By DOUG GRAVES
COLUMBUS, Ohio – For the first time in the association’s 71-year history, the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association (OSIA) will conduct its Buckeye Shepherd’s Symposium in a virtual format. The event will be held via Zoom on Friday, Dec. 4 from 2-5 p.m. Though it’s going virtual this season, the goal is the same: to expand the knowledge of sheep nutrition and have a connection among peers in Ohio’s lamb and wool industries.
“We’ve worked hard and diligently to get this program up and going,” said Brady Campbell, coordinator of Ohio State University’s sheep team. “Unfortunately due to everything that is happening, we still wanted to provide an opportunity for our shepherds to be able to connect and to receive some of the information we traditionally provide every year at the Buckeye Shepherd Symposium. The focus of the program is on feeding your flock year round and the sessions are packed with nutrition management information.
“When you take a look at our sheep numbers and membership that is passionate about the sheep industry, we rank among the top three in the nation according to the American Sheep Industry Association. This is a great opportunity for networking and sharing information. At the conclusion of the symposium we will be holding our annual meeting for OSIA and also there will be an opportunity to share ideas and management practices and hopefully learn a thing or two from one another.”
This year’s event will be offered in a condensed format, featuring multiple guest speakers presenting in various formats and styles about flock nutrition, with no fee to register.
Francis Fluharty (current Department Head of Animal and Dairy Sciences at the University of Georgia) will kick off the event with a presentation on how to manage feeding programs. He will cover topics including feed processing, digestive upset, and observing animal behavior. Fluharty will also cover the importance of providing a consistent mineral and vitamin program for ewe flock on a yearly basis.
“With breeding season complete and lambing season knocking on the way, now is not the time to forget about those minerals,” Fluharty said.
Also on the program is Garth Ruff, OSU Extension beef cattle field specialist. He will be presenting on the topic of feeding wet forages based on his background in both forage and sheep production. Garth will review the how’s and why’s of harvesting and preserving wet forages and how to safely feed to small ruminants. Garth and his family have first-hand experience in feeding wet forages to their sheep throughout the winter months.
Addressing the group will be Tim Barnes of OSU Extension ANR in Marion County, Christine Gelley of OSU Extension ANR in Noble County, and Brady Campbell of the OSU Sheep Team and Department of Animal Sciences.
Barnes will present a collective view of the 2019 State Fair Carcass Evaluations. Gelley and Campbell will present an intriguing update on university research related to sheep in the current year.
Immediately following the Buckeye Shepherd Symposium webinar, the floor will be opened for the 2020 OSIA annual meeting from 5 to 5:30 p.m. All in attendance for the symposium are welcome to join. However, only dues paying members will have their votes counted on election items.
At the conclusion of the annual meeting participant can join in the virtual Shepherd’s Social Hour. This portion of the event will allow shepherds to meet in an informal space to continue networking and sharing ideas on how to make the industry better for now and the next generation. The Zoom link and password for this meeting room will be distributed during the symposium webinar.
The event is free but participants must register ahead of time. Participants to any of the three mentioned events must register online by visiting and completing the submission form at https://go.osu.edu/ohiosheep to receive the meeting connection information.
Once completed, registered guests will receive an email with access information for the webinar. Creating a Zoom account is not a requirement to participate. Registration may occur at any point leading up to the symposium, even mid-session on Dec. 4.
If a commitment prevents you from attending the event live, there will be additional opportunities to view the recorded presentations. Recordings will be available for viewing on the OSU Sheep Team webpage in 2021.
For help registering for this event, contact Roger High (614-246-8299), Brady Campbell (740-434-3252) or Christine Gelley (740-305-3173).
The OSIA plans to hold its in-person Buckeye Shepherd’s Symposium at the Shisler Conference Center on OSU’s Wooster Campus on Dec. 3-4, 2021.