The future of agriculture and especially of our heritage breeds of livestock rests with our youth. This program is a way of enabling youth to experience the joys and responsibilities of conserving heritage wool sheep breeds. It is a way of introducing the breeds to individuals who otherwise might never know about them or get involved with them.

The Youth Conservation Program was established in 1998 when Richard and Donna Larson gave one aspiring young shepherd a Registered Karakul ewe. The program has grown over the years. In 2012, seventeen heritage breed sheep will be awarded to a new group of aspiring young shepherds.

2013 Awards

The following sheep will be awarded at the
2013 Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival on May 4, 2013:

Blueface Leicester
Border Leicester
Hog Island
Leicester Longwool
Navajo Churro
Scottish Blackface
Shetland (3)

We hope to add more breeds to this list. Check back often.

To apply, see Application, Rules & Regulations.

Application, Rules & Requirements

To Apply for a 2013 Sheep
Check the website for a current list of breeds available.
  • Youth applicants need to be between 9 and 18 years old.
  • Submit an application postmarked by April 1, 2013 that includes:
  • An essay which introduces you, and your experience with animals;
  •  If for any reason, the animal will not be kept at your own home, explain in detail where it will reside and what exactly your responsibilities will be;
  • Your essay should explain your interest in sheep
  •  and answer the question: "Why I would like to help preserve a heritage breed of sheep."
  • The total essay should be no more than 2 pages in length.
  • The application must include address, phone and if available, email address.

  •  The applicant should indicate if you wish to be considered for a particular breed(s) or all of the breeds available.
  • Each applicant must include a letter of recommendation from their 4-H adviser, FFA adviser, veterinarian, teacher or clergy.
  • Applications from interested youth must be postmarked by April 1, 2013.

Applicants selected to receive a ewe will be notified of their selection by April 22, 2013. 
  •  If selected, you must be present to receive the ewe at the Maryland Sheep &Wool Festival (MS&WF) on Sunday May 5, 2013.
Ewes will be presented at the MS&WF (Howard County Fair Grounds, MD) on Sunday May 5, 2013 to applicants (accompanied by a parent).
  • You must agree to exhibit the ewe at least twice in 2013 at: a county fair or local sheep show and the state fair in the state where the recipient lives.
  • You must agree to breed the ewe to a registered ram in the fall of 2013.
  • You must agree to either use the ewe’s fleece to personally make a woolen item or sell the fleece to a spinner, felter or weaver.
  • You must submit a one to two-page report, with pictures, to the donor breeder by April 30, 2014 and to supply a copy (to Elaine Ashcraft) to be used at the YCP Display at the 2014 MS&WF.

Interested young people should submit their application & essay to:
Elaine Ashcraft
46118 CR 58
Coshocton, Ohio 43812

For more information contact:
Elaine Ashcraft