Youth Conservationist Program Applications Open

by Site Admin on February 8, 2017

Know of any youth who are interested in raising heritage sheep breeds? The Youth Conservationist Program (YCP) can help them get started! The YCP is a way to enable youth to experience the joys and responsibilities of conserving heritage wool breeds of sheep, and a chance to raise heritage breeds that may not be common in their area. Yearling ewes are donated from breeders who are willing to mentor the recipient and help them establish their own flock. Recipients are expected to fulfill the requirements of the YCP by promoting their particular breed of sheep and using the wool from their own animal. The donors and recipients meet at the festival for the presentation and exchange of ownership of the ewe. In 2016, 15 registered ewes were awarded to 15 aspiring young shepherds.

Youth interested in applying for the 2017 Youth Conservationist Program need to be between 9 and 18 years old. If selected, youth must be present to receive the ewe at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival on the Sunday of the event. They must agree to exhibit the ewe at least twice in 2017 at:
1. a county fair or local sheep show; and
2. the State Fair in the state where the recipient lives.

They must also agree to breed the ewe to a registered ram in the fall of 2017, and must agree to either use the ewe’s fleece to personally make a woolen item or sell the fleece to a spinner, felter, or weaver. Finally, they must submit a one-to-two page report, with pictures to the donor breeder by April 30, 2018.

Applications from interested youth must be postmarked by April 1, 2017. In the application/essay the youth should describe themselves, their experience with animals, explain their interest in sheep, and answer the question: “Why would I like to help preserve a heritage breed of sheep?” The total application/essay should be no more than 2 pages in length. The application must include address, phone and, if available, email address. The applicant should indicate if they wish to be considered for a particular breed or any of the breeds available. Each applicant must also include a “letter of recommendation” from his or her 4-H Advisor, FFA Advisor, Veterinarian, Teacher, or Clergy.

Interested young people should contact Elaine Ashcraft for an updated list of breeds available, and then submit their letter of application/essay to: Elaine Ashcraft, 46118 CR 58, Coshocton, Ohio 43812 or by email:

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