2016 Youth Conservation Program winner

William and his new ewe Lydia, with breeder and donor Margaret VanCamp

My name is William O’Boyle and I am from Cumberland, Maryland. As a member of the Mountain and Valley 4-H club, I have been a part of 4-H for eight(8) years and was also a part of the homeschool 4-H as a clover and Junior member for four (4) years. I am currently in my first year as a senior member of 4-H. I am also a member of the Boy Scouts of America Troop 9 where I am working on the rank of Eagle and have completed numerous merit badges including Animal Science.
As a 4-H member, I have raised animals for the showing and judging at my local fair for about six (6) years but have been around animals my whole life. I started showing at the fair with just sheep and bunnies; the following year I added hogs and breeding sheep. I did not show hogs again until last year. I also show goats. My brother, who is also in 4-H and I also have raised bottle babies successfully for the last five (5) years. The breeds of sheep we have raised are Khatadins, Suffolk, Hampshire and a Jacob. My Khatadins were breed and I had a herd of 16 strong when I sold them. I sold them to a local breeder who was looking at getting into hair sheep instead of wool. I wanted to focus on goats at the time because I was more interested in them at the time.
I have been looking at getting back into sheep flocks and am getting passionate about raising heritage sheep because of the verstility of them in many ways. These ways include being more adaptable, having resistence to diseases and parisites as well as better foraging abilities. I enjoy history and learning how our founding fathers did farming, work, making supplies and the way of life then. Also, heritage sheep were used by our founding fathers for wool, meat, and breeding. I would like to keep the heritage breeds alive and teach others the way of old and show them those ways as well about our past. I would love to be a breeder of sheep again and more specifically of heritage sheep because preserving our heritage is something I am passionate about doing and sharing with others.
This year I received a Blue Faced Leicester Ewe from Margaret Van Camp and Cindy Cieciwa from Pitch fork Farms MI. I have showed her “Lydia” in the District show as well as in my local county fair (Allegany County, MD Fair and Ag Expo) in July where Lydia took Reserve Grand Champion in Breeding Ewes.
20160509_124915 Currently we are preparing to go to the MD State Fair beginning August 24-29th, 2016. I am learning something new about Heritage/wool sheep each day. I am enjoying handling Lydia and sharing about Blue Faced Leicesters with others. I plan to breed her this fall and am currently looking for a breeder.
William O’Boyle

20160508_145023William and the other youth participants in the Youth Conservation Program.
The Youth Conservationist Program is a way to enable youth to experience the joys and responsibilities of conserving heritage wool sheep breeds.
Youth interested in applying for the 2017 Youth Conservationist Program need to be between 9 and 18 years old. If selected, youth must be present to receive the ewe at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival on the Sunday of the event. They must agree to exhibit the ewe at least twice in 2017 at: 1) a county fair or local sheep show; and 2) the State Fair in the state where the recipient lives. They must also agree to breed the ewe to a registered ram in the fall of 2017, and must agree to either use the ewe’s fleece to personally make a woolen item or sell the fleece to a spinner, felter, or weaver. Finally, they must submit a one-to-two page report, with pictures to the donor breeder by April 30, 2018.
Applications from interested youth must be postmarked by April 1, 2017. In the application/essay the youth should describe themselves, their experience with animals, explain their interest in sheep, and answer the question: “Why would I like to help preserve a heritage breed of sheep?” The total application/essay should be no more than 2 pages in length. The application must include address, phone and, if available, email address. The applicant should indicate if they wish to be considered for a particular breed or any of the breeds available. Each applicant must also include a “letter of recommendation” from his or her 4-H Advisor, FFA Advisor, Veterinarian, Teacher, or Clergy.
Interested young people should contact Elaine Ashcraft for an updated list of breeds available, and then submit their letter of application/essay to: Elaine Ashcraft, 46118 CR 58, Coshocton, Ohio 43812 or by email: tankewe_cr58@yahoo.com

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