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ASI Heads to Washigton, D.C.

Brad Boner, ASI President

Sheep producers from across the United States are headed to Washington, D.C., this month for ASI’s Spring Trip. This is an annual trip that provides a key opportunity for the sheep industry to visit with federal partners and allows our industry to meet with Congressional leaders.
The conversations during the week of March 11 will center on a number of issues, varying from federal appropriations to the work of Wildlife Services to the new Farm Bill. In addition to the ASI Executive Board and Legislative Council, we generally have volunteer leaders from a dozen state associations that meet with their delegations on national or state priorities.
As a regular on this trip in recent years, I can promise you the folks we’ll meet with in Washington, D.C., want to hear our concerns. They want to look for ways to support farmers and ranchers, but sometimes they need a little guidance on the best ways to do just that.
Meetings with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and several of its agencies – including the Agricultural Marketing Service, Risk Management Agency and Wildlife Services – are already on the agenda. The wool programs of ASI operate under USDA, as do the conservation, disaster and marketing support programs.
As of this writing, we’re still looking into sessions with the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, as well as a possible conversation with the Environmental Protection Agency concerning its recent livestock processing effluent rule.
The morning of Tuesday, March 12, will be filled with agency meetings. Visits with producers’ Congressional delegations typically follow on Tuesday afternoon and all day on Wednesday. Producers are provided with a packet of information they can share with the folks on Capital Hill.
These visits are important every year, as there are always issues we could use assistance with through the legislative process. With the Farm Bill still under negotiation, it’s especially important to present our needs to Congressional leaders this year. We heard at the ASI Annual Convention in January that leaders in Washington are optimistic about passing a new Farm Bill this year after simply extending the previous Farm Bill for a year at the end of 2023.
Let’s hope that’s the case. Supporting our lamb checkoff on Capitol Hill and supporting tax reform – such as the estate tax – are also on our list. We increasingly have meetings on the need for predator management, including bird depredation.
We’ll wrap up a day of hill visits with a lamb reception at the offices of our lobbying firm – Cornerstone Government Affairs – on Wednesday evening. And once again, this will provide a time for producers to share their needs and concerns with agency and Congressional staff.
The ASI Executive Board will head to Washington, D.C., a bit early to conduct its first meeting of 2024 on Monday, March 11. At that meeting, we’ll appoint members to each of ASI’s councils and committees. Our 44 state affiliates have been submitting names for consideration since the conclusion of the ASI Annual Convention.
I’m thankful for those who are willing to devote time during the year to serving in this important role. Within our industry, leaders bring a diverse group of skills and interests, and it’s the Executive Board’s job to appoint them to leadership positions where they can put those talents to use.

Until next time, keep it on the sunny side.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service released its annual sheep and lamb inventory statistics at the end of January. As of Jan. 1, USDA/NASS reported all sheep and lamb inventory to be just more than 5 million head – a decline of 1.9 percent (100,000 head) from 2023. This decline was larger than other annual declines seen in the last decade, which averaged less than 1 percent (-0.6 percent).
USDA/NASS did revise the all sheep and lamb inventory as of Jan. 1, 2023, up by 110,000 head to just over 5.1 million head, resulting in a 1.3 percent increase from 2022’s inventory level. From a year ago, the top five states for sheep and lamb inventory all posted declines. All sheep and lamb inventory for Texas was 655,000 head (down 25,000), California was 500,000 head (down 30,000), Colorado was 400,000 head (down 15,000), Wyoming was 320,000 head (down 15,000) and Utah was 270,000 head (down 10,000).
The total breeding flock posted a 1.9-percent (70,000 head) decline from last year to nearly 3.7 million head. Ewes 1-year-old and older decreased 60,00 head (-2 percent) from a year earlier to almost
2.9 million head. The lower breeding flock also resulted in a lower lamb crop, which fell 2.2 percent (69,000 head) to slightly more than
3 million head. Interestingly, the lambing percentage was 103.4 percent for 2023, which was below the 106.5 percent during 2022 and below the 10-year average trend of 106.4 percent. Market lambs were nearly 1.3 million head, down 24,000 head (-1.8 percent) from last year. The lower reported sheep and lamb inventory levels point toward tighter supplies for 2024.

During the first quarter of the year, weekly sheep and lamb slaughter seasonally moves higher through February and March as the Easter holiday approaches. This year, Easter is earlier than normal on March 31. As a result, weekly sheep and lamb slaughter will likely see the seasonal rise occur slightly earlier than the historical pattern.
Since the start of the year, weekly sheep and lamb slaughter data shows weekly levels have been well above 30,000 head per week with some recent weeks approaching 35,000 head per week, which is tracking similarly to the same period last year. Weekly lamb and yearling dressed weights have been tracking nearly identically to last year’s levels, ranging from 60 to 65 pounds. Weekly slaughter and dressed weights following a similar pattern to last year has resulted in weekly sheep and lamb production almost on par with the same period in 2023.
The weekly three-market average feeder lamb price (Colo., Texas and S.D., 60 to 90 pounds) continues to remain above $300 per cwt., more than $100 per cwt. above the same period last year. The same price strength is also occurring in slaughter lamb prices. Weekly national negotiated live slaughter lamb prices have ranged from $186 to $196 per cwt. since the start of the year, a $55 to $64 per cwt. improvement compared to last year. If prices follow the typical seasonal pattern, there could be upward potential ahead for slaughter lamb prices in the near term.
USDA recently released December 2023 trade data, which finalizes 2023 statistics. Total lamb imports for the year were 240 million pounds, down 14 percent (38 million pounds) from the prior year and the lowest since 2020. The decreased imports were due mainly to a 14-percent (28 million pounds) decrease in imports from Australia, which totaled 179 million pounds in 2023. Imports from New Zealand totaled nearly 59 million pounds in 2023, down 10 percent (6 million pounds) from a year earlier. Lamb and mutton in cold storage was 20.4 million pounds in December, down 23 percent from a year earlier and the lowest monthly stock level since January 2017. Lower lamb imports and lamb in cold storage are indications that supplies are likely to remain tight in the near term.
Based on the lower sheep and lamb inventory levels and expected tighter lamb supplies in 2024, the Livestock Marketing Information Center is forecasting lamb production to be down 1 to 2 percent. Dressed weights will be an influencing factor on lamb production throughout 2024. The tighter forecasted lamb supplies in 2024 are expected to be price supportive. LMIC is forecasting annual feeder lamb and slaughter lamb prices to be about 3 to 6 percent above 2023 levels.
In the same sheep and lamb inventory report, USDA/NASS also released annual statistics on wool production, price and value for 2023. Wool production in 2023 totaled 22.7 million pounds greasy, down 569,000 pounds (-2.4 percent) from the prior year. The average weight per fleece remained even with the prior year at 7 pounds.
The lower wool production was due to a 2.5-percent (81,000 head) decline in the number of sheep shorn in 2023 to 3.222 million head. The national average wool price increased slightly by 2 percent to $1.56 per pound. The lower wool production more than offset the increased wool price leading to -0.6 percent decrease in wool value to $35.3 million for 2023.
Recently, the wool market in Australia has seen fewer bales offered with levels falling below 33,000 bales in early February. As the number of bales offered has fallen so has the Eastern Market Indicator. In recent weeks, the EMI has fallen from U.S. $3.70 per pound in mid-January to below U.S. $3.50 per pound by early-February. Compared to a year ago, the EMI is down 11 to 20 percent (U.S. $0.48 to $0.85) from the same period last year.
Prices for 18-micron wool have fallen about 6 percent in the last few weeks with prices around U.S. $5 per pound. The 19-to-20-micron wools have seen prices fall about 5.5 to 6.5 percent in recent weeks with 19-micron wool around the mid-U.S. $4 per pound range and near the low-U.S. $4 per pound range for 20-micron wool. Prices for 21-micron wool have fallen about 3 percent with recent prices just above U.S. $4 per pound. For 26-micron wool, prices have been down about 2 percent to around U.S. $1.80 per pound.
Pressure on wool prices stems largely from global economic uncertainty. Economic activity in China and Europe have struggled to gain traction, which has led to uncertainty in the wool market. The U.S. economy has shown signs of improvement in certain aspects, but this has not been enough to strengthen the wool market.

ASI Shearing Grants Awarded

Six shearers and three mentors were selected to receive funds through the ASI’s shearer grant program. This is the third consecutive year ASI has awarded funds through a program developed by its Wool Council.
The shearer grant program provides $1,500 grants to each developing shearer to help cover the costs of equipment and other expenses as they work toward improving their shearing skills. Shearers will receive $500 immediately and work with a mentor to gain confidence, improve shearing quality and learn to shear at the faster pace needed to shear large flocks on a professional basis. At the completion of the program, the shearers will receive the remaining $1,000 from their grants.
Grant recipients must provide videos and visit with ASI staff and Wool Council members by June 15 of this year to demonstrate the progress they’ve made to complete the program.
Shearing mentors receive $1,500 grants to help cover the costs accumulated with mentoring developing shearers. Mentors must provide documentation on when and how they assisted beginning shearers to complete the program. Mentors must provide all documentation by June 15 to complete the program.
While funds were limited, the program received 33 applications for grants. The six students selected were:
• Kathleen Markiewicz of Vermont.
• Kendall Miller of Oregon.
• Stefan ScheerCook of Virginia.
• Jordan Seals of Virginia.
• Avery Thompson of Oregon.
• Ian Wuscher of North Carolina.
Mentors selected to receive grants were:
• Laura Kincaid of Oregon.
• Justin Shank of North Carolina.
• Derrick Spangler of Virginia.

Shearers Balance Competing Interests

Despite popular opinion amongst some producers, shearers aren’t trying to make your life more difficult. Maybe it seems that way sometimes, but the truth is that like sheep producers they are just trying to balance the needs of their customers with the best interests of their businesses.
And when they’ve meticulously planned everything to do just that, it snows. Or rains. Or a producer’s flock starts lambing early. And it’s back to the drawing board.
“On my schedule, I plan in three to five days a month that we’re going to get weather,” said Wyoming-based shearer Cliff Hoopes, whose three crews will shear nearly 200,000 sheep in the first half of 2024. “We just have to plan for it ahead of time. I’ve got some producers who have sheds, so if I’m within a week of them, then we’ll go to their place while the other producers are waiting for the storm to pass.
“We get weathered out sometimes, but it’s just a bit here and there. I try to keep a real close eye on it. In Wyoming, it could be 60 degrees one day and -40 the next. And wind is a big issue for us. We try to use the semis to block it so that the wool doesn’t go everywhere. It’s a big issue with all three of my crews. There are days when it’s windy enough that we just have to stop working.”
From the first of the year through the middle of June, shearers are constantly on the go. They might get a month or so off in the middle of the summer and then it’s right back to shearing. Fall shearing usually includes trips to the feedlots, or to producers who have embraced out of season breeding schedules.
“We’re all shearing a lot of sheep in the fall these days,” Hoopes said. “It’s good though. It makes things a little easier than having everyone want to shear at the same time.”
While Hoopes tends to work with large producers in the West, the issues he faces aren’t unique. Shearing within a three-hour radius of her home in Maryland, Emily Chamelin battles snow and rain just the same.
“I think there’s still that belief with some producers that shearers have a bad attitude or are just out to inconvenience people. And that’s really not what’s going on. I’m just having to balance the needs of hundreds of people and thousands of animals to put together a cohesive schedule so that I can make money and get everyone’s animals done at the right time. There’s a lot of nuance that goes into that.”
While Hoopes works some “smaller” jobs where he’s only there for a day, his schedule tends to include multiple days at the same job site. Chamelin shears in multiple locations within the same day on a regular basis.
“Scheduling everything is absolutely the toughest part for us,” Chamelin said. “We tend to travel in a three-hour radius of home and always want to make sure we can do two to three days in an area when we travel. I’m always arm wrestling with people, you know trying to move some people up and some people back to make the schedule work for everyone. There’s always this push-and-pull, back-and-forth going on.”
Working with smaller – and in some cases, newer producers – offers additional challenges for shearers.
“If you talk with any shearer, they can tell you about producers they’ve worked with for years where they still show up and the sheep are on feed, or they aren’t caught and ready to go, or they’re wet,” Chamelin said.
“That’s why I created a survey that just spells everything out for the producer before I get there. I hate the extra paperwork. It’s a nuisance, but I think it’s helping a little in holding people accountable for what I expect.”
Hoopes said he’s found a phone call is still the best way to communicate with his producers.
“Pick up the phone and talk to the people you’re working with,” he said. “Without the ranchers, we don’t have a job. And, we don’t have any food.”
Hoopes added that the producers he works with are pretty reliable when it comes to keeping the sheep off feed and having them corralled and ready to go on shearing day.
“Usually if they aren’t prepared for us, it’s something to do with the weather,” he added. “Maybe we got some rain or snow and they didn’t have cover for the sheep.”
Many shearers will also take care of the wool handling, but it’s important to discuss that with your shearer ahead of time.
“We do it all,” said Hoopes. “They tell us what they want, and we take care of it. Or if the wool buyer has bought it, he tells us what he wants and we do it. We still do a lot of classing on every job. The main thing I need the rancher to do is to wrangle and move the sheep. We don’t do any of that. The ranchers I work with are pretty good about that. They usually have enough help to keep the sheep coming to us.”
The producers are often Chamelin’s favorite part of the job.
“I love to just pick people’s brains while I’m shearing,” she said. “The nice part is I can really see how people’s management is affecting the animals. When you’re shearing, you can’t hide anything. I know if your feeding program is working, the health status of the animals and things like that. In the back of my mind, I’m always thinking, ‘What are they doing to make them look this good.’ That’s the part of the job I love the most. And I can apply a lot of what I learn to my own flock.”
Regardless of whether you’re a large or small producer, based in the East or the West, one constant is the shortage of professional shearers. And the shortage affects the shearers as much as the producers.
“That’s the reality of the situation right now,” Chamelin said. “I just always encourage producers to think outside of the box about any problem. Just because you’ve done something for years and years doesn’t mean it’s the best thing to do.”
Hoopes fills out his crews with a combination of foreign and domestic labor, but it’s a challenge every season to find as many shearers as he needs. He’s developed a training program with Montana-based shearer George Kerr in an effort to alleviate the problem.
“I’ve got two beginners on my crew right now, and the only way they’re going to get better is with sheep in front of them. That’s the only way shearers get better. They’ve got to have sheep in front of them every day.”

Shearers Compete for National Titles


The 2024 National Shearing Competition was conducted on Jan. 29 as part of the All American Sheep Day at the Black Hills Stock Show & Rodeo in Rapid City, S.D.
The competition featured a number of divisions, including wool handling and blade shearing, as well as three divisions of machine shearing.
The wool handling competition showcases the care given to the fleece during and after shearing. In this event, one competitor collected and sorted three fleeces shorn by two shearers simultaneously. This requires next-level multitasking to work on two shearing boards efficiently, a priceless skill in the shearing sheds. With this year’s more relaxed border policies, a Canadian swooped in for the champion title. Pauline Bolay won the wool handling. Leann Brimmer, Christopher Troendle and Katherine Moser rounded out the top four in the division.
The relationship between shepherd and sheep has been around for 9,000 years, and blade shears have been used for half of that time. In a technologically driven world, it’s relaxing to take it back to the basics with the quiet snips of shears. There were plenty of new faces in this year’s competition, which had event organizers excited for the future. But in the end, it was a veteran who left with the win as Doug Rathke claimed the top spot. Loren Opstedahl, Mary Lake and Tadlee Opstedahl rounded out the top four. Each shearer completed two sheep in the preliminary round, and the four finalists sheared three sheep apiece.
The novice division was busy this year with nine competitors. Beginners get the chance to meet experienced shearers and spend the day alongside them, providing opportunities for mentorship. But this year’s champion learned through legacy. Tayler Opstedahl is the son of Loren Opstedahl, a past national champion whose family has shearing roots as deep as the 1800s. In the heats, each shearer was responsible for one sheep, and in the finals, four contestants were responsible for two sheep apiece. Tirzah Gunther, Thomas Kuhn and Edith Nickel rounded out the top four in the division.
The Intermediate division was a battle and twin brothers bagged the first and second spots with a mere 5-point spread between them. In the Intermediate preliminaries, each shearer shore three sheep. During the semi-finals, everyone got a second go at four sheep. And in the finals, four competitors shore six sheep apiece. Luke Zeglam edged his brother, Eddie Zeglam for the top spot. Walter Wright and Rowdy Thompson rounded out the top four spots.
Last – but by no means least – the professional division began with 10 competitors. New American Sheep Shearers Council Vice President Kurtis Mooney led the charge in the prelims and semi-finals. But in the final four showdown, Alex Moser pulled out the win by half a point over Mooney. It’s always incredible to watch high caliber shearers compete, but it’s even more exciting when 30 seconds and half a point separate the top two. Timothy Wright and Nolan Abel rounded out the top four spots in the professional division.

Rosemary and Thyme Creamery Makes a Name for Itself in Northwest Georgia

It’s just about time to make the cheese at Rosemary and Thyme Creamery in northwest Georgia.

Lambing is set to conclude by mid-March, and the lambs get the first month’s worth of their mothers’ milk. The five months or so that come after will be turned into a variety of soft and hard cheeses that have quickly made a name for themselves at farmer’s markets between Chattanooga, Tenn., and Marietta, Ga.

“We knew when we started this, that eventually we would need to be able to sell the cheese,” said co-founder Brent Smith of the sheep dairy he started with Hannah Walker, whose mother worked with Brent in the Peace Corps in Thailand in the 1980s. “We’ve got Chattanooga fairly close by to the north and Atlanta and its suburbs to the south. That’s as big a market as we would ever need, so we’re kind of strategically placed between the two.”

Atlanta hasn’t been introduced to the company’s products yet because Rosemary and Thyme consistently sells out of its award-winning, yet limited cheese supply. That’s a result of only milking 58 ewes in recent years. Brent expects to increase that number to 72 this spring, allowing the company to produce more than ever in its fourth year of cheesemaking.

“We think the property can support up to 120 milking ewes,” he said. “But we’re still in the process of growing the business and growing the farm.”

The property in LaFayette, Ga., was a “clean slate” when it was purchased in 2019. But the pastures had been neglected for several years, so it was an overgrown clean slate. And since the sheep didn’t arrive until more than a year later, “we had some mowing to do.”
An agricultural engineering major in college, Brent set about building everything from fences to production facilities and the milking area. His motivating factor from the outset was to make the land productive.
“In my other work, I’ve traveled throughout the world. And in every other part of the world, if they’ve got a postage stamp size piece of property, they make it productive. I wanted productive land, but I knew I couldn’t do it by myself.”

That’s where Hannah came in. She was the only agriculturally inclined young person Brent knew, and she’d been learning to make cheese at Lark’s Meadow Farms in Idaho.

“Like a lot of people, I didn’t know much about cheese until I started working in it. I liked cheddar and American,” she admitted. “I’m from Pennsylvania, and I had worked on a farm where they did some cheesemaking on the side. I learned the basics there. Then I went to Lark’s Meadow in Idaho and really learned how to do things the right way. When Brent came along, it was just perfect timing. I definitely wanted to do my own thing, and the winters in Idaho are pretty harsh.”
Tyri – a halloumi style grilling cheese – is often the company’s best seller. Uncooked, it’s similar to a cheese curd, but when cooked it has a savory flavor with a nice, creamy texture similar to mozzarella.
“In our bigger markets – like Marietta – we get people that know halloumi, and they’re excited to see it,” Brent said. “I fry it up in a skillet so the customers can try it that way. It’s probably our best seller.”

But it wasn’t the Tyri that won an award at the 2023 United States Cheese Championships. The company took second place in the hard sheep’s milk cheese category with its Don Quixote Queso and second place in the surface ripened sheep’s milk cheeses with its Tomme de Lafayette.

“We took Georgia cheese to Wisconsin and came back with two awards,” Brent shared with pride. “We think that’s pretty good.”
The Don Quixote Queso is a Manchego style cheese that has been aged to produce well-developed flavors with hints of both salty and sweet. It has a buttery texture with a basket weave rind. It can be shredded to top everything from salads to pasta, served on a cheese board or used to make a “high-class” grilled cheese.

The Tomme de LaFayette is a mild cheese that is aged for a creamy, yet complex texture. It can be melted to top everything from a bagel or toast to a baked potato or added to a cheese board.

Other products include Spice of Life with Peppercorn, Forever Feta and Cacio Ovino. Rosemary and Thyme also produces five flavors of Sheep Chevre, a soft and creamy cheese that spreads like cream cheese and can be used on just about anything.

“When we start milking, I make the fresh cheeses first because they are ready to go right away,” Hannah said. “Then I’ll make the hard cheeses and give them some time to age – which can vary from two to five months depending on the cheese. It’s fun making all of the different cheeses.”

Early on, selling the cheeses took a bit more effort.
“People would tell us they didn’t like goat cheese,” Hannah said. “So, we’d have to convince them to give sheep’s milk cheese a try. It’s different. But once they’ve had the cheese, we don’t have to work so hard to sell it.”
Once the property was ready to support the sheep and milking, Brent and Hannah set about building the flock. Half of the original flock were St. Croix sheep – a popular breed in the state – and half were East Friesian – a traditional dairy sheep breed.

“We did some things a little different because we’re in Georgia and have a big parasite issue,” Hannah said. “It seems to be working out pretty good. As we grow and breed, we’re all over the place based on how much milk they produce. But we’re working our way toward a flock that will work best for our climate.”

The East Friesians came from Meadowood Farms in New York, an established dairy with proven genetics.
“They were culls, but they were still a good line of sheep for us to get started with,” Hannah said. “This year was the first year we got to three-quarters East Friesian and one-quarter St. Croix in our flock.”

While the dairy ewes were used to being handled, the St. Croix were not. The day they arrived on the farm, they headed straight for the furthest corner of the property.

“They didn’t come back for a month or two,” Brent added. “They just weren’t used to having people around. We haven’t bought any sheep since, so we have a closed flock. Now, it’s our responsibility to improve that flock through the culling process.”
A few years into milking, the schedule is pretty predictable for everyone.
“The dairy sheep in particular are very seasonal breeders,” Hannah said. “So, we breed them in the fall and they all have babies together, then we milk them for six months. We’re really busy from February to August, and then it really slows down.”

Which is ideal for everyone at Rosemary and Thyme Creamery.

“About the middle of August, we’ve had enough,” Brent added. “The sheep have had enough, we’ve had enough and we’re all ready for a timeout. So, we get a month or so off and then it’s time for breeding season again. We have 10 rams, which is more than most operations our size. We want to compress the breeding season, which compresses the lambing season and then we can be done in two weanings.”
Two of the five farmer’s markets on the weekly schedule close up shop in late summer/early fall, so that works well with the dairy’s timing, as well.

“We do a Wednesday afternoon, Thursday afternoon, two on Saturday morning and one on Sunday afternoon,” Brent said. “The best way for us to sell is direct to consumer. That gets our name in front of people and has allowed us to educate northwest Georgia about sheep’s milk cheeses.

“Marietta is our best market. They have over 70 vendors, and it’s all food. People come to grocery shop there, and that’s what we want.”

In addition, Rosemary and Thyme benefitted in 2023 from taking part in the Georgia Farm Bureau’s Farm Passport program. Anyone interested in fresh farm products could grab a passport book and visit nearly 100 farms around the state. At each farm, the passport was stamped and participants earned prizes based on the number of farms they visited. Tours of the farm were given nearly every week through the program.

“And they come ready to buy, so that helps us,” Brent said. “It’s a really good program.”

Farmer’s markets and farm tours would be the perfect time for Brent and Hannah to toot their own horns about those U.S. Cheese Championships awards, but their limited supply of milk meant they were fresh out of those award-winning cheeses halfway through 2023. The two hope steady expansion in 2024 and beyond will somewhat alleviate that problem. But selling out of product is a good problem to have.

“We’ve had to educate people about the seasonality of cheeses,” Brent concluded. “They go to the grocery store and it’s available year-round. But there is a seasonality to it,
especially our cheeses.”



Paul Randy Frischknecht, 76, was relieved of his physical suffering from cancer in the early morning hours of Feb. 2, 2024, at his home, surrounded by his family. Paul, affectionately known as “Dinger,” was born in Gunnison, Utah, on Nov. 8, 1947, to Kay and Jean Frischknecht of Manti, Utah. Paul grew up with a passion for sheep, cattle, ranching, hard work and mischief along with his brothers and sisters. He was the third of nine children.
Paul graduated from Manti High School in 1966, where he played basketball. His Templar team won the state championship his senior year. He served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Rochester, N.Y. He married Rebecca Mortensen from Ephraim, Utah, in 1972. Together they had four children: Kamie F. (Greg) Brown, Preston (Holly) Frischknecht, Julie F. (Trace) Larsen and Rachelle Frischknecht. They later divorced.
Paul graduated from Snow College and obtained a bachelor’s degree in political science at Utah State University. He graduated with a Juris Doctorate Degree from the University of Utah Law School in 1975. He returned to Manti and pursued his legal career. He served as Sanpete County Prosecutor, Sanpete County Public Defender, and city attorney for Manti and other local towns during his legal career.
He married Marla Mickelsen Hansen from Redmond, Utah, in 1998, and with that marriage came four stepchildren: Kimberly (Mark) Christenson, Marty (Keriann) Hansen, Brandon (Tressa) Hansen and Kade (Maghan) Hansen.
Paul was always devoted to ranching and Frischknecht Livestock. Broken Arrow Ranch had thousands of sheep, hundreds of cows, some horses, mules, chickens, pigs, dogs, cats, llamas, and even some temporary inhabitants like the elk that followed the cows home from the mountain one year.
Paul was proud of his involvement with the Governor’s Agriculture Advisory Board, Utah State Board of Big Game Control, National Animal Damage Control Advisory Committee, and Bureau of Land Management District Advisory Board.
He served as president of the Utah Wool Growers Association, the American Sheep Industry Association, and the National Public Lands Council, as well as many other local and national positions. He also shared ownership of Iowa Lamb Corporation.
The epitome of hard work, Paul lived nearly all his days doing what he loved, starting before sunrise and not stopping until after dark, often changing sprinklers throughout the night and regularly retrieving the errant cows on the highway. His clothing displayed his hard work as a badge of honor and a supply of Dr. Pepper helped fuel him through the day.
Paul loved the gospel, his Heavenly Father, and was an expert at reciting scriptures at a moment’s notice. He served as a Sunday school teacher, Elders Quorum president and was on the Stake High Council. While he was admittedly very stubborn, he shared that the most important things in life were family, repentance and forgiveness.
Paul is survived by his wife; children; stepchildren; siblings: John (Susan) Frischknecht, Steve (Kathy) Frischknecht, Kent (Jenny) Frischknecht, Joe (Barbara) Frischknecht, Kristine (Cordell) Frischknecht-Christensen, Mary (Rod) Anderson and Ann (Val) Anderson; 33 grandchildren, and (almost) 11 great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents; and brother Fred Frischknecht.
Funeral services were Feb. 7 in the Mayfield Ward Chapel. Burial was in the Redmond Cemetery.

Changing your lambing calendar

It’s finally springtime, meaning flocks everywhere are filled with new lambs and the excitement this season brings each year. While this is the traditional approach, many flocks are testing the idea of out-of-season lambing and the potential opportunities.
During the past few years, consistent markets have made premiums available for lambs outside the standard window. However, the transition to lambing outside of traditional timing isn’t as easy as flipping on a switch, and is far from a one-size-fits-all approach. Considerations around nutrition, breeding, marketing and your region come into play.
Take time to deliberately create an off-season lambing plan and ask lots of questions. Here are a few to get you started.

One of the biggest challenges with off-season lambing is getting ewes to cycle out of their natural time frame. Synchronization tools – like CIDRs – can help ewes cycle on a new timeline.
Nutrition also plays a key role in getting ewes bred out of season. Sixty days before you’d like to breed your ewes, it’s time to get them in the proper condition. If the ewes are too thin, they will not respond to the synchronization effectively. A natural survival instinct for ewes is to not cycle at all if malnourished. Reproduction can also be more difficult if the ewes are over-conditioned. Fat deposition can occur in the udder, reducing the ewe’s milk production over time.
Take a good look at your current conception rates. If they’re not where you’d like them to be, look for ways to improve before implementing a significant change like nontraditional lambing. You might see a decline in your conception rates when you first start breeding out of season. However, ewes will acclimate to their new cycle as you continue to implement it.
For this reason, it’s best to start with a small group of ewes to hone your new program before applying it to your entire flock.

There are tons. The most important rule of thumb is that reproductive health doesn’t get off the ground without a good mineral program. To ensure your ewes are in top shape, feed a high-quality sheep mineral year-round.
Off-season lambing can also create higher demands for forage, and there might not be any growing when you need it. Be sure to have ample supply and get it tested. It’s critical to understand the nutritional profile of your forage so you can supplement accordingly. Ewes’ nutritional requirements must be met throughout every life stage and, knowing nutrient requirements increase throughout gestation and into peak lactation after lambing is critical for off-season lambing programs. Supplements high in fat and protein can fill in forage gaps.
As for the lambs born outside of normal timing, be sure to assess your vaccine and deworming programs. Dewormers are especially important during warmer months because parasites can create challenges that aren’t as common in traditional lambing times. This means lambs can be more susceptible, as well. Work with a veterinarian to create solid lambing protocols with these extra considerations.

Dive into auction records for the markets you’d like to sell lambs through. Determine breeding dates by adding your finishing timeline, gestation and the 60 days of nutritional preparation ahead of breeding. This can help you calculate when you’ll have the best opportunity to sell lambs based on your target market. Knowing your market end goal and working out a timeline ahead of that is the best way to set your ewes up for success.
Feedlots may also have opportunities, especially outside their expected lamb influx timing. These cycles can be decades old, and they might be looking for ways to add more consistency. Locking in a market and creating strategic partnerships is crucial, as there’s inherent risk created if you have out-of-season lambs without a plan or locked-in price with a buyer.

Short answer: yes. Some locations – such as Midwestern or Eastern states – can have more opportunities due to weather patterns. Western ranges will have additional considerations before implementing out-of-season breeding due to forage availability and labor challenges that can create bottlenecks.
Flock size can also be a determining factor. Small flocks can be more agile to market demands and look for premiums since they don’t have massive numbers of lambs sold yearly.
Some areas of the country are not keeping up with consumer demand, and this creates room for growth or seasonal diversification.
There are many ways to create successful out-of-season lambing programs. By working with your nutritionist, asking questions, starting small and allowing your flock a year or two to acclimate, you’ll be on a path toward success.
Visit Darren Seidel is a ruminant technical consultant with Purina Animal Nutrition. Contact him at

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