Sheep industry recognizes award recipients
Outstanding U.S. sheep industry members were honored for their contributions to the industry at an awards luncheon held Jan. 25, at the American Sheep Industry Association/National Lamb Feeders Association Convention in San Antonio, Texas.
Florence Cubiburu from Stockton, Calif., received a standing ovation as she accepted the McClure Silver Ram Award for her lifetime of achievement and dedication to supporting the American sheep industry. Cubiburu was born into the sheep industry, and she carries that lifelong passion with her daily. She was the first woman president of the California Wool Growers Association and recipient of its Master Shepherd Award, a member of the California Sheep Commission Board and main proponent of its development, American Lamb Board member and has held numerous seats on ASI councils and committees. Vision and drive is something that Cubiburu encompasses and carries forth when thinking about this industry.
She is called the epitome sheep ambassador in one of her nomination letters, stating, "Florence Cubiburu is well known to producer, industry, government, legislative and regulatory offices across this continent. There is no more deserving individual we know who meets the quality of the McClure Silver Ram Award."
During her acceptance speech, Cubiburu said she was "humbled and honored to receive this recognition" and thanked her family for supporting her endeavors in the industry throughout the years.
The Camptender Award was presented to Charles Parker, Ph.D., of Columbus, Ohio, for his work as educator, scientist, industry leader, promoter and visionary in the sheep industry for the past 50 years. Parker focused his research at the Ohio Ag Research Station on intensive management systems and genetic selection for reproductive growth efficiencies, his work then continued as director of the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station in Dubois, Idaho. He later came back to The Ohio State University as chair of the Animal Sciences Department and developed the OSU sheep flock into an educational and research flock. His research activities cut across the full spectrum of sheep performance traits, including the assessment and improvement of carcass merit, performance recording, ewe productivity, genetic resistance to footrot and internal parasites, new breed development and many more. He is well-known for his pursuit of the "Holy Grail" of sheep production: maximizing the pounds of quality lamb marketed per ewe per year.
Even in retirement, Parker has continued to be a leader and mentor to academia and industry leaders. Accepting the award, he said, "It has been a pleasure to work with producers in almost every state on sheep industry issues over the years and I am very proud to do that."
Francis and Shirley Steffee of Steffee Farms, Dresden, Ohio, were awarded the Environmental Stewardship Award for their tremendous commitment to the environment through everyday management practices with their flock. The Steffees have worked with the Muskingum Soil and Water Conservation District to implement numerous conservation practices on their farm including spring development, tile drainage, grassed waterways and paddocks for grazing. They also manage their woodlands and plant grass cover for wildlife. By utilizing the Environmental Quality Incentive Program, the Steffees have been able to divide their pasture into manageable paddocks including spring development and water tank installation. The farm was named the 2010 Muskingum County Resource Conservation Award winner and also received the Environmental Stewardship Award at the most recent Ohio Livestock Coalition Awards Ceremony.
When asked to describe their conservation philosophy, the Steffees say it involves passing the land onto others by being good stewards of the land by conserving and enhancing soil, water, air and woodlands.
Receiving the Shepherd's Award for Media was Wallace Sinclair of Milo, Maine. Sinclair is the publisher of Mainely Agriculture, a statewide newspaper containing news about agriculture, particularly sheep farming. The newspaper was started five years ago to help complete a sheep dairy building project at Sinclair's farm and has now developed into a marketing tool for all farmers.
ASI is a national trade organization supported by 46 state sheep associations, benefiting the interests of more than 81,000 sheep producers.