(Jamie) Welcome back to Farm factor. Let’s go see Duane on the Grand Drive and meet the sheep judge.
(Duane) Duane Toews joining you once again with AGam in Kansas while at the Kansas State Fair for 2015 in Hutchinson, as part of the Grand Drive, an opportunity to interview the judges who evaluated the livestock. Marvin Ensor, from San Angelo, Texas, evaluating the sheep this year. And Marvin, a couple of long days but good days with livestock. (Marvin) Oh, we had a lot of fun out here at the fair with the kids. They work a long time to get to this point and to feed these animals and work with them at home for a long period of time, to get to show day and so this was a big week for them. And it was a fun time for me. The quality was really good and the kids do a great job of showing and it’s fun to evaluate the lambs. (Duane) As far as the sheep industry a couple of different segments if you will, particularly on the market side, the lambs yesterday, an awful lot of muscle that those lambs have and that’s a big part of the industry as of late here in the U.S. (Marvin) Yes, I think in the show industry there’s a little bit of difference sometimes in what’s in the commercial world and what’s in the show ring, but I think in today’s time we’re probably closer to the commercial industry in some respects. We are more moderate in our frame. We’re wider based. We’re the kind of sheep that do good out in the real world as well as in the pen. And muscle is our product and so we need to always continue to have enough muscle in ’em. We need it to balance. We don’t need to overdo anything but I think the sheep here are examples of what we’re trying to do in a lot of other places in the industry is grow sheep that are productive but have muscle that have good carcass merit to ’em but still have a show look if you will in the end. (Duane) And then on Sunday you had the opportunity to evaluate the breeding ewes, both commercial and registered which made things in the end a bit of a pick and choose when it got down to the final drive. (Marvin) Yea, it’s always interesting to do the breeding sheep because within the industry itself and I have no problem with this, some people think we should all be on the same page, but there’s room for a lot of diversity in the sheep and goat industry. And we know that in the sheep industry there’s the frame sheep people that like to have ’em bigger in their kind, that maybe need to be managed different in the barn. And then there’s those that want to emphasize the muscle and the productivity as far as being one that’s easy to keep. And when you go within the different breeds there’s some differences there. So, today was my day, I guess you would say, to give my opinion but these young people go to other places and other judges will line ’em up with a little more emphasis in different areas. (Duane) My perspective in the last 15 years we’ve probably seen more improvement in terms of quality of livestock than in maybe any other time in history. (Marvin) I agree. I think that for a long time at least in the show ring part, we’ve swung the pendulum too far in different directions. And I think we’ve come to a point now where we have sheep and swine and cattle, goats, all of these species are really kind of fit a lot of things we need in the real world as well. Now they may, some say they may be getting a little too big in their weight, but that’s because some of ’em age wise, just need to be allowed to have a little more weight to ’em. But as far as kind and the way they’re put together, I think we are closer to being where we need to be and that makes it fun. (Duane) As far as the consumers’ perspective, unfortunately lamb is a pretty small section in the meat case. But it seems to be more prevalent maybe than it was 10 years ago. (Marvin) Yes, something that we’ve always worried about, the fact that the lamb is a little bit more expensive than some of the other meats at the case. But what we’re finding is there’s more demand for it. It seems to be continuing to grow in the United States; our market continues to grow and that’s really great in the sheep and goat industry. And there seems to be more people local trying lamb more often. And I think appreciating lamb for what it brings to the table as well. It’s really something that some are willing to pay a little bit more for to have. (Duane) Alright, thanks to Marvin Ensor with San Angelo, Texas, evaluating the sheep during the Grand Drive with the youth 4-H and FFA members here at the Kansas State Fair in 2015. For AGam in Kansas I’m Duane Toews.
(Jamie) Thanks for joining us today at the Kansas State Fair. I’m Jamie Bloom your host and I hope you enjoyed our livestock judging stories from the Grand Drive. I hope to see you next week on Farm Factor – we’re here every Tuesday on AGam in Kansas.