American Lamb Board selects LambEx representatives

The American Lamb Board recently selected two young leaders to represent the United States at LambEx in Australia in August 2018: David Fisher of Texas and Rebecca Miller of Ohio. The U.S. delegation attending LambEx will also include ALB Chairman Jim Percival, American Sheep Industry Association President Mike Corn and ASI Lamb Council Chairman Reed Anderson.

This international event allows the U.S. delegation to identify new innovations and technologies with the potential of benefitting production efficiencies and competitiveness of American Lamb.

Both young leaders feel strongly about the value of attending LambEx and seeing Australia’s sheep production practices.

“LambEx is a great opportunity to broaden our depth of knowledge in the global sheep industry,” says Fisher. “It also provides an opportunity to get a first-hand look at some of the highly successful practices of producers in Australia. I hope to develop new relationships and bring valuable knowledge back to share and implement here in the U.S.”

Miller agrees.

“An American sheep producer has everything to gain by attending and participating in LambEx. It is an opportunity to learn more about best practices and to network with other producers and share our stories.”

LambEx is the premier sheep and lamb event bringing together sheep producers, processors, researchers, educators and suppliers. It is held every other year in Australia, attracting perhaps the largest group of people devoted to the industry from around the world—more than 900 delegates and 60 vendors. The ALB selected the two young leaders through a competitive process, which includes the importance of the winners being inspired to share their learnings with other young producers and industry members.

“My role as this representative will be to lead other young producers. I will take every opportunity to share the knowledge I gain. I am passionate about the sheep industry and I want to be able to help other young producers become successful far into the future,” says Fischer.

Fisher owns and operates a multi-species ranch in Sonorah, Texas, incorporating a balance of sheep, cattle and goats. He has grown the operation to 450 ewes and is always looking for ways to improve his productivity including genetic improvements and data collection provided through the National Sheep Improvement Program. He also helps manage his family’s ranch with his father, Glen, past ASI President. Fisher has served as a district director with the Texas Sheep and Goat Raisers since 2011 and has served on ASI’s Wool Council since 2017. He has been instrumental in starting a group of young entrepreneurs in the sheep industry called Texas Ranchers of Tomorrow, which has grown to 40 members.

When Miller returns to the U.S. she, too, wants to share her experience with national, regional and local audiences.

“I can be a passionate advocate for change where it’s needed in the U.S. sheep industry. At the very least, I intend to use the knowledge gleaned in Australia to continue to improve efficiency and productivity on my own farm and hopefully, influence other sheep producers by example.”

Miller owns and operates Blue Heron Farms in Lisbon, Ohio, in partnership with her mother, Cynthia Koonce. They run approximately 300 commercial Dorset–cross ewes, lambing several times a year in a modified accelerated system. They are always working to improve and grow their sheep enterprise, including the use of digital data tracking equipment, a weighing and drafting crate to better track weight gains in their feeder lambs, pasture improvements with additional forages, and using NSIP tools. Prior to joining her mother on the farm, Miller was a journalist and traveled the world as a freelance writer. She also serves on ASI’s Young Entrepreneur Committee, Ohio Sheep Improvement Association’s Yong Shepherds Assembly Committee and the Ohio Dept of Agriculture Small Ruminant Advisory Committee.