Supporting the future of the Missouri sheep industry is a key strategy for the Missouri Sheep Producers organization. Offering grants to current 4-H and FFA youth interested in starting their own flock and becoming involved in the sheep industry is one way the organization accomplishes this strategy.
"Youth involvement is important to the sheep industry," says Sarah Gehring, president of MSP. "The Missouri Sheep Producers feel that by supporting the youth now they are more likely to continue in the sheep industry as they become adults."
"[FFA and 4-H] Applicants must not currently own a flock," explains grant coordinator and MSP executive director Scott Kaden. "They must be involved in Missouri 4-H and/or FFA, successfully complete and submit an application and contact a current MSP member to obtain a letter of recommendation. In addition, they must have an agreement with an MSP member to participate in a mentoring program."
The successful FFA and/or 4-H applicant will be required to purchase the starter ewes from a current MSP member, arrange for transportation of the sheep back to their home. Then they will either purchase a ram or coordinate with their mentor on a breeding program. The ewes must be purchased by September 1 and be bred to lamb the spring of 2014. The starter flock must be kept in the winners' possession for a minimum of one year. The applicant will present a total budget for the year at the 2014 MSP annual meeting.
Applications can be downloaded from the MSP website. The application deadline is May 1. Grants will be awarded in June to allow ample time for the youth to purchase their ewes before fall breeding season, Kaden adds.
For more information about the Missouri Sheep Producers or the MSP Starter Flock Grant, please contact Scott Kaden by phone at 573-341-0281 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: Missouri Sheep Producers