Write an Essay, Win a Sheep Contest

— Written By Jamie Warner
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Sponsored by the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival

The Youth Conservationist Program (YCP) is an adult/Youth mentoring program that enables young aspiring shepherds to experience the joys and responsibilities of raising and conserving heritage breeds of sheep that may not be common in their area of the US. Breeders who are willing to mentor youth donate a yearling ewe and help the recipient establish their own flock. Recipients are expected to fulfill the requirements of the YCP by promoting and showing their ewe, breeding the ewe to a registered ram and by understanding the value of the fleece. Breeders/Donors select their recipient from the submitted essays. Donors and Recipients will meet at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival on Sunday May 6 th immediately following the final classes of the Show and prior to the Parade of Breeds. In 2017, 13 Youth were selected and received ewes. All the requirements for the YCP are listed below.


Youth interested in applying for the 2018 Youth Conservationist Program

1 – Must be between 9 and 18 years old.

2 – Submit an application postmarked by April 1, 2018 that includes:

  • An essay which introduces you, your experience with animals, if for any

reason, the animal is not being 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 answers the question: “Why I

would like to help preserve a heritage breed of sheep.”

  • Each applicant must include a letter of recommendation from their 4-H Advisor, FFA Advisor, veterinarian, teacher or clergy.

The total application/essay should be no more than 2 pages in length.

The applicant should indicate if they wish to be considered for a particular breed or for any of the breeds available (Blueface Leicester, Border Leicester, Finn, Gotland, Hog Island, Icelandic, Jacob, Karakul, Leicester Longwool, Lincoln, Navajo Churro, Scottish Blackface, Shetland).

The application must include address, phone and if available, email address.

Submit letter of application and your essay to:

Elaine Ashcraft

46118 CR 58

Coshocton, OH 43812




If Selected:

  • Must be present to receive the ewe at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival on

Sunday May 6, 2018.

  • Must exhibit the ewe at least twice in 2018 at: a county fair or local

sheep show AND the State Fair in the state where the recipient lives.

  • Must breed the ewe to a registered ram (of her breed) in the fall of 2018,

should consult the donor breeder for their recommendations.

  • Must either use the ewe’s fleece to personally make a wool item or sell the

fleece to a spinner, felter or weaver.

  • Must submit an article the following Feb/Mar to their local newspaper

covering their year and including information concerning the next year’s YCP


  • Must submit a one to two page report, with pictures, to the Donor Breeder by

April 30,2019 and provide a scrapbook to be used at the Maryland Festival

which is then given back to the youth.

Any questions, please contact Elaine Ashcraft at the above information.

Donors will choose the recipients from the essays submitted by the youth.