FREDERICKTOWN — The Knox County Sheep Improvement Association named Hope Huvler, 17, as the 2011 Sheep Ambassador at its meeting Monday night. Hope attends Fredericktown High School where she is active in student council, 4-H, FFA, and girls basketball. She is the daughter of Scott and Terri Huvler of Fredericktown.
Hope will represent the Knox County sheep and lamb industry at various functions during the year including the Knox County Fair.
The keynote speaker was Roger High, who gave a slide presentation on his recent trip with the OSU Sheep Team to Australia. High is the OSU Extension sheep specialist and director of the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association.
High grew up on a sheep farm in Morrow County and went to The Ohio State University.
“I have always worked with sheep,” he said. “I have a farm near Richwood and a small flock of Polled Dorset sheep.”
High said the Australian sheep tour came about a few years ago when several sheep producers came to him and said they would like to study the Australian sheep industry. A group was formed and a tour set up that ran from March 26 to April 11, 2010.
“We ended up with 16 sheep farmers from Ohio and one from West Virginia,” he said.
High said one of the biggest benefits of the trip was finding out the Australian sheep industry is very much like that in the United States. He said the Australians were finding it difficult to promote their product, especially lamb, which is increasingly becoming a product for special occasions such as religious events, weddings and other events — even in countries that traditionally eat a lot of lamb.
He said several Australian producers expressed a desire to partner with the U.S. sheep industry to try to increase worldwide promotion of sheep and lamb products. Those in the group found this an attractive idea and promised they would bring the proposal back to the U.S. for consideration