The Wisconsin Sheep Breeders Cooperative (WSBC) conveyed the 2012 Art Pope Sheep Industry Award to Yves M. Berger at their annual meeting and recognition banquet on March 10 at the Public Events Facility of the Arlington Agricultural Research Station. Yves has been the sheep researcher at the Spooner Agricultural Research Station of the University of Wisconsin-Madison since 1988. In addition to supervising the sheep work at the Spooner Station, Yves has served as Assistant Superintendent and later as Superintendent of the Station.
Yves is a nationally and internationally recognized expert in sheep production and management. He conducted the first comparison of the Finnsheep and Romanov breeds of sheep in North America where it was shown that the Romanov was superior to the Finnsheep in all aspects of lamb production. The artificial lamb rearing system that he developed at the Spooner Station has been adopted by sheep producers throughout the U.S. Yves and the sheep crew at Spooner artificially rear 500 to 600 lambs on milk replacer each year. Lambs are successfully weaned off milk replacer at an average age of 30 days after having consumed 18 pounds of milk replacer powder. Since 1995, Yves has supervised the operation of the only dairy sheep research farm in North America. The results of dairy sheep studies from the Spooner Station have been very important to the successful establishment of the dairy sheep industry in North America.
Yves is a native of France where he received the B.S. degree in Agriculture. He received his M.S. degree in Animal Science at the University of Minnesota in 1972. He spent the next 16 years working primarily on sheep and goat development projects in Argentina, Ivory Coast, Kenya, and Morocco. Dr. Art Pope, Professor of Sheep Nutrition at UW-Madison, first met Yves in Africa when Art was reviewing the project in which Yves was involved. Art recognized something special in Yves and recommended him for the position at Spooner when it became open in 1988. Art and Yves developed great respect for each other and a wonderful friendship.
Yves has received several recognitions for his accomplishments in sheep research including the WSBC Master Shepherd – Dairy Award, the Friend of the Association Award from the Indianhead Sheep Breeders Association, the William J. Boylan Distinguished Service Award from the Dairy Sheep Association of North America, the Agricultural Research Stations Employee Recognition Award from the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) of UW-Madison, the CALS Academic Staff Research Award, and the Animal Management and International Animal Agriculture Awards from the American Society of Animal Science.
Yves officially retired from UW-Madison service in December 2009, but he was convinced to come back to the Spooner Station on a part-time basis to supervise the sheep research until a decision was made on his replacement. He will end his part-time employment at Spooner on June 30, 2012. Yves and his wife, Lynn, have four grown children and a grand-child and will remain in the Spooner area.