Following one of the most difficult years in the history of the American sheep industry, Susan Shultz of Ohio has been elected to lead the American Sheep Industry Association as its next president. Shultz was unanimously elected during the final day of the sheep industry’s 156th Annual Convention on January 29th.
Shultz had served as vice president the past two years and as secretary/treasurer the two years prior to that. Also moving up the officer chain was Wyoming’s Brad Boner, who was elected vice president after two years as secretary/treasurer. The two are joined by newly elected secretary/treasurer Ben Lehfeldt of Montana. Benny Cox of Texas moves into the past president position, replacing Mike Corn of New Mexico to round out the association’s slate of officers for the next two years.
“I’m so proud to serve as ASI president,” said Shultz. “It’s such a special accomplishment for both Bill (her husband) and I because the sheep industry has always been such a special part of our lives. I welcome the opportunity to give back to an industry that has given so much to me all these years.”
Shultz operates Bunker Hill Farm with Bill, and their son, Joe, in DeGraff, Ohio. The family raises Suffolks these days, but the farm traces back to the 1930s and has been home to Shropshires and Rambouillets in the past. As an active participant in the National Sheep Improvement Program and former chair of ASI’s Let’s Grow Committee, Shultz has shown a dedication to embracing technology (including the use of estimated breeding values) to continue to improve the American sheep industry. As a seedstock producer, Shultz and Bunker Hill Farm produce black-faced terminal sires for the heavy, lean lamb market. Terminal sires from the farm have been used all across the United States, including by a contingent of Western range operators.
“I think we’ve done a good job in recent years of really engaging all of the Executive Board members in guiding our industry. These men and women are such a wealth of knowledge of all aspects of the industry. We’ve also seen an increase in the number of producers in recent years – many of whom come to our industry without an extensive sheep or livestock background. So, there’s a real need out there for education. We also need to lead our industry into opportunities to increase profits and provide for continued growth.”
Boner is a past president of the Wyoming Wool Growers Association who previously served as the Region VII director to the ASI Executive Board. In that capacity he represented Idaho, Montana and Wyoming within the association. He left that position in 2019 when he was elected secretary/treasurer of ASI and now moves into the role of vice president.
A sheep and cattle producer in Glenrock, WY, Boner previously was chairman of the Mountain States Lamb Cooperative and has worked tirelessly for the sheep industry as a part of ASI’s Wool Council, Lamb Council and Let’s Grow Committee.
A fifth-generation sheep rancher from Montana, Lehfeldt’s family has been involved in the sheep industry for 135 years. Lehfeldt has served on ASI’s Wool Council and is a director for the Montana Wool Growers Association. In addition, he served on the American Lamb Board and has been the sheep industry representative to the National Grazing Lands Coalition.
Lehfeldt told the Northern Ag Network, “I’m really looking forward to working with these individuals. It’s a nice mix of individuals across the industry that we can focus on different things that the industry needs. I really want to make sure we have a collaboration and coordination effect across our industry segments and I want to make sure we have our D.C. priorities lined up.”
Three current representatives to the ASI Executive Board were reelected by the regions they represent and were joined by two newly elected regional directors. Steve Clements of South Dakota (Region IV), Sarah Smith of Washington (Region VIII) and Bob Harlan of the National Lamb Feeders Association were reelected. They are joined on the ASI Executive Board by Lisa Weeks of Virginia (Region II) and Bronson Corn (Region VI), who were both elected by their regions to serve on the ASI Executive Board for the first time. Executive Board members Laurie Hubbard (Region I), Anne Crider (Region III), Tammy Fisher (Region V) and Randy Tunby (Region VII) continue to serve in those roles to fill out the executive board for 2021.
American Sheep Industry Association
Northern Ag Network – 2021