AKRON, Ind. — The Indiana Sheep Association will host a National Sheep Improvement Program (NSIP) educational seminar and farm tour June 15 at Tippecanoe Valley High School in Akron, and Hidden Valley Polypays Farm in Rochester.

The event is sponsored in part by Purdue Extension’s Sheep and Wool Market Development Program, as well as the American Sheep Industry. Speakers include national NSIP coordinator Rusty Burgett, NSIP producers Glen and Chris Jones and Indiana Board of Animal Health veterinarian Cheryl Miller. The farm tour will feature the Jones’ farm, located at 4750 N 450 E., Rochester.

Attendees will hear the benefits of enrolling their flocks in NSIP and what is required from producers enrolled in the program. Like many precision agriculture techniques, NSIP is based on extensive data. According to NSIP producer Glen Jones, one beneficial insight from this program is estimated breeding values (EBV) calculated on individual sheep.

“The estimated breeding values generated on each animal enrolled in the NSIP program can be a big help in selecting replacement ewes in a seedstock operation, selecting rams for commercial flocks and in making culling decisions,” Jones said.

EBVs can be calculated for a variety of traits, including percent of lambs weaned, growth rate and parasite resistance—all of which are correlated to the profitability of Midwestern sheep operations.

In addition to an NSIP producer panel, which will include Extension educator Mark Kepler, comments from Burgett and lunch, Miller will present an update on Indiana’s Scrapie Program. The seminar and tour will run 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Registration forms, found at http://indianasheep.com/, must be mailed to Emma O’Brien at 2701 S. 1200 E Zionsville, IN 46077. A completed registration form with the required fee of $15 enclosed must be received by June 5. Registration also will be accepted at the door for $20. Any questions should be directed to O’Brien, at 317-607-5664 or emmaellenhopkins@yahoo.com.

Background: The ISA is one of the oldest livestock organizations in Indiana. It was originally founded as the Indiana Wool Growers Association in 1876 to encourage local shepherds to come together to share ideas and expertise, to promote lamb and wool in the state, and to educate our communities about the value of sheep and the sheep industry.

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