Name: Larry Pilster
Family: Wife, Madge and children, Shawn, Lane and Misti. His mother, Helen, is also still involved with the ranch.
Location: Pilster Ranch Corp., Alzada, Mont.
Operation: The ranch was established in the fall of 1940 by Larry?s father, Ed. Today, they own 1,500 Columbia-Targhee ewes along with 450 yearlings.
Committees: Chairman, Center of the Nation Wool Corp. and Vice Chairman, Montana Public Lands Council
Why are you an ASI Guard Dog member? "I feel the need to support the organization that has provided so many great benefits to the sheep industry, such as the LDP (Loan Deficiency Program) and the ewe-lamb retention program. If it hadn?t been for the efforts of ASI (American Sheep Industry Association), the industry wouldn?t be where it is today. As a result, you?ve got to give back to the organization to maintain and develop new programs that will benefit the industry."
How do you think the industry has benefited from the Guard Dog funds? "ASI?s programs have helped in many ways. At one time, the price of wool was so low that it didn?t even cover the cost of shearing, but the LDP payments helped cover those costs. Another plus for the industry is the ewe-lamb retention program, which came at an essential time. It was a needed program to help maintain the number of sheep in this country. We had to stop the declining number of sheep or we would have lost the infrastructure for the industry."
What are the industry?s needs in the future? "One problem I see occurring down the road is that we are going to run out of shearers. We need to keep them. We need younger people to become involved in shearing ? otherwise, we are going to run into a problem with getting wool to market."
Name: Dave Johnson
Family: Wife, Deborah and children, Randy and Amy
Location: Baraboo, Wis.
Operation: Johnson is vice president of marketing sheep, lambs and veal at Equity Co-op Livestock Sales Association. Equity Cooperative Livestock Sales Association is one of the nation's largest independent livestock marketing agency. Up to 1,200 head of market lambs are bought and shipped across the country each week. It developed the Electronic Lamb Auction, a real-time computerized auction linking buyers throughout the country. (Visit Web site www.equitycoop.com to learn more.)
Why are you an ASI Guard Dog member? "I felt that it was important for Equity Co-op to have some form of presentation in the sheep industry and thought this would be a good way."
How do you think the industry has benefited from the Guard Dog funds? "The ewe-lamb retention program is a key item that ASI (American Sheep Industry Association) has developed. This is one program that will really help stimulate activity in the industry. Another thing is that our industry needs to continually be in front of law makers and ASI has done a good job staying in front of them."
What are the industry?s needs in the future? "Land use issues are key to producers east of the Mississippi. They need the ability to secure low-cost lands for production of livestock."