Writer: Steve Byrns, 325-653-4576, firstname.lastname@example.org
Contacts: Dr. Reid Redden, 325-653-4576, Reid.Redden@ag.tamu.edu
Dr. Ronald Pope, 325-653-4576, Ronald.Pope@ag.tamu.edu
SAN ANGELO – Texas A&M AgriLife will conduct two wool production educational schools Jan. 3-5 at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center north of San Angelo on U.S. Highway 87.
“We are very excited to be hosting the Texas A&M AgriLife Shearing and Classing Schools again this year,” said Dr. Reid Redden, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service state sheep and goat specialist at San Angelo. “These sessions are designed to train the next generation of shearers and wool classers to use the most innovative technology available to harvest and prepare wool for market.”
Redden said they are conducting two different trainings; sheep shearing and wool classing, and since the two sessions will be concurrent, students must take one or the other, but not both.
The shearing session with Redden as the coordinator will teach basic shearing techniques, animal handling, and introduce the tools of the trade.
The goal is to develop industry professionals who will use the most efficient technique, equipment and tools to harvest wool, he said. The shearing technique taught will be the international shearing pattern, often referred to as “Australian style,” that does not require tying the animals during the shearing process.
“We advise against taking the school just to learn to shear a small personal flock, because learning to shear sheep effectively takes years of hard work, practice and perseverance,” Redden said.
The wool classing school will teach participants to sort wool based on fiber quality, he said.
Dr. Ronald Pope, Texas A&M AgriLife Research director of the Bill Sims Wool and Mohair Research Lab, will coordinate the training.
The training will demonstrate how to properly sort fleeces into uniform groups so the wool can be presented in such a way as to earn the most value possible on the commercial marketplace, Pope said.
“Both curriculums will complement each other,” Redden said. “And perhaps most importantly, will provide learning and networking opportunities for ranchers and shearing professionals to improve the value and sustainability of the Texas wool and mohair industry.”
The class sizes are limited due to the hands-on instruction, so applications for both schools must be submitted by Dec. 2. Successful applicants will be notified by Dec. 7. Apply online at http://agrilife.org/sheepandgoat/registration or by phone at 325-653-4576.
Individual registration for the shearing school or wool classing school is $150 for Texas residents and $250 for non-residents. Students will receive a sheep shearing handbook and DVD or wool classing manual. Previous students will receive a $100 discount.
The minimum age for participating in either course is 16 years old. Coordinators stressed the skills taught involve hard physical labor, therefore applicants should arrive willing to work, and dressed in proper working attire.
The school is a collaborative effort among AgriLife Extension, AgriLife Research, the American Sheep Industry Association and the Texas Sheep and Goat Raisers’ Association.
Redden and Pope can be reached at 325-653-4576 for further information.