Students flock to Arlington Sheep Unit workshop out of shear interest

shearing school 2015
Students, instructors, and workers at the 2015 Beginning Sheep Shearing School held at Arlington Agricultural Research Station. Stacked in the back are bags of wool sheared during the school.

The annual Beginning Sheep Shearing School was held at the Arlington Agricultural Research Station Sheep Unit on Dec. 5-6, 2015. A total of 16 students from Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Illinois and Arizona participated in the school, and over 150 sheep were sheared.

The lead instructor was Joe Huber, a professional sheep shearer from Wisconsin Dells, who has taught the school for several years. He was assisted in instruction by his sons Josh and Jordan, as well as Todd Taylor, manager of the Arlington Sheep Unit; Dave Thomas, animal sciences professor; and Tom Murphy, animal sciences graduate student. In addition, several members of the Taylor family and other UW-Madison employees provided valuable assistance in conducting the school.

Ron Cole, wool education consultant with the American Sheep Industry Association from Greeley, Colorado, provided instruction on proper care of the commercial fleece during and after shearing, and Holin Kennen, owner of The Dancing Lamb fiber arts store in Evansville, Wisconsin, gave demonstrations on proper skirting of fleeces.

Each student was provided a large notebook of printed information and a DVD on shearing methods, machine maintenance, and proper handling of wool provided by the American Sheep Industry Association.

The Arlington Beginning Shearing School is organized by Lynnette Taylor, Todd Taylor and Derald Stronach from the Arlington Sheep Unit, and co-sponsored by the Wisconsin Sheep Breeders Cooperative and the UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences through the college’s Department of Animal Sciences and the Arlington Agricultural Research Station.