Virginia Tech Sheep Extension
Virginia’s sheep population of over 89,000 exists in all regions of the state. The state’s abundant forage resources, moderate climate, and close proximity to markets make Virginia ideally suited for a vibrant, diverse sheep industry. Multiple management and production systems are employed in the state, with the majority of lambs born in the spring and raised in a forage-based environment. Commercial, spring-lambing flocks comprise the majority of the industry which is supported by a strong seedstock industry. Growing segments include sheep raised for youth 4-H projects as well as hair sheep.
If you are a person with a disability and require any auxiliary aids, services or other accommodations for any Extension event, please discuss your accommodation needs with the Extension staff at your local Extension office at least 1 week prior to the event.
General ItemShepherd's Symposium
This annual program provides education on current topics and research of interest to sheep producers. The one-day event includes a blend of lecture and demonstration sessions. The Symposium is typically held in early January, and location is rotated across the state.
General ItemSheep 101 Basics Workshop
This educational program is designed for new and beginning shepherds to provide hands-on experience and training in basic sheep production techniques. Topic areas include nutrition, health, genetics, reproduction, marketing, and management. Instruction includes opportunity for participants to work with sheep to learn necessary skills and attain experience. The Workshop will be held as a two-day event in October, as well as, annually in conjunction with the Shepherd’s Symposium.
General ItemVirginia Ram Test Program
The Virginia Ram Test has existed at the Shenandoah Valley AREC since 1975. Ram lambs, consigned by the state’s producers, are developed and managed in a central location to provide objective information on economically important traits such as growth and carcass performance. The program concludes with an annual sale of rams the fourth Saturday in August.
General ItemSouthwest Agricultural Research and Extension Center Ram Test
The Virginia Tech Southwest AREC Ram Test began in 2012 and consists primarily of Katahdin sheep breeders from across the United States. This program is unique and created with much discussion and interest across the industry. Through the forage-based ram performance test, designed specifically to quantify growth and parasite resistance in rams. The program concludes with an annual field day and sale of the top ~50% of rams the fourth Friday in September.