By Maggie Hoffman
Hi, my name is Maggie Hoffman and this year I won a Bluefaced Leicester yearling ram through the Youth Conservation Program. The Youth Conservation Program’s mission is to encourage the youth to raise and show heritage breeds of sheep such as the Bluefaced Leicester. A heritage sheep is a breed of sheep that has low numbers in the United States and may even face extinction. Every year to encourage youth breeders to raise these heritage breeds of sheep the Youth Conservation Program gives away several sheep to inspiring shepherds. These sheep are donated by farms all across America that raise heritage breeds of sheep.
To win one of these sheep I had to enter and essay contest. I had to write a little bit about me and my experience with animals than I had to answer the question: ‘Why would I like to raise a heritage breed of sheep?’ You then can request what kind of sheep you would like to recieve and I choose Bluefaced Lecesters because that is the breed that I raise.
I was so excited when the Youth Conservation Program called me and told me I was in the top 15 contestants to recieve a sheep. I would be traveling to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festible to pick up my new sheep. Usually the Youth Conservation Program gives away yearling ewes, but because I only had ewes they talked to the breeder that was donating the ewe decided that it would best to donate a Bluefaced yearling ram this year. The ram, Beechtree’s Greystone, was donated by Brenda and Mark Lelli from Beechtree farm in Michigan.
The Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival was a lot of fun. I got to meet Greystone and Brenda and Mark from Beechtree Farms. After the presentation and I recieved my ram I got to participate in The Parade of Breeds. Greystone is such a beautiful ram and he behaved really well throughout the whole ordeal.
Now that I’ve recieved my ram I have to fill several obligations throughout the next year. Once I got home from the festival I sent Mark and Brenda Lelli a thankyou note and I will keep them updated on what Greystone is up to. For Christmas I will use Greystone’s wool to make a Christmas present for Greystone’s breeders. I will also be keeping two scrapbooks on all the fun things that Greystone and I are doing. One of the scrapbooks goes to the donater while I get to keep the other after it is shown at theMaryland Sheep and Wool Festival next year. This fall I will also be breeding him to three regitared Bluefaced ewes and hopefully be showing their lambs this coming year at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festible.
I had a lot of fun writing my essay and receiving my new ram. I encourage any young shepherd to give it a try.
By Maggie Hoffman