Anderson Receives Rare Breed Sheep Through Youth Conservation Program
On Sunday May 8, 2011, Katie Anderson along with her family, traveled to Howard County, Md., to receive a rare breed sheep. The rare breed sheep were awarded to youth participants during a special ceremony at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.
Last year Katie’s brother Keith was awarded two Hog Island Rare Breed Sheep through the Youth Conservation Program. While at the Farm Show helping her brother, Katie saw Karakul sheep and at that point decided to write and submit an essay expressing her interest them.
A Karakul sheep is a type of fat-tailed sheep, very common to the African and Asian continents, but considered a rare breed in the U.S. and Canada. They were legendary trade items on the ancient Silk Road of China and were used extensively in America (for the first part of the 1900s) as a fabric for coats, jackets and hats. For these reasons, the Karakul is often known as the “fur sheep.” The U.S. Karakul population has drastically declined, however, and the current estimate is less than 2,000. In light of this, the main interest of Karakul breeders has been to simply sustain the breed’s presence in America.
To participate in the Youth Conservation Program any youth ages 9 through 18 interested in rare breed sheep had to write an essay. The essay needed to include the youth’s experience with sheep, the breed that was of interest to them and answer the question “Why do you want to preserve a heritage rare breed sheep.” The essay also had to include a letter of recommendation. Katie’s FFA advisor Matthew Quigg prepared a recommendation letter to submit with essay.
The Youth Conservationist Program awarded sheep to 15 participants a total of 35 applicants and essays were submitted. The different breeds of sheep came from as far away as Michigan, Ohio and Massachusetts, Virginia, Maryland and, of course, Pennsylvania. The recipients four from Maryland, five from Pennsylvania, included one each from New York, Virginia, New Hampshire, Michigan and two from North Carolina. Katie received her Karakul sheep from Elizabeth Tonkin of Newville, Pa. Elizabeth was a 2010 past recipient and decided to donate back to the program.
Katie is the daughter of Wayne and Carrie Anderson of Three Springs and great-grandaughter of the late Charles and Catherine Palmer of Warfordsburg. She is a student at Southern Huntingdon County School and is very active in her 4- H Club, Southern Pride; and also the Southern Huntingdon County FFA chapter. Katie will show her Karakul rare breed sheep this week with the FFA Chapter for Ag in the Classroom and then at the Huntingdon County Fair in August.