January 28, 2004
For More Information Contact:
Judy Malone, Information Specialist ? 303-771-3500, ext. 35
Laura Gerhard, Communications Manager ? 303-771-3500, ext. 30
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Denver, Colo. ? After a six-year absence, the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) re-instated the tradition of an annual awards ceremony at its national convention. Winners were recognized during an awards lunch at the Annual ASI/NLFA Convention in Sacramento, Calif., on Friday, Jan. 23, 2004.
The McClure Silver Ram Award was presented to Roger Thacker of Versailles, Ky., for his substantial contribution to the sheep industry. Thacker has been an active member of the Kentucky Sheep and Wool Producers Association as well as ASI for more than three decades. He worked to get sheep and goats included in the funding opportunities from the Kentucky Agriculture Development Board and in 1996, the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture Sheep Profit Day was dedicated to Thacker for his many contributions to the state sheep industry. Thacker?s diligence and dedication to resource management and environmental issues are legendary.
Dr. Joseph Rook of Holt, Mich., was the recipient of the Flock Guardian Award. This award recognizes an individual for outstanding management of resources to enhance flock management. Rook has performed numerous studies which include lamb mortality in both shed and pasture lambing operations; the promotion of extended seasonal grazing with the use of alternative forages; and procurement of seed for yield and forage analysis. This past year, he designed a program to look at the internal parasite problems in grazing operations. Rook is widely published on these topics.
The Camptender Award recognizes industry contributions from a professional in a position or field related to the sheep industry and its organizations. Ron Cole of Fort Collins, Colo., was presented this award. Cole provides excellent, unbiased information on sheep markets to farmers and ranchers from operations of all sizes. He possesses a sincere interest for the betterment of the entire industry. It is a general practice for Cole to attend various state functions to obtain more insight into the area markets as well as to become better acquainted with the growers.
Al Gustin of Mandan, N.D., was the winner of the Shepherd?s Voice Broadcast Media Award, which recognizes outstanding, year-long broadcast coverage of the U.S. sheep industry. Gustin maintains a strong commitment to balanced reporting and provides consistent coverage of the sheep industry locally, statewide and into a five-state area. He reports on all aspects of the industry, not just the markets, and remains in constant contact with grassroots people as he deals with the current issues of the industry. Gustin continued to report on the sheep industry when other media were eliminating their coverage.
Finally, the Environmental Stewardship Award was presented to Bill Schultz of Degraff, Ohio. This award recognizes individuals actively involved in sheep production who have shown an extraordinary commitment to caring for natural resources and enhancing the environment. The Shultzs have owned and operated Bunker Hill Farm since 1910. The farm was awarded the 2003 Environmental Stewardship Award from the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association and the Ohio Livestock Coalition. The Shultz family has implemented many conservation practices to improve and protect the land. A few of these practices include: the use of no-till and conservation tillage methods; fencing that allows for modified intensive grazing and maximization of forage potential; and a riparian buffer to protect the river corridor and water has been established.
ASI president, Guy Flora stated, ?I was encouraged by the enthusiasm from industry members as they nominated deserving candidate for the five award categories. The award selection committee had the difficult task of choosing a winner in each area. We definitely feel that all of this year?s recipients are well deserving of their respective awards.?
ASI is a national organization supported by 41 state sheep associations, benefiting the interests of nearly 64,000 sheep producers.
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