April 14, 2024

From the Pastures: Man’s best friend

At the Illinois Lamb and Wool meeting on March 2 a guy told me that he didn’t know about the wool loan deficiency payments program until he read about it in my article last year. He was able to get more than the 40 cents per pound minimum by having his wool graded. He said you could get up to $1 per pound, so go to the U.S. Department of Agriculture office before you sell your wool and sign up for the wool LDP program — at least that is more than the 1 to 2 cents per pound that the shearer can offer to buy your wool!

We had a great turnout, over 100 people, for our first Illinois Grazing Lands Coalition grazing conference, titled “The Hidden Benefits and Profitability of Illinois Grazing Operations.” Dr Allen Williams was our featured speaker and he was great. There were a lot of good questions asked and a lot of networking done after the dinner meal. Stay tuned for next year’s program.

The Land of Lincoln Border Collie Association’s annual Stock Dog Trial will be July 12-14 at picturesque Three Sisters Park, complete with big red barn and all, in Chillicothe, Illinois. Farmers are welcome to come and see what these dogs can do for you around your farm. It’s a chance to experience living history — the ancient art of man’s best friend doing what he does best — right in front of your eyes.

And, as if it couldn’t get any better, renowned Paddy Fanning, of Churchmount Sheepdogs, from across the pond in Ireland, will not only judge the trial, but will be putting on a three-day training clinic for those interested, with Adrian “AJ” Espinoza arriving from Mississippi to also give lessons after the clinic. This is a family-friendly educational opportunity to spend a weekend immersed in the timeless charm of pastoral life. If you’re interested in attending the sheepdog trial or attending the clinic, contact John Wentz at 608-697-3681 or john@bigyellowboots.com. There’s something truly special about witnessing the bond between a shepherd and their loyal border collie and it’s fantastic that this tradition is being celebrated in Illinois.

Elton Mau

Elton Mau

Arrowsmith, Ill.