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A comprehensive risk management program for emerging SD sheep producers

Extension Education

Kelly Froehlich


A needs assessment indicated 43% of sheep producers in South Dakota have been involved in the industry for 10 years or less; a similar national trend exists.  Thus, SDSU Extension with support from the SD Sheep Growers Association created the Emerging Sheep Producers Program. This yearlong, nine-session program for people with 10 years or less of management experience in sheep production allows participants to increase knowledge in all aspects of the industry. Throughout the program participants are creating a business plan, and learning about sheep care through workshops, webinars, tours, and hands-on field days. This program is coupled with networking opportunities with experienced producers and professionals. To date, 21 participants completed three sessions (Business plan basics, Sheep production basics, and Lambing time basics). Overall, the objective of this program is to help mitigate risk and increase overall success in raising sheep through educational workshops and 1 on 1 mentoring. Prior to the start of the program the majority (17 participants) rated their current knowledge/experience level with sheep as ‘beginner’ defined as “some knowledge/experience, but not enough to teach or answer someone else’s questions on raising sheep”. This has justified the need of the program and preliminary evaluation of participants change in understanding has occurred. 73% of participants felt neutral to uncomfortable or very uncomfortable about production calendars compared to 26% after the first session. During this evaluation one participant quoted “After learning about the different calendars and systems, it seems easier to plan the year out for costs, breeding and marketing.”  As this program progresses it is hopeful that greater change of understanding occurs and that knowledge learned is applied to setting up a successful business plan.

Poster has NOT been presented at any previous NACAA AM/PIC

This poster is being submitted for judging. It will be displayed at the AM/PIC if not selected as a State winner. The abstract will be published in the proceedings.

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Authors: Kelly Froehlich, Jaelyn Whaley, Heidi Carroll
  1. Froehlich, K. Small Ruminant Extension Specialist, South Dakota State University, South Dakota, 57006
  2. Whaley, J. Sheep Field Specialist, South Dakota State University, South Dakota, 57006
  3. Carroll, H. Extension Livestock Stewardship Field Specialist & Beef Quality Assurance Coordinator , South Dakota State University, South Dakota, 57006