Veteran sheep producer Paul Lewis, recently elected 2014-2015 president of the Oregon Sheep Growers Association, is calling on OSGA board and industry members for help as the 100-plus-year-old association moves into the 21st Century.
“In today’s climate, with increased pressure on sheep producers from all segments, it is more important than ever to have a united front,” Lewis said. “We need everyone to help combat increasing regulations that increase our costs, as well as protect our ability to continue to farm and raise healthy animals for the public.”
Lewis with his wife Kathy operate Black Canyon Ranch near Bonanza, Ore. For more than 45 years they raised Suffolks, fine wools, St. Croix and Polypays, but their main focus today is selling quality Lewis White Dorper rams for registered and commercial flocks.
Lewis has held local, state and national leadership positions with the California Suffolk Association, California Woolgrowers, National Sheep Industry Improvement Center and the American Sheep and Goat Center. He is currently president of the Western States Dorper Association.
“My vision for OSGA is to develop an inclusive group that appeals to all segments of the sheep industry,” Lewis said. “To accomplish this we must be relevant to small farmers, hand spinners and wool enthusiasts, 4-H and FFA, as well as purebred, club lamb folks, direct marketers and large commercial producers.
“To this end, we have monthly conference call meetings with the board of directors and other interested volunteers to develop strategy for the association.”
He also sees changes ahead for the organization’s annual conventions.
“As a result of the membership survey we conducted, we plan to hold our 2014 annual meeting in the Willamette Valley and allow a one-day registration for Saturday’s education sessions for folks, who in the past have had work or school conflicts and cost concerns,” he said. “We are currently working to determine the convention site and education components soon so producers to plan to attend.”
For more information about OSGA, visit www.sheeporegon.com or call the Oregon Sheep Growers office at 503-364-5462.