Center of Nation Sale Features NSIP Sheep

Center of Nation Sale Features NSIP Sheep

TERRI QUECK-MATZIE
Sheep Industry News Contributor
June 2014

The Annual Center of the Nation Sale, featuring National Sheep Improvement Program sheep, has been scheduled for July 25- 26 at the Clay County Fairgrounds in Spencer, Iowa.

The two-day event will include educational seminars and one of the Midwest’s largest gatherings of sheep producers along with the sale, conducted by Conover Auction Service.

“We’re looking to have a good sale this year,” said sale organizer Larry Bremer. “Feed prices are down and lamb prices are up. And, as always, we have a great line-up of NSIP sheep going on the block.”

Hailed as the best place for commercial one-stop shopping, the Center of the Nation Sale, now in its tenth year, features sheep of any breed in the NSIP program.

“Offerings range from elite rams to above-average maternal and terminal sires and ewes,” said Bremer. “There is no show, only the sale, and sheep are presented by their NSIP performance data.”

Bill and Susan Shultz, of Bunker Hill Farm in DeGraff, Ohio, are yearly participants.

“There is a need to merchandise seedstock in a non-traditional venue,” said Bill Shultz. “Midwest producers created this sale as a marketplace for sheep with Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs), and the total sheep industry has benefitted.”

NSIP calculates Estimated Breeding Values on a variety of traits based on generations of performance data. Using breeding indexes for flock improvement is the subject of an educational session scheduled for Friday afternoon (July 25).

More sessions are booked for Saturday morning (July 26) starting at 10 a.m. Dr. Leo Timms, Iowa State University professor of animal science, will address minimizing the impact of mastitis; and Dr. Reid Redden, North Dakota State University sheep specialist and NSIP Chairman, will report on the American Lamb Industry Roadmap Production Committee.

For producers like the Shultzs, the educational component is an important part of the event.

“We began making the yearly trip to Spencer with the purpose of selling our genetics to progressive lamb producers and exchanging our genetics with fellow seedstock providers,” said Bill Shultz. “But we soon realized it was the opportunity to exchange ideas among these sheep producers that has added real value for us.”

Bremer said the sale will have “something for everyone who is looking for quality breeding stock, the opportunity to learn more about the NSIP and the sheep industry, and a chance to interact with producers from all over the country.”

Sale catalogues will be available at www. conoverauction.com.

Directions to the Clay County Fairgrounds can be found at http://www.claycountyfair.com

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