Utah sheep producer Lanny Frampton has definite opinions about data versus word of mouth when he makes production decisions.
He and his wife, Caroline, had driven 420 miles from their Tooele ranch to attend the 56th annual Wyoming ram test field day Saturday near Laramie.
Producers drop off test rams in October, and University of Wyoming Laramie Research and Extension Center personnel care for and feed the animals for 140 days, measuring wool diameters and rate of gain, among other factors. The data is compiled and producers invited back to get their results in late March or April. The top 30 percent of performers are eligible to become certified sires.
“Data doesn’t lie,” said Frampton, who has raised sheep for 28 years, and noted his wife’s life-long experience raising sheep, adding she was raised in a sheep camp half the time as a child. Her father was a sheep rancher.
Frampton said he relies on information, not people.
“You can go to a person’s place, and they’ll tell you they have the greatest sheep in the world,” he said. “That’s 90 percent BS. This is data. That’s what I like. I want to know what I got. I want to know what the wool measurement is, the rate of gain. I don’t want to raise anything I don’t want to sell. I want a good product.”
Producer names are listed with their ram test results, so everyone knows how one another’s animals performed.
A sheep specialist has joined the University of Wyoming and will provide information and programming through UW Extension.
Whit Stewart began Monday in the Department of Animal Science, said Mike Day, head of the department.
Stewart previously worked as the Montana State University Extension sheep specialist.
“We’re excited to welcome Whit to our team” said Day.
Stewart will conduct research and teach senior-level sheep production and management courses in addition to his extension responsibilities.
Stewart graduated from Oregon State University in Corvallis, Ore., with a master’s degree in animal science after receiving a bachelor’s degree in agricultural education from Brigham Young University-Idaho in Rexburg, Idaho.
He then worked 2010-2011 as a UW Extension educator in Campbell County before leaving to earn his Ph.D. in a joint program with Texas A&M AgriLife Research and New Mexico State University.
Hiring a sheep specialist was important because the state’s sheep industry is among the top four in the nation in almost every category.
“We have a progressive and involved sheep industry, and the industry contributes to our overall agricultural output,” said Day to the Wyoming Livestock Roundup earlier this year. “Sheep production is key to Wyoming’s agriculture industry.”