Sheep shearing schools set for Wyoming’s Riverton and Worland
Two sheep shearing schools are planned near Riverton and Worland in response to the severe shortage of shearers in Wyoming, according to an educator with the University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service (UW CES).
“Sheep producers statewide are having a terrible time finding sheep shearers, and many smaller producers are at the point of not finding someone to shear their sheep,” said UW CES area educator Ron Cunningham, who is based in the Fremont County office in Lander.
In response, he said, UW CES, in collaboration with the Wyoming Wool Growers Association and Wyoming Business Council, has scheduled shearing schools for Sept. 23-25 near Riverton and Oct. 14-16 in the Worland area.
“The schools are for anyone who has the desire and ability to learn how to shear sheep,” Cunningham said. “Our goal is to attract 10 to 12 students to each school who are truly interested in learning and will go out and shear in the coming years.”
The schools are not intended for people who want to learn how to shear sheep for “novelty purposes,” he added.
“With the problems sheep producers have encountered the past few years, we are desperate to train some new shearers,” Cunningham said. “Some Wyoming sheep producers could not find shearers the past couple of years, and others were extremely late in getting their sheep sheared.”
The schools will be taught by Jim Moore, regional sheep specialist for Montana State University (MSU) Extension based in Stanford, MT, and Mike Schuldt, MSU Extension agent for Blaine County.
Moore and Schuldt traveled to New Zealand last year to learn techniques that make that country known as one of the most accomplished sheep shearing locales in the world, according to MSU Extension. For more information about their training, go to http://extn.msu.montana.edu/news_article.asp?id=51.
“They are extremely talented and well trained, and they have been putting on schools in Montana for several years,” Cunningham said. “We were fortunate to be able to encourage them to come down to Wyoming and help us out.”
The fee for each school is $75, and preregistration is required.
Those wishing to attend the Sept. 23-25 school at the Philp Sheep Co. feedlot in Hidden Valley north of Riverton should contact Cunningham at the Fremont County UW CES office in Lander at (307) 332-1044.
To register for the Oct. 14-16 school in the Worland area (the location will be announced soon), contact UW CES area educator Jim Gill in the Washakie County office at (307) 347-3431.