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Nation’s first-ever dairy sheep school offered at Spooner in March

With Wisconsin leading the nation with the number of dairy sheep farms and overall sheep milk production, it’s no surprise that the nation’s first dairy sheep school will be offered here.

The Wisconsin Dairy Sheep School will be held March 6-10 at the Spooner Agricultural Research Station, hosted by the Dairy Business Innovation Center, the UW-Madison’s Spooner Agricultural Research Station and UW Cooperative Extension.

Demand for sheep milk still outpaces supply, despite the fact that Wisconsin produced more than 1 million pounds it in 2009. The new school was set up to train new producers in an effort to increase the supply of quality sheep milk.

The course will feature lectures on topics such as weaning and artificial rearing of lambs, mastitis and milk quality, parlor design and milking machine function, ewe nutrition and milk handling regulations. Speakers will include:

– Pamela Ruegg, UW-Madison Dept. of Dairy Science
– Doug Reinemann, UW-Madison Dept. of Biological Systems Engineering
– Bob Leder, United Veterinary Services
– Dave Thomas, UW-Madison Dept. of Animal Sciences
– Yves Berger, Spooner Agricultural Research Station
– Tom Kieffer, Dream Valley Farm
– Larry Meisegeier , Wisconsin Sheep Dairy Cooperative
– Brenda Jensen, Hidden Springs Creamery

The course will also provide hands-on experience in the milking parlor and caring for young lambs.

The Spooner Agricultural Research Station is the only dairy sheep research facility in North America. Due to limited space in the milking parlor and barn are limited, course enrollment will be capped at 14 students. Preference will be given to Wisconsin residents and those interested in commercial dairy sheep production.

For a course brochure and application, visit the DBIC website at http://www.dbicusa.org/sheeps_milk.php. For more information about the Dairy Sheep School, contact Claire Mikolayunas, DBIC Dairy Sheep Specialist, at 608-332-2889 or email clairemikolay@gmail.com.

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