From left, High, and Distinguished Service Award Winners Miller, Johnson, Cessna, Highfield, Irvin and Shultz.

Producers flock to Buckeye Shepherd’s Symposium

COLUMBUS, Ohio (OSIA) – Approximately 200 sheep and goat producers attended the 2009 Buckeye Shepherd’s Symposium hosted at the Ohio Department of Agriculture in Reynoldsburg in December.

The symposium was held in conjunction with the Small ruminant (sheep and goat) Health Symposium, keynoted by Dr. Richard Ehrhardt, small ruminant specialist at Michigan State University.

“There is a great amount of interest in health maintenance and health prevention programs as well as how sheep producers can reduce expenses with health programs on their farms,” said Roger A. High, executive director of the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association (OSIA) and Ohio Sheep and Wool Program.

High said the symposium’s topic areas provided producers basic health maintenance and prevention information to help better manage flocks and herds..

The OSIA annual meeting was held during the symposium where a number individuals received annual awards and recognition.

Awards included:

Distinguished Service Award

The Distinguished Service Award honors those people that have made significant contributions to the Ohio Sheep Industry.

2009 Distinguished Service Award winners include:

Sally Johnson of Wayne County has served as the Ohio State Fair “Taste of Ohio Café” coordinator for four years prior to her retirement. Johnson and her husband Fred have volunteered their services to the Ohio Sheep industry for several years, including volunteer to assist at the Ohio State Fair. Sally was also coordinated and assisted with the Cleveland Fabulous Food Show in 2008.

Nancy Cessna of Wood County has been a leader for the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association for many years, and has served as OSIA Secretary/Treasurer. She has also served on the OSIA Board and numerous committees both at the state and national level.

Cheryl Miller of Wood County and past-president of OSIA in 1997-1998, has served on the OSIA Board and numerous committees both at the state and national level. Miller is retiring from the OSIA board and wconcentrating her efforts on the family’s Boer Goat farm.

Bob Highfield of Fayette County served as president of OSIA in 1981-1982. He has been integral in keeping the Ohio State Fair Sheep Shows on the top shows in the United States. Highfield started as an assistant superintendent in charge of penning at the Ohio State Fair Sheep Department in 1973, and assumed the lead position in the department upon the passing of Ralph Grimshaw in 1993.

Jim Percival of Greene County has served 3 three-year terms on the Ohio Sheep and Wool Program (Ohio’s Check-off program). He is also currently vice president of the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association.

Dr. Keith Irvin of Delaware County was recognized at the 2008 Buckeye Shepherd’s Symposium, but was unable to attend due to the fact that he was in Ireland last year with 50 Ohio State University students. Irvin has been a steady supporter of the Ohio Sheep Industry in his role as an instructor of Animal Sciences. He retired from the university in January 2009.

Master Shepherd

Tim Barnes of Radnor was named the 2009 Charles Boyles Master Shepherd Award winner at the symposium. The award is named after Charles Boyles, a long-time teacher, industry friend and sheep man at the Eastern Ohio Research and Development Center.

Primarily involved in purebred sheep production, Barnes and his family operate Scioto Farms and have been involved in many aspects of the sheep industry for several years. He has held numerous sheep industry leadership positions in Ohio and nationally, including OSIA president for two different terms, and he is the longest serving board member for the Ohio Sheep and Wool Program.

“Tim has always been at the forefront of many areas of sheep production and business management,” said High, “including, but not limited to, genetics, nutrition, marketing, reproduction and leadership.

OSIA Youth Recognized

Linsey Howell of Knox County received the $1,000 Ralph Grimshaw Memorial Scholarship Award. She currently attends Ohio State University majoring in animal science. The Ralph Grimshaw Memorial Scholarship Award funds come primarily from the Silent Auction that is held during the Buckeye Shepherd’s Symposium.

Jacci Erwin of Union County has been named the 2009 State FFA Sheep Proficiency Award winner in 2009 and the National FFA Sheep Proficiency Award sinner. Erwin attends Ohio State University as an animal science major.

Amy Frost of Fayette County was named the 2009 State 4-H Sheep Achievement Award winner. Frost has also served as an Ohio Lamb and Wool Queen representing the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association. She is attending Ohio State University where she is an animal science major.

The Ohio Sheep Improvement Association also honored James and John Anderson of Wayne County for winning the 2009 ASI Environmental Stewardship Award.

2010 OSIA Officers and Directors

The Ohio Sheep Improvement Association also elected officers and board members for 2010. They include:

  • President – Susan Shultz, De Graff
  • Vice President – Jim Percival, Xenia
  • Secretary/Treasurer – Daryl Clark

OSIA Board of Directors

Commercial Flock Owners – Cynthia Koonce, Columbiana County (newly elected) – Katherine Harrison, Franklin County (newly elected) – Curt Cline, Athens County – Shawn Ray, Noble County

Lamb Feeders – John Anderson, Wayne County (newly elected) – Leah Amstutz, Putnam County (newly elected) – Jerry Allison, Muskingum County (newly elected) – Val Jorgenson, Franklin County

Purebred Breeders – Don Van Nostran, Athens County (newly elected) – Dan Bline, Champaign County (newly elected) – Gregg Fogle, Union County (newly elected) – David Inbody, Hancock County

The Ohio Sheep Improvement Association has been celebrating their 60th year Anniversary in 2009, as well as the 20th Anniversary of the Ohio Sheep and Wool Program. The Ohio Sheep Improvement Association is a membership organization of Ohio Sheep Farmers representing the Ohio Sheep Farmers in the many facets of Ohio Agriculture.

For more information, contact OSIA Executive Director Roger High at 614-246-8299, e-mail [email protected], or visit






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