January 31, 2008
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(Electronic Photos Available Upon Request) DENVER, Colo.
- January 31, 2008 - Outstanding U.S. sheep industry members were honored for their contributions to the industry at an awards luncheon held Jan. 25, 2008, at the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI)/National Lamb Feeders Association (NLFA) Convention in Las Vegas, Nev.
Cleve Dumdi of Junction City, Ore., received a standing ovation as he accepted the McClure Silver Ram Award for his strong belief in the industry and its future, as well as his life-long dedication and contributions to it. During his time as president of NLFA, Dumdi was instrumental in bridging the gap between lamb feeders and producers enabling a more positive and effective relationship between NLFA and ASI for the benefit of the entire industry. He has faithfully worked through local, state and national organizations to strengthen the industry and serves as a mentor for producers through the Howard Wyman Sheep Industry Leadership School.
As one of his nominators, NLFA said that as a result of Dumdi's efforts, the entire industry has benefited by being able to move forward both nationally and internationally.
The Camptender Award was presented to Steve Smith of Abingdon, Va., for his contribution to the expansion of the sheep industry in the southeast region of the United States. Smith is president and chief executive officer of K-VA-T Foods, which owns Food City, a retail grocery-store chain. He contacted the Scott County Hair Sheep Association regarding the production of lamb for Food City stores. Today, more than 200 sheep producers supply lamb to Food City based on a year-round fixed price for carcasses and recently celebrated the fact that since the project began, more than $1 million has been paid to producers for their product.
Regarding his work on this project, Martha Mewbourne, who accepted the award on Smith's behalf and is a member of the Scott County Hair Sheep Association, said, "He has contributed enormously to the expansion of the sheep industry through supporting local growers and through providing customers with an outstanding dining experience."
Ben Bartlett of Traunik, Mich., was awarded the ASI Flock Guardian Award for his more than 20 years of being an agriculture extension agent in the upper peninsula of Michigan and for his countless hours of providing sheep producers with assistance and useful information. His innovation in intensive grazing and the varied management of systems that go along with it has been an asset for those in the industry.
One of his nominators, Eric Wallis, said that Bartlett is constantly spending time looking for ways to enhance sheep producers' bottom line.
Winning the Shepherd's Voice Award for Broadcast Media was Rick Haines of Twin Falls, Idaho. He has long served as the voice of sheep producers during his tenure as a top farm radio broadcaster in the West. He covers livestock business at the state, regional and national levels and his news runs the gamut from legislation affecting the sheep industry to the impact of the drought to lamb and wool issues.
His nominator, Bob Gilbert, said that Haines has a passion for agriculture and is proud to be a professional farm and ranch broadcaster.
Receiving the Shepherd's Voice for Print Media, Jerry Lackey of San Angelo, Texas, has been an agricultural reporter for more than 50 years in print, radio and television with a heavy emphasis on sheep and goats. His ability to communicate with producers has made him a success in whatever media outlet he has undertaken as he has worked for Ranch Magazine, West Texas Business Journal, Livestock Weekly and Cattleman Magazine. Currently, he writes a column for the San Angelo Standard Times.
One of his nominators, Lynn Glass, president of the Texas Sheep and Goat Raisers' Association, said, "Over the last 50 years, Lackey's interest in agriculture and agricultural journalism has never waned, and he has honed his skills to the point where he is a top-notch advocate for production agriculture."
The owners of Cline Sheep Farm in Albany, Ohio, Kurt and Wendy Cline, were the recipients of the Environmental Stewardship Award for their many conservation practices that allow them to raise sheep and forage with little or no negative impact to the environment. They have implemented numerous conservation practices including heavy-use feed pads, paddock and exclusion fencing, water systems, nutrient management and rotational grazing. The Clines said that being environmental stewards allows them "to give generations the opportunity to have a working, profitable farm in the future."
The Ohio Sheep Improvement Association, one of the Cline's nominators, said that their sheep operation has been developed with environmental stewardship in mind, and they carefully plan ahead to assure that any management practices implemented will be environmentally sound.
ASI is a national trade organization supported by 44 state sheep associations, benefiting the interests of more than 69,000 sheep producers.