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Oregon shepherd to represent U.S. in global contest

By Jan Jackson

For the Capital Press

The contest, which will be Sept. 28-Oct. 4 in the Auvergne Region of France, is open to shepherds age 18 to 25. Included will be activities designed to test shepherding skills in sorting, handling and shearing sheep as well as answering questions on sheep breeds, flock management and health issues.

The American Sheep Industry Association’s Young Entrepreneur Committee has selected two young shepherds to represent the U.S. at the second World Ovinpiades Challenge this fall in France.

Woody Babcock of Corvallis, Ore., and Danielle Buskohl, Wyndmere, N.D., were chosen from eight applicants, all of whom submitted a written application, a video showing them working with sheep and participated in a telephone interview.

The contest, which will be Sept. 28-Oct. 4 in the Auvergne Region of France, is open to shepherds age 18 to 25. Included will be activities designed to test shepherding skills in sorting, handling and shearing sheep as well as answering questions on sheep breeds, flock management and health issues.

Babcock, who graduated last spring with a bachelor’s degree in agriculture science from Oregon State University, works full-time for Albany sheep grower Don Gnos. Babcock said he is excited about traveling to France and plans to extend his stay so he can visit other sheep operations.

“I still haven’t come down from the high of being chosen to go,” Babcock said. “Though I will hit the books on sheep breeds, their health issues and principles of flock management, my daily employment routine provides me the means to practice everything else.”

Babcock describes himself as someone who works hard and faces challenges with a good attitude and cool head.

“I hope that with my experience level with sheep farming, I will be able to give the other contestants from around the world a good image of the United States sheep industry and show them who we really are,” he said.

The all-expenses-paid event is designed to promote sheep farming among students at agricultural schools and colleges, to strengthen the partnership between agricultural teaching and the profession and give a modern image of the sheep farming profession. Two young shepherds were selected from each of 20 countries.

“Woody never met a stranger and will have no problems showing the world what kind of work we do here,” Mac Stewart, a friend and fellow shepherd, said. “He is ambitious, he is good at what he does and he will represent us well.”

More information

To view Woody Babcock’s 15-plus minute working video, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmPj1jr2GBA&app=desktop. To contribute to his airfare, contact the American Sheep Industry’s Young Sheep Entrepreneurs Committee Chair Burdell Johnson at bjohnson@fafrm.com or visit http://www.sheepusa.org



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