ASI to Honor Sheep Operations and Industry Professionals

by Colter Brown

The American Sheep Industry Association will recognize sheep operations and industry professionals from across the country during their annual convention in Denver next month.

The winners include Brent and Tracie Roeder of Montana who will receive the Distinguished Producer Award.

Brent and Tracie have contributed to the American sheep industry in countless ways during a lifetime of involvement. Brent grew up on a sheep operation in Texas before making his way to Montana. The couple forged their own path with an operation that spawned three companies: Montana Sheep Company, Montana Wool Company and Montana Lamb Company.

Raising quality sheep would have been enough to earn the couple ASI’s Distinguished Producer award, but they took it a step further in developing direct marketing opportunities for both their lamb and value-added wool products. While Brent routinely credits Tracie for handling the family’s successful wool venture, he draws extra praise from producers throughout Big Sky Country for his work as the state’s extension specialist for range sheep production.

“This award is a testament to the character of the American sheep industry, in particular the Montana Wool Growers, Targhee breeders and Texas Sheep & Goat Raisers,” Brent and Tracie said. “Every step of the way from our youth to the present, we have had tremendous mentorship through 4-H and FFA, fellow producers and extension professionals. Any success we’ve enjoyed has been because someone took the time to listen and advise us. Folks always helped. Our industry has a rich history of sharing knowledge and bringing young people to the table. It is an honor just to be nominated. We are stunned and grateful to receive the Distinguished Producer Award.”

Also during the convention, Larry Prager of Center of the Nation Wool in Belle Fourche will received the Peter Orwick Camptender Award.

Prager has been instrumental in the area of educating sheep producers. Given his position as a wool warehouse manager, it comes as no surprise that he would constantly work with producers, shearers and wool classers on their wool clips. He’s also provided space and resources for collegiate wool judging competitions in an effort to educate the next generation on the qualities of wool.

“The way I see it, education is part of the job,” said Prager. “I’ve worked with producers on everything from wool quality to picking replacements and sire selection. Some of those things are kind of outside the normal duties of a wool warehouse position, but they are important to the industry as a whole.”

Other award honorees during the convention will include Nick Forrest of Ohio receiving the McClure Silver Ram Award. Dr. Ron Lewis of Nebraska will also receive the Camptender Award. The Industry Innovation Award will go to Kyle Farms of New York and Lorrie Boyer of Colorado will receive the Shepherd’s Voice Award.



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