Targhee sheep

The Targhee is a breed of domestic sheep developed in early 20th century by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service. Targhee sheep are a dual–purpose breed, with heavy medium-quality wool and good meat-production characteristics.

The U.S. Targhee Sheep Association will, for the 12th straight year, be offering a free registered Targhee starter flock to a deserving youth at the national show and sale, held July 16-18 in Redfield, South Dakota.

In previous years, association members have awarded 18 starter flocks, totaling 60 head of sheep, and have donated almost $13,000 toward buyers credits for the award winners to purchase additional sheep at Targhee association national sales.

The winner must be present to receive the flock, and will be awarded one ewe lamb, one yearling ewe, and one brood ewe donated by members of the association. Each animal will be a Targhee association registered animal, and at least QR in Scrapie Codon 171 genotype. The winner will also receive a $150 credit for use toward purchase of additional animals at the national sale.

Applications, due April 1, are now available to download at www.ustargheesheep.org or by contacting Mardy Rutledge at the Targhee association office (ustargheesheep@gmail.com or 702-292-5715).

Any young person, ages 9-17, as of Jan. 1, whose family does not raise Targhee sheep may apply. Applicants should possess a keen interest in the U.S. sheep industry, commitment to raising Targhee sheep over time, and a firm belief in the abilities of the breed. Applicants must demonstrate proof of care, facilities and transportation.

Aside from receiving the flock of sheep, the winning youth will be paired with a Targhee breeder living near them who will act as a mentor. The association is committed to helping the winner succeed.

Targhee sheep are one of the few breeds developed in the United States at the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station in Dubois, Idaho.

Withstanding harsh environments and minimal human intervention, while still producing high quality lamb and wool are hallmark traits of Targhees. Mothering ability and gentle dispositions are additional positive traits of the breed.

Through the starter folk program, the U.S. Targhee Sheep Association looks to the future generations of sheep producers. New producers are encouraged to apply to participate.

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