June 16, 2006
June 16, 2006 -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) in April announced it was seeking applications to fill two positions on the American Lamb Board (ALB). The criteria for the open positions included one producer who annually owns 100 head to 500 head of lambs and one producer who owns more than 500 head of lambs annually.
Nominating organizations must submit a minimum of two nominees for each vacant position. As the certified national association, the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) received interest for the two open positions from 12 producers representing 10 states from all regions of the United States. Following much discussion, the ASI executive board respectfully submitted the following names as nominees to the lamb board: Margaret Magruder (Ore.), Bill Aeschlimann (S.D.), Florence Cubiburu (Calif.), Steve Raftopoulos (Colo.) and Mike Jernigan (Texas).
Magruder and Aeschlimann both represent producers who own between 100 head and 500 head flocks. A sheep producer for more than 35 years, Magruder is sole proprietor of Magruder Farms in which she manages a 250 ewe purebred and commercial flock on a pasture operation. Magruder is currently the chairman of the ALB and has been a member of the board since its inception in 2002.
Involved in the sheep industry his entire adult life, Aeschlimann spans many areas of the industry from producer to commercial feeder to owner of a lamb marketing company. The company provides branded, case-ready, value-added cuts to natural and kosher markets. He is also developing a new composite breed of sheep for intensive, rotational, natural production to better utilize the pastures available for small flocks.
Cubiburu is another veteran of the sheep industry with 35 years of production experience owning and managing Cubiburu Livestock in which she runs a commercial flock of 3,000 ewes. She is active with the California Sheep Commission as its promotion committee chairman. Cubiburu is seeking a second term with the ALB.
Also representing producers who own annually more than 500 head of lambs is Raftopoulos. His more than 30 years of experience encompass sheep production, lamb feeding and packing/processing. He owns 10,000 stock ewes, retaining more than 2,500 ewes for breeding-stock replacements annually. Raftopoulos is serving as the president of the Colorado Sheep and Wool Authority.
Jernigan, a rancher who runs between 4,000 head and 5,000 head of sheep, claims nearly 30 years of involvement in the industry. His involvement is extensive with 10 years on the board of directors of Producers' Marketing Cooperative, Inc., as well as director of Producers' Lamb and Goat. Jernigan is also past chairman of ASI's Wool Council.
"ASI has taken serious steps to provide a highly qualified slate of nominees for the two vacant positions. These experienced and dedicated producers have served the industry at local, state and national levels and are very capable of making decisions in cooperation with the feeding and packing sectors represented on this diverse, industry-wide board," said Paul Frischknecht, ASI president. "This year, ASI received more nominations than at any point since the initial round of nominations in 2002 and we greatly appreciate the interest and willingness of all of the producers who indicated interest in serving the U.S. sheep industry in the capacity as a director of the ALB."
Following the June 15 deadline for receipt of nominees from the certified state and national organizations, USDA will begin consideration of appointments. Staff contact: Peter Orwick, ext. 33