also said Joseph Rook, a veterinarian at Michigan State University and one of the featured speakers at the event, would be good to listen to and has helped the sheep industry in Michigan.

“He doesn’t care who you are,” Hostetler said. “He’ll talk to anybody.”

There will be a social hour and youth auction at 6 p.m. on Saturday, and a banquet at 7 p.m. There will also be more youth programs and activities, and another round of presentations on Sunday.

An industry trade show will be going on at the same time. Sponsors of the event include the Wolverine Packing Co. of Detroit, Mich. and the Mid-States Wool Growers Cooperative.

For more information about guest speakers and the event, call the Tirrells at 517-543-7395. To reserve a hotel room at the event-hosting Holiday Inn in Lansing, call 517-627-3211.

For a registration form and a list of program events, visit www.misheep.org and click on “events.”

Published in the January 4, 2006 issue of Farm World.

1/4/2006