South Dakota Sheep Growers Association’s 79th Annual Convention, Rapid City SD


The South Dakota Sheep Growers Association’s 79th Annual Convention will be held at the Best Western Ramkota in Rapid City, SD on Friday, September 30th and Saturday, October 1st 2016. The convention continues to provide an excellent opportunity for sheep producers from across the state of SD and surrounding states to gather the latest information on topics relating to sheep and the sheep industry. Our 2-day convention will be full of information, networking and of course, a lot of fun. 


Friday, September 30th will be our sheep industry tour day. Buses will leave from the Ramkota Convention Center with our first stop at the Ellsworth Air Force Base Air and Space Museum. Base Commanders will have a short presentation, with time for questions and answers. Next stop will be the SD Game, Fish and Parks Outdoor Campus –West (Rapid City) where we will break into two groups. The first group will tour the beautiful outdoor campus facility. The mission of the Outdoor Campus is to provide education about outdoor skills, wildlife conservation and the management practices of SDGF&P to all ages in order to preserve our outdoor heritage. The second group will go to a lamb fabrication demonstration by Mr. Ron Gap from Sturgis Meat Service. Gwen Kitzan, Kitzen Sheep and American Lamb Board Member and Cheri Rath, Executive Director of South Dakota Value Added Agriculture Development Center will facilitate the discussion on adding value to lamb products. Lunch will be provided on-site. The groups will then switch and attend the alternate presentation. 


The group will then board the busses and travel to the Central States Fair Grounds. Attendees will break into smaller groups and attend a variety of workshops. 

Heidi Carroll, SDSU Livestock Stewardship Extension Associate – sheep handling techniques and Sheep Safety and Quality Assurance (SSQA). 

Dr. Larry Goelz, Pipestone Vet Clinic – Lambing time preparation and lamb post mortem analysis. Marvin Dunster – Training and Management of Livestock Guard Dogs. 

Jamie Spring – Working Sheep Dogs 


The busses will take us back to the Ramkota Convention Center for a little down time before the evening social at the Kol Restaurant on Main Street where lamb will be the feature appetizer. Local business people will join us so that we can share the wonderful message about South Dakota Lamb and Wool. 


Supper will be on your own. A list of local restaurants that feature lamb will be provided. During the social, there will be a pizza/swimming party at the Ramkota for anyone not wanting to go to the social. South Dakota SheepGrowers Association 


Our main convention day will be Saturday, October 1st at the Ramkota Convention Center in Rapid City. This year’s convention theme is “Adding Value to Lamb and Wool”. 


Morning sessions will feature updates from the American Sheep Industry, American Lamb Board, SD Game, Fish and Parks, and the SD State Veterinary. We are especially excited to have several honored guests planning to join us this year – including Kelly Hepler, the SD Game, Fish & Parks Secretary; Dr. Dustin Odekoven, South Dakota State Veterinarian; Peter Orwick, ASI Executive Director; Burton Pfliger, ASI President; Gwen Kitzen, American Lamb Board; and Cheri Rath, South Dakota Value Added Agriculture Development Center. 


In line with our theme, Jack Ewing from Cresent Socks will be our key note speaker on Saturday. Wool socks, where the wool is grown and spun into socks in the United States is a true value added story. Brad Anderson from Mountain States Lamb will present options on lamb marketing. Justin Lumpkin, USDA – SD Dept of Ag, will talk about the purpose of the Ag Marketing Service, and current trends in sheep inventories and prices. 


There will be an on-going trade show at the convention center, with unique hand-crafted items from local artists featured this year, as well as the “Fleece to Shawl” contest. Fiber artists will use their skills and talents to produce shawls from SD wool, and the shawls will be auctioned at the evening banquet. The Saturday luncheon will feature the Master Lamb Producer awards where select SD lamb & wool producers are recognized for excellence in their area of the industry. 


Saturday evening will culminate with the annual auction and lamb banquet. The coveted “Trapper of the Year” and “Shepherd’s Award” will be presented followed by the SD finals of the “Make It With Wool” contest. 


It’s a very busy weekend in the Black Hills ~ and we encourage you to make your hotel reservations early. The Ramkota will only hold our block of rooms until August 29th ~ so you may not get a room if you wait too long . Their direct number is 605-343-8550. I

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