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David Sparks Ph.d Sheep Shorn
by David Sparks Ph.d, click here for bio

Program: Idaho Ag Today
Date: March 28, 2018

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With 255,000 sheep in the state of Idaho, this time of year sees that there are a lot of sheep that need to be sheared. Wyoming based, Glenn Hoopes and his six man crew arrive in Letha, Idaho in their mobile sheep shearing truck. Glenn’s crew is primarily comprised of H2A guest workers from Peru and New Zealand. They park their truck in Letha, Idaho and for the next five days will be shearing approximately 4500 sheep over the next five days at the Solon ranch. While most of the crew is made up of foreigners, one of the guys, and the only American, is Dave Brennan who comes from Monroe Wisconsin. Shearing that many sheep is a tough job, particularly if the flock is edgy. Dave has the solution.“In my opinion, the first thing you have to do is try and get the animal to relax. Some of them are pretty excited by the time we get hold of them. People don’t think animals have emotions but sheep get mad quick and so when you turn them over and start pulling on their legs, sometimes they will get mad right away. If you can get them into position without handling them too much, and the parts that make them mad, they will relax and you can do a good job shearing.” Crew chief Greg Haiaweea travels the world shearing sheep and his favorite part of the adventure is meeting real people of the world. “It could be here or Australia or wherever, you get to meet the real people. They are the real deal.” Like the Solon family who own these sheep. Once the crew is finished here, they will move on to Europe and then Australia. Then back to New Zealand at season’s end. It’s a lot of time away from home where counting sheep goes on day and night.

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