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Ludlam Earns Trip to National Sheep Convention


by Bev Berens

Published: Friday, March 9, 2018

Samantha Ludlam of Hopkins worked her way to the top spot in the combined public speaking and discussion meet contests for beginning and young farmers and entrepreneurs during the 2018 Michigan Sheep Producers Assn. annual meeting held the first weekend in January.

Instead of a trophy for the den, Ludlam received an exciting opportunity to immerse herself in the sheep industry with an all-expense paid trip to the American Sheep Industry Convention in San Antonio, Texas, compliments of the Michigan Sheep Breeders Assn. With only a few weeks to prepare between the state event and the national convention held Jan. 31 through Feb. 2, there was no time to waste in making travel and housing arrangements.

"I am very thankful and grateful for the opportunity to represent our state at ASI Convention," Ludlam said. "It was such a great opportunity to meet with other producers and learn more about sheep production, especially from the ranchers who produce on a much larger scale on the range than we do here in Michigan."

Ludlam, a junior at Michigan State University, is majoring in agriculture, food and natural resources education. She has been active in raising sheep for fiber and meat through her flock of show lambs and Shetland sheep. Her parents, Mark and Heather Ludlam, DVM, raise Shetland sheep on their farm in Allegan County. She has been active in the sheep industry through showing and mentoring other youth and has been a part of the Michigan Sheep Producers youth programs for many years.

"I chose an interactive presentation for my speech, looking more at what the audience needed than what I wanted to teach," she said.

Her topic addressed ways to promote lamb consumption to consumers.

MSPA annual meeting kicks off with a focus on young farmers and youth on Friday night where education, competition and social gathering come together as young producers mingle and learn from each other before the annual event, held the first weekend of each new year.

"The focus is 18-35 year-old beginning farmers and entrepreneurs, and there is also a portion dedicated to 4-H and FFA youth during the evening," Ludlam said.

While at ASI, Ludlam participated in the young entrepreneur educational track. Youth and adults were tracked into educational opportunities based on their needs and interests.

"It is our hope that she will return with an increased enthusiasm and share that new knowledge with other young producers," said Maury Kaercher, Michigan Sheep Producers executive director.

"There is a need for young people to get more knowledge and be more vested in the sheep industry. We hope they gain knowledge while at ASI and bring it back to share and be a role model for other young people and eventually be a part of our organization. We hope the event gives them a broader understanding of the industry and its challenges and that they return with an idea of what role they can play in the industry and how Michigan Sheep Breeders Assn. can be part of that role as well."

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