Image of sheep

To View the February 2023 Digital Issue — Click Here

Goals for the Future

Susan Shultz, ASI President

At the annual convention held recently in Fort Worth, Texas, the ASI Executive Board identified major goals for our organization to work toward in 2023.

1. Continue to be a proactive force on legislative issues effecting sheep producers. Congress will be renewing the Farm Bill in 2023, and we will need bipartisan support from all our regions to ensure that our industry priorities are included.

2. Continue the work of our financial study committee to identify and vet potential sources for future funding.

3. Continue the advancements that we have made in increasing communications within our organization and industry, along with sharing our positive story with the general public.

4. Continue the progress we have made in collaborating with the American Lamb Board, which allows us to capitalize on the strengths of a united industry.

5. Continue to encourage our young producers to be active participants in our organization and our industry.

None of these goals are easily attainable, but they are worthy of our time and efforts. Telling the story of sheep production from the viewpoints of being good stewards of our land and of our flocks so that we can ensure a sustainable future is so very valuable to our consumers. Please share your stories through your actions, social media and your involvement in your communities so that the world knows how special it is to be a sheep producer.
It has been an honor to serve as president of ASI for these past two years. I thank you for your continuous support and the never-ending encouragement from my family, especially my partner and husband, Bill.

Our future as an industry is bright. The new officers of ASI that were recently elected are outstanding leaders, and with your support they will continue to lead our organization forward in a positive manner. Our consumers love to eat and cook lamb and appreciate the outstanding characteristics of wool. We are fortunate to have numerous young scientists and educators that are eager to help us find improved ways to become more productive and profitable. And, most importantly, we have many sheep producers who are proud to raise premium products in a sustainable manner. Let’s keep moving forward. As Will Rogers said, “Never let yesterday use up too much of today.”
My best.

2023 Begins With Higher Prices

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

Live lamb prices began to increase late in the year providing some optimism for 2023. Ample total supplies are available in the retail market to begin the year and they should build seasonally.
There are some big factors to watch this year that will impact markets.

Live lamb prices began to increase slowly in the last quarter of 2022. Slaughter weight lambs in the 110- to 130-pound category increased from a weekly average of $97 per cwt. to $140 per cwt. by year’s end. While they have increased, they are still below the $230 per cwt. at this time last year and they remain below the five-year average. The average of traditional feeder lamb prices increased also from about $130 to $235 cwt. during the last four months of the year.
We often talk about the traditional versus the non-traditional market and the prices relative to each other. It’s important to remember that they are both lambs even though they might be going through different market channels. The prices for lambs going through those market channels move together.
The non-traditional market – as measured by prices in New Holland, Penn. – declined in 2022 like traditional market lambs, but the level of prices was higher. By the end of 2022, the average of feeder lamb prices was higher than New Holland prices. The lines between these two markets will continue to blur in the future.
While live animal prices were building higher, in the lamb meat area prices for major cuts continued to slide through the end of the year. Given evidence of struggling demand that has caused sharply lower live prices and lower wholesale prices, evidence is that retail prices remain high. Lower prices will have to translate to retail markets to rebuild demand.
Retail pork and chicken prices are beginning to decline. Retail beef prices have been declining for months and are now lower than they were last year. So, competing meat prices in the meat case might argue for some lower lamb prices.

Production was below the year before in the fourth quarter of 2022. While lamb and yearling slaughter was increasing seasonally late in the year, it was less than in 2021.
Dressed weights corrected lower and fell back below the five-year average and back to last year’s level. Weights – on average – aren’t suggesting burdensome supplies this Spring. Combined with reduced slaughter, domestic supplies should support prices.
The struggles of lamb demand and consumption has led to the building of cold storage stocks. Cold storage supplies hit almost 30 million pounds in November – the latest available report. That is equal to the five-year average and more than the 23.4 million pounds in November 2021. It will be important to see stocks drawn down by the Spring holiday demand.
Imports have remained large. The seasonal decline in imports from March to September was muted. Imports in November hit almost 25 million pounds. Imports combined with cold storage stocks will offset any moderation in domestic production.
One area of interest for future domestic production is mature sheep slaughter. Throughout 2022, weekly slaughter was about equal to the 2016 to 2020 average. Slaughter in 2021 was elevated and contributed to a smaller ewe flock. Restrained slaughter in 2022 suggests any change in the ewe flock in USDA’s inventory might be small.

Wool and Lamb Trade
The industry is highly dependent on trade. Rarely would talk about markets not include some discussion of imports and exports or action in the Australian wool market that determine prices worldwide. Often these discussions would mention exchange rates. A stronger U.S. dollar versus Australian and New Zealand currencies leads to more meat imports. Changing exchange rates lead to changing relative prices in each country.
In general, the U.S. dollar has strengthened against most major trading partners’ currencies this year. Higher U.S. interest rates have boosted the dollar and differing prospects for economic growth around the world have similarly helped the dollar.
Using monthly average exchange rate data, the U.S. dollar versus the Australian dollar was 1.48 in December compared to 1.40 in December 2021 – about a 6-percent appreciation. The U.S. dollar appreciated about 7 percent compared to the New Zealand dollar in December. This rate of appreciation was similar to the Euro. Compared to the British pound, the dollar was about 9 percent larger in value.
While the dollar has gained in value, year-over-year, the appreciation has moderated in recent months. For example, in October 2022, the U.S. to Australian dollar rate was 1.57 compared to 1.35 in October 2021.
That exchange rate had declined to 1.48 in December 2022. But both remain higher than the 1.39 in January. That general increase in value of the dollar through much of 2022 and some moderation in November and December holds for most major currencies.
It’s likely that the U.S. dollar remains relatively stronger than our trading partners’ currencies compared to the prior year in coming months. That will act to keep meat imports large. It will affect relative prices in the wool market. We’ll have more on wool prices in future articles as the market heats up following the holidays.

There is some reason for optimism for lamb prices in the new year, but a lot depends on demand recovery.
We should expect higher seasonal live lamb prices as we move closer to the spring holidays. Imports and stocks will most likely restrain price growth.

USDA Issues Appointments To American Lamb Board


The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced in January the appointment of four members to each serve three-year terms on the American Lamb Board. The terms begin January 2023 and end January 2026.
Newly appointed members are:
• Jeff Ebert, Saint George, Kansas – Producer (100 or less head)
• Gary Visintainer, Craig, Colorado – Producer (Greater than 500 head)
• Don Hawk, Danville, Ohio – Feeder (At Large)
• Karissa Isaacs, Milliken, Colorado – First Handler
The 13-member American Lamb Board is composed of six producers, three feeders, three first handlers and one seedstock producer. Two producers appointed to the board must own 100 or less head of lambs annually; one producer must own 101 to 500 head of lambs annually; and three producers must own more than 500 head of lambs annually. At least one feeder must feed less than 5,000 head of lambs annually and at least one must feed more than 5,000 head of lambs annually.
More information about the board and a list of board members is available on the Agricultural Marketing Service American Lamb Board webpage at and on the board’s website at
Since 1966, Congress has authorized the development of industry-funded research and promotion boards to provide a framework for agricultural industries to pool their resources and combine efforts to develop new markets, strengthen existing markets and conduct important research and promotion activities.
AMS provides oversight of 22 boards, paid for by industry assessments, which helps ensure fiscal accountability and program integrity.

Two Producers Appointed To Sheep Center Board

At the end of May, the United States District Court of Montana ruled in favor of the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station on a motion for permanent injunction and summary judgement.

Beginning in 2012, the plaintiffs in this case – Cotton Environmental Law Center and others – filed a lawsuit against the sheep station and the Agricultural Research Service seeking a new biological opinion from the agency. Again in 2014, the plaintiffs challenged the new biological opinion they had sought, and the station’s underlying National Environmental Policy Act analysis. This action effectively ceased grazing on the station’s lands in this controversy, as the station agreed not to graze sheep until the completion of the ongoing NEPA. The completion of this NEPA and accompanying Environmental Impact Statement resulted in the plaintiffs seeking an injunction and motion for summary judgement against the station in March 2018.

The basis of the plaintiff’s most recent claims was that sheep grazing was injurious to the grizzly bear population in the area and resulted in an increased likelihood of human-bear conflicts. The plaintiffs asserted that they had new evidence of this increased likelihood of conflict that had not been considered in the environmental documents and demanded a supplemental EIS be prepared. Citing grizzly bear activity in the vicinity of the station’s lands and tangential evidence, the plaintiff’s claimed the preceding final EIS was invalid.

As the judge noted, a supplemental EIS is necessary when there is a substantial change to use relevant to environmental concerns or significant new information presented. The court rejected the plaintiff’s claim, finding that the evidence presented was not new in time, or new in fact.

The information regarding the possibility of human-bear conflicts was adequately considered in the final EIS and therefore a supplemental EIS was not necessary. Evaluating the plaintiff’s claim under the Administrative Procedures Act, an agency action can only be set aside if it was arbitrary and capricious. Through the court’s analysis the evidence supported a rational connection between the facts the agency considered and the decision they made.

Unfortunately, the station has been the target of environmental litigation seeking to remove sheep grazing for far too long. ASI and the association’s U.S. Sheep Experiment Station Working Group members are wholly dedicated to defending research at the station for the next century though advocacy in the courts, Congress and the administration.

Quality Counts For Producers Looking To Sell Their Wool

With wool prices lower in the past year it might be tempting to cut corners on shearing day, but industry experts say quality counts more than ever as wool growers look to sell their 2023 clips.

There’s certainly hope that the new year will bring a turnaround in the industry. The Australian wool market returned from its annual three-week recess just as this issue went to press. Prices were up slightly in the first sale of the new year. In addition, the market was up three of the final four weeks to close out 2022.

“My crystal ball is pretty foggy,” said Darrell Keese of Keese International in San Angelo, Texas. I hope that prices will be at least as good as last year for 24 micron and finer. But there’s a lot of wool in barns around the country and China hasn’t bounced back yet. It was a really quiet fall. If we’d had more activity then, I’d be more optimistic.”

In a stagnant market, quality counts more than ever.
“When the market is like this, the lesser-prepared wools either get lower bids or, in some cases, no bids at all,” Keese said. “Now is the time for wool producers to do their best to prepare their wools for sale. Buyers are always looking for quality. That doesn’t change. They want wools to be prepared properly. If it isn’t, there are going to be discounts.”

With that in mind, the following pages offer steps for every producer to put their best foot forward during shearing. The tips are taken from ASI’s Preparing for Shearing brochure. Email Heather Pearce at to request copies of the brochure.
While you can’t turn a 26-micron wool into an 18-micron wool on shearing day, you can certainly make your wool clip more desirable to buyers by following these generally-accepted practices.

“Tags and bellies might not be worth much, but if you keep the dirt and contamination out of them, they’ll probably be worth something,” Keese said. “A clean shearing area makes a big difference in the quality. Shearing day is so important. I’ve seen lots of wool clips that didn’t sell for what they could have because they weren’t prepared correctly.”

The good news is that American wool producers seem to be getting the message in recent years. Clips are coming in cleaner and more well-prepared than ever.

“We just don’t want to see producers let their guard down on quality because wool prices have been down in the past year,” said ASI Deputy Director Rita Samuelson, who coordinates wool marketing for the association. “Most of our producers have done a good job in recent years of implementing the steps necessary to produce a quality wool clip. And that makes it easier to market American wool both domestically and internationally.”
Regardless of the price, wool producers are still selling a product that must meet customer demands for staple length, micron, etc, said Anodyne’s Haynes Burnside.
“If you can’t meet those standards, then they won’t be buying your wool,” he added. “Contamination adds costs on our end, so quality is important.”
Burnside said there’s still wool available from the past two seasons, but that some of that has been moving in recent months.

“I prefer to have a sense of optimism,” he said. “A lot will depend on how and when things open up again in China. But we’re seeing places in South America and Southeast Asia filling in some of those holes in the supply chain. That could drive prices to a new normal, but it’s too early in the year to know what that new normal might be. There’s no doubt that well-prepared clips always hold up well in the market.”

The Elly’s Acres Army

A light snow begins to fall on a November Sunday afternoon in Central New York state as John Lemondes heads to the pasture where he’ll round up the final 20 head of lambs to fulfill his 2022 slaughter commitments.

Most of the family is involved in the process. In the pasture, John grabs a feed bucket and leads the way. A pair of energetic guard dogs fall in behind as he heads for a holding pen in the corner of a neighboring pasture. The sheep – encouraged by the guidance of John’s son, 13-year-old JJ, on a dirt bike – fall into line. John’s wife, Martha, brings up the rear in a utility vehicle pulling a small trailer that will corral eight to 10 sheep at a time.

The pastures are too soft from recent rain and snow to simply drive the truck and stock trailer to the holding pen. Instead, the family will shuttle the selected sheep back to the main barn in three separate loads. It’s not the efficient use of time one might expect from a retired Army colonel, but it’s a common scenario that plays out daily on family farms all across the United States.

Farming has long been a dream for John, and there’s no one he’d rather do it with than his family, which also includes 17-year-old daughter Olivia. The farm – Elly’s Acres – is named in honor of the couple’s other daughter, who passed away in 2016 approximately two years after the family had settled on a 500-acre place in Jamesville, N.Y., some 15 miles from where John spent his childhood.

It was here in Onondaga County, where he developed a passion for all things outdoors: hunting, fishing, trapping, and yes, even farming.
“My first paid job was as a fruit picker on a farm,” he recalls. “It was the summer before I started sixth grade. One day, my father told me to get in the car and we were going to get me a job. He took me to the farm, and I remember him talking to the farmer, who said, ‘He looks kind of small.’ My dad said, ‘Yeah, but he’ll work.’”

And work he did, that whole summer. He couldn’t keep up with the adults he was alongside, but he never quit. He continued to work on farms through his high school years, eventually making his way to a livestock operation.
“My bachelor’s degree from Penn State is in agricultural science. I have always wanted to own a farm of some type,” he says. “I just didn’t know exactly what it was or where it was going to be.”

It Had To Be Wool

It should come as no surprise that he found his way to wool sheep. After all, John still owns (and wears) a pair of Woolrich wool pants he first got as a teenager.
“They’re in that typical red and black pattern,” he says. “My kids mock me because they know I’ve had them since I was 14 or 15 years old, but they’re still going strong. They’re my main pair of ice fishing/hunting pants. I’ve been a wool user my entire life.”
Even the U.S. Army indulged John’s passion for agriculture when it assigned him to the agriculture committee while he was a student at the Army War College. He studied agriculture and its importance not only in the United States, but in India, Thailand and Vietnam. He worked on textile projects in the final years of his time with the Army, as well. After retiring, John spent a year working as a military consultant for clients that included ASI.
“That all kind of layered itself together and was really helpful in solidifying my desire to be a farmer,” he says. “Sheep are the most efficient ruminants there are. And even though we generally have good pastures in this area, choosing sheep made it easier when it was time to decide which farm property to purchase. I didn’t have to worry about finding one with the best possible soil profile, which would be more important for growing crops. That removed a huge issue for us.”

Of Greek and Irish decent, John grew up eating lamb on a regular basis, despite the fact that there was no room to raise animals of their own in the family’s suburban home.
“But it was a small suburb, and we were surrounded by farms,” John adds. “As a kid, I could just walk across the street to farm fields and woods and hunt and trap. I don’t know what kids do after school now, but I was always out hunting, fishing and trapping, and I loved it.”
Purchasing the land for Elly’s Acres was just the start of John’s farming adventure. A horse farm in its past life, the place had been severely neglected by its most recent owners. The house needed a bit of everything, including a new roof.

“It was like camping inside those first few months,” John says. “It rained on us in the house that summer. It was so overgrown around the house that we could barely get into it. We started the process of rebuilding it from the frame out.”
The rest of the property was in similar condition. Nothing drained properly. Previous owners had stuck railroad ties into the ground as fence posts. A fire pit was setup two feet from a wooden barn.
“The goal was to have livestock on the ground within a year of taking possession,” John says. “We physically occupied the house in November 2013 and had livestock on the ground in September 2014. That was really important to us.”

The family started with 20 breeding ewes and one ram. Eight years later, the ewe flock is up to nearly 160. John would like to expand the breeding flock to 700 or more, but he’s intentionally taking a slow roll approach that allows him to maintain financial control of the farm.
“The banks don’t own us, and that’s a conscious decision on our part,” he says. “It’s why my wife and I both have off-farm jobs, as well. People don’t realize how hard it was those first six years. We were going through all of the problems that come with starting a new farm, raising kids, working jobs. It was hard, but it gave us a lot of control over our operation.”

Daily Challenges

Two hours after the process of sorting lambs started, the sheep are loaded and ready for the two-hour drive to the nearest slaughter facility. John skipped lunch, of course, and dinner will have to wait until he’s back from dropping off the sheep. There’s more snow on the way and the drive to the slaughter facility requires a trek through one of the snowiest areas in the entire country, which means John is anxious to get there and back as quickly as possible.
Since he spends his days working as the District 126 representative to the New York State Assembly – he was re-elected in November 2022 – John is thankful for a facility that allows him to deliver sheep outside of regular business hours. But he also laments the loss of such facilities throughout the state, a fact that has often left him scrambling to find available spots for slaughter.
“We’re doing this in the most inefficient way we can as we struggle to find slaughter availability. We end up taking some lambs that are smaller than we’d like because we have to make our appointments a year in advance,” he says. “This year, my first appointment is in August, which isn’t great, but we have to take it.”

Once his lamb is processed, John sells through a handful of avenues. He’s built a loyal following at two farmers markets while also selling meat directly off the farm. He offers on-farm kill for a handful of ethnic customers who request it. It adds up to roughly 100 lambs a year, a number he plans to increase through managed growth.

“The goofy slaughter schedule impacts our ability to do a lot of the things we’d like to do,” he said. “We just have to manage it like we do everything else on the farm.”
The wool is no different. In the farm’s early years, John sent most of it to the area wool pool. But the recent trade war with China interrupted that market and left John and Martha looking for other options. They’ve worked with several domestic mills to develop a wool clothing line that so far has sold under the Elly’s Acres name.

“This whole region was once really strong in sheep and wool and the infrastructure needed to sustain it,” John says. “But then it just vanished. There used to be a lot of meat packing here, a lot of mills here. But as the country transitioned from local and regional to regional and national, it all went away.”
While John is somewhat guarded about the breeding of his flock, he says his focus is to breed for fine wool and good meat. “I don’t have the super finest 14-micron wool, but our wool is really good,” he says. “The other piece is that our operation is grass-fed, pasture-raised. That causes them to grow a little slower, but people love it. There’s a different taste profile, and it makes a difference our customers can taste.”

Additional Opportunities
The farm is located in the heart of maple country, and John hopes to start tapping trees in the coming year. It’s a revenue source he’s planned on since buying the property, but chose to pursue building the sheep flock first. He’s working through the process to bring in H-2A help to work with both the sheep and the syrup, and even purchased a home across the road from his as a place for farm labor to live in the future.

A cabin on the farm had also fallen into disrepair. It took five years, but John and Martha eventually refurbished the home and regularly rent it through Airbnb to people traveling to nearby Syracuse, N.Y.
“There’s no TV, and that’s by design,” John says. “It does have wifi, but we wanted it to be a place where people could rest and enjoy nature. We do farm tours for the people who rent it, and for farm income diversification it was a key investment for us.
“We’ve done the ‘easy’ upgrades on the property. Now, we’re starting to look at some bigger additions. The next barn is going to be a huge project. We might build a second Airbnb. There’s a lot that we can still do with the property that we have.”

The one thing he doesn’t want to do is build a farm that is one day a burden to his children. “They both started working on the farm at a young age, and have been instrumental in its operation from an early age. But it isn’t my goal or mandate in life that they take over this farm one day,” John says. “I wouldn’t be surprised if one or both decides to do something with it. But I don’t want to saddle them with something that can’t be successful.”

Karen Maneotis Selected As NLFA Executive Director

With 35 years of experience producing sheep, goats and cattle on the family ranch near Craig, Colo., Karen Maneotis has been selected as the new executive director for the National Lamb Feeders Association.
“We’re very happy to get someone hired who has a sheep and ranching background,” said NLFA President Reed Anderson of Oregon. “But the most important thing is that we needed to hire a good person, and we think we’ve done that with Karen.”

The Maneotis family is no stranger to the American sheep industry. Karen’s husband, Nick, currently serves as president of the Colorado Wool Growers Association and sits on ASI’s Genetic Stakeholders Committee. The couple’s daughter, Karissa Isaacs, worked on the lamb flavor audit during her years as a student at Colorado State University, then spent time with the American Lamb Board before eventually joining Superior Farms.

“Karissa was the one who told me about the job,” said Maneotis. “I have a passion for sheep and cattle, so I think I’ll be a good fit with the National Lamb Feeders. I’m really excited to learn more about the association and what I can do to help them be productive. And I’m excited to work with both the American Lamb Board and ASI in this role.”

Maneotis was hired in early January and started work immediately as NLFA had meetings of its own scheduled during the ASI Annual Convention last month in Fort Worth, Texas.
The biggest task at NLFA is planning the annual Howard Wyman Sheep Industry Leadership School, which generally takes place in the summer.
“That’s probably the biggest challenge for the person in this position,” said Anderson. “It’s an important part of what the National Lamb Feeders does to support our industry because it gives other producers a chance to see the industry from our perspective and from the perspective of other producers. It requires a high level of organization and planning skills to put that school together. Those of us on the NLFA board are pretty busy with our own operations, so we rely heavily on the executive director to plan this event.”
Anderson said NLFA reached out to both Megan Wortman at ALB and ASI’s Peter Orwick in looking for the right person to take on the contract position.
While she hadn’t worked directly with NLFA in the past, Maneotis said she was already familiar with several of the association’s board members, including Colorado’s A.J. Nelson and NLFA Past President Jeff Hasbrouck. Wyoming producer Bob Harlan – who has served as NLFA’s representative to the ASI Executive Board in recent years – has also purchased rams from the family’s ranch in past years.

Like many in the ranching industry, Maneotis has traditionally held down a full-time position in addition to chores around the ranch. She’s handled administrative roles for Southwestern Energy and APH Construction since 2001, working for roughly a decade in each position.

She’s served as a 4-H leader and a member of the Moffat County Cattlewomen. She also has assisted in organizing alumni and community events through the Moffat County FFA and served on the board of directors of the Colorado Swine Association.
The contract position will allow Maneotis to work from home, where she can continue babysitting her granddaughter and assisting with daily ranch duties.


John (Jack) Forté, 1924-2022

John (Jack) H. Forté was born in Boston, the fourth son of Orville W. Forté and Helen Henkels Forté of Waban, Mass., on May 6, 1924. He died in Naples, Fla. – his retirement home – on Dec. 22, 2022, at the age of 98.
Jack attended Phillips Exeter Academy, captaining the baseball team his senior year, and graduated in 1942. He then started at Harvard College before joining the American Field Service during World War II. Ineligible for the American armed services due to a head injury as a boy, he drove ambulances for AFS in Cassino in central Italy. He returned to Harvard where he played second base and also captained the baseball team. His final game was against the Yale team led by George H.W. Bush.
After graduating with the class of 1946, Jack joined Forté, Dupee, Sawyer Co. on Summer Street in Boston, a wool business founded by his father in 1921. The Boston Wool District was a burgeoning place, supplying the many mills of New England, an economy based at that time on the manufacture of textiles and shoes.

The company supplied wool for blankets and uniforms, and later created a unique niche that filled the demand for specialty fibers such as cashmere, camel hair, alpaca and mohair for garments.
Boston was the center of the wool trade and prospered until the late 1950s, when the rise of synthetic fibers and labor costs forced the closure of many regional mills and migration south where labor costs were lower. It was a challenging time for Forté, Dupee, Sawyer Co., but under Jack’s skillful leadership the business survived.

With characteristic calm he took risks, negotiating generous lines of credit to source odd lots of domestic wool. These were processed into large quantities of a uniform product available on-demand sufficient to supply a customer’s entire fashion season.

In the last quarter of the 20th century, the company became and remained the leading wool merchant in the country.
Jack married Sally Marsh of Waban in 1948 and lived in Weston, Mass., for 60 years, where he raised his daughters, Marsha (Jon Westerlund) of Winter Park, Colo., and Cheryl of West Newton, Mass.

Jack embraced philanthropy, establishing scholarships at Phillips Exeter Academy and AFS and making generous grants to local hospitals and charities. He was a stellar athlete with a passion for golf and skiing. He shot eight holes-in-one and was club champion at Brae Burn Country Club in West Newton, where he first met Sally on the ski hill in his early 20s. He had his last ace at Hole-in-the-Wall Golf Club in Naples at the age of 90.
He was preceded in death by four brothers, Orville W. Forté, Jr. (Junie), Paul H. (Bud), Donald (Dee), William R. (Bill) and a sister Elizabeth (Beth).

Thomas (Tom) Clayman, 1952-2023

Thomas E. “Tom” Clayman, 70, died on Jan. 4, 2023, with his wife by his side. He was born April 15, 1952, in Richmond, Ind., to James C. and Martha Jeanne (Koontz) Clayman. On June 3, 1972, he married Sandra “Sandy” Kay Lohr, in Nevada, Ohio.
Tom graduated from Eaton High School in Eaton, Ohio. While working for Mid-States Wool in Ohio, he was transferred to Hutchinson, Kan., for a “short period of time,” and he never left. He and his wife made Hutchinson and the Reno County Community their home for more than 40 years. Twenty years ago, Tom became co-owner of Kauffman Seeds. While Tom loved the seed business, his first passion was sheep, especially Montadales. Tom raised, judged, and showed thousands of sheep all over the United States including county and state fairs in addition to national shows. When showing sheep Tom gave freely to others by giving sound advice and offering a helping hand when possible.

Tom was a member of the Montadale Sheep Breeder’s Association, Oklahoma Genetics, Kansas Crop Improvement Association and Reno County 4-H Club. Tom was on the Board of the Montadale Sheep Breeder’s Association, where he had served as president. He was a member of Emanuel Lutheran Church, Hutchinson.
Tom is survived by his wife, Sandy of Hutchinson; son, Michael Clayman and wife, Cassey, of West Memphis, Ark.; daughter, Michelle McMillon and husband, Christopher, of Old Hickory, Tenn.; sister, Nancy Kramer and husband, Phillip, of Eaton, Ohio; three grandchildren, Wyatt Clayman, Willow Clayman and Abigail McMillon; and several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents.

In lieu of flowers, please send memorial contributions to Emanuel Lutheran Church or Montadale Sheep Association, in care of Elliott Mortuary, 1219 N. Main, Hutchinson, KS 67501.

Take The Chill Out Of Early Season Lambing, Kidding

Purina Animal Nutrition

Lambing and kidding season might typically be associated with springtime, but more and more producers are shifting to get newborns on the ground earlier. Lambs and kids born in the first few months of the year have more time for growth and will be heavier at weaning – benefits for both the production and show sides of the industry.
Maximizing the benefits of earlier lambing and kidding means minimizing the impacts of cold weather stress on ewes and does, as well as newborn lambs and kids.

“Regardless of whether you’re in Arizona or Michigan, taking a few extra steps to prepare ewes and does to lamb or kid earlier in the year will help you manage the impacts of colder weather on your animals,” says Clay Elliott, Ph.D., small ruminant nutritionist with Purina Animal Nutrition.
Keep these winter tips in mind when preparing for lambing or kidding in colder temperatures:

Start with mineral

When you think about winter feeding and management, you likely think of heat lamps, barn ventilation, warm bedding or other tried and true tips that help provide a smooth lambing or kidding experience in cold weather.
But, Elliott says one thing is more important – feeding a quality mineral.
“To me, mineral is absolutely the most important step,” says Elliott. “The last thing you want to deal with in below-freezing temperatures is lambing or kidding issues. Feeding a quality mineral can help get babies on the ground with fewer issues.”

Monitor body condition score

Cold temperatures mean ewes and does need to expend more energy to maintain normal body functions and regulate temperature. Evaluating body condition score before lambing and kidding can help ensure ewes and does have the proper amount of energy to keep themselves warm, recover from birth and tend to their newborns.
“I’m a firm believer that ewes and does should be in at least a BCS of 3 – or even a 3.5 – before lambing and kidding,” says Elliott. “If they have a little extra energy, they’ll be more durable and more prepared.”

Feed more forage and water

One way to help ewes and does maintain body condition when lambing or kidding in colder temperatures is feeding more forage.
“When animals metabolize feed, the process creates heat that can help keep them warm,” says Elliott. “Hay or forage creates more heat than other feeds – like corn or fats – because animals must spend more time breaking down forages in the digestive system.”

The other side of the coin is water. Providing animals with fresh, clean water and frequently checking to ensure water sources aren’t frozen is essential to help with digestion.
“It’s a combination of forage and water that will help animals stay warmer,” adds Elliott.

Keep newborns warm and dry

Newborn lambs and kids are tougher than you might realize. They can handle a lot and continue to thrive. One thing they can’t handle is not getting dry quickly enough after birth.
“Hypothermia is a big concern for newborn lambs and kids – no matter the temperature,” says Elliott. “Anytime newborns are wet and there’s a breeze, they will get cold.”
If the ewe or doe isn’t drying off a newborn immediately after birth, you might need to dry it with a towel. Heat lamps can also be a good tool for newborns that do get cold or in extremely cold weather.
“The biggest thing is making sure lambs and kids get dry and start nursing so they can have a strong start,” says Elliott. “If you have those two things covered, they can withstand a lot from that point on.”
With a few proactive nutrition and management steps, you can capitalize on the benefits of earlier lambing and kidding while reducing the impacts of cold weather stress on your animals.

Purina Animal Nutrition LLC ( is a national organization serving producers, animal owners and their families through more than 4,700 local cooperatives, independent dealers and other large retailers throughout the United States.

ASI Needs Volunteers

If you might be interested in serving on one of ASI’s councils or committees, now is the time to reach out to your state executive to express that interest. The ASI Executive Board will meet in the next month or so to make council and committee assignments for 2023, and you don’t want to be left out.

Serving as a member of these groups is a great way to get more involved with the association on the national level. While it doesn’t require the time commitment of serving on the Executive Board, it will allow you the opportunity to see how ASI operates throughout the year. Most councils and committees have a handful of Zoom meetings or conference calls throughout the year to address issues that might arise in their specific areas. Each council and committee also meets in person during the ASI Annual Convention.

ASI has five councils:

• Wool Council
• Lamb Council
• Legislative Action Council
• Resource Management Council
(with two committees)
* Public Lands Committee
* Predator Management Committee
• Production, Education & Research Council (with two committees)
* Animal Health Committee
* Genetic Stakeholders Committee

In addition, ASI offers a Young Entrepreneurs group for sheep producers under the age of 40. ASI accepts nominations for council/committee positions from each of its state affiliates. Interested producers should check with their state executive and express interest no later than the end of February.
Councils and committees are a great place for producers who are interested in serving on the ASI Executive Board – or even as an ASI officer – in the future to get started in volunteering with the association. Involvement with ASI’s councils and committees will provide you with the perfect opportunity to network with producers from all across the country.

And the variety of topics covered by councils and committees means there’s something for everyone. Are you interested in wool and its many uses? Then the Wool Council might be the place for you. Raising hair sheep strictly for meat? Then consider applying for a spot on the Lamb Council.

Members of the ASI Executive Board generally serve as chairs or co-chairs of each council, and are often assigned to councils that cater to their specific interests or talents. For instance, John Noh’s dad served in the Idaho State Senate for more than two decades and politics have always been an interest of his. So he serves as co-chair of the Legislative Action Council with Tammy Fisher of Texas, who worked in Washington, D.C., for several years before returning to the family ranch.

In recent years, the Executive Board has generally met in Washington, D.C., before the annual ASI Spring Trip to determine council and committee assignments for the coming year. I believe that will be the plan again this year, but that’s subject to change as a new officer team was elected last month at the ASI Annual Convention in Fort Worth, Texas.
Speaking of Fort Worth, with the American sheep industry’s largest yearly gathering fresh in your mind, I’d like to point out that things will be a bit different in 2024 when Denver once again plays host to the convention. The Mile High City was originally scheduled to host the 2021 convention, which was shifted to a virtual format due to the pandemic. ASI’s contract with the Denver hotel was then rolled into 2024 – the next available year. But the hotel already had a conflict with our usual mid- to late-January dates, so next year’s ASI Annual Convention will begin on Jan. 10.

That might not sound like a big difference from the past two years, but it will make a huge difference for the ASI staff. We’re used to the time between Halloween and New Year’s Day being one of the busiest times of the year. But planning for the convention requires a huge amount of coordination with the host hotel, bus companies, tour hosts, etc., and it’s not unusual for their staffs to take significant time off during the holiday season.

With that in mind, registration deadlines will be earlier than ever. Those deadlines haven’t been set yet, but I want to encourage you to start thinking now about the year ahead and your plans for attending in Denver.

Skip to content