Acclaimed. Long-standing. Prize-worthy. Yes, you could apply those words to US Whip’s lamb products.
But you could also use those accolades about Northeast Oklahoma A&M’s (NEO) livestock judging program, which just so happens to be among the country’s cream of the crop.
That’s why we’re proud to have students from their agriculture department helping us out. This year, we’re working with three fresh faces: Alli, Grace and Emily. They’re learning and receiving real-world experience with these lambs; from purchasing, raising, feeding and training for competition, to even bottle-feeding lambs when problems arise. All here at the NEO campus in Miami, Oklahoma.
“Their mom has a really bad case of mastitis, which is a disease in the udder, so the milk she was providing for the babies was not very nutritious, and it got a little nasty. So, we made the decision to pull them off of her and start feeding them with a bottle,” said Emily about one of the lambs.
US Whip has strengthened our relationship with NEO for more than 30 years. It’s perfect for both parties: Students practice handling ewes and other livestock we’ve helped procure for their campus. And since these students also happen to be livestock judges, they help us improve our products for lambs, goats and show pigs based on their qualified feedback.
“My favorite part is just coming to the barn and working with the lamb’s leg shag and baby lambs,” said Alli.
The students’ excitement is a major tip of the hat. Each was recruited by NEO for livestock judging. Showing lambs or hogs has been a big part of their childhood, starting as early as first grade. But their time here is shaping their present… and future.
Emily, who hails from California, explains, “This has helped me have a piece of home. It’s absolutely helped my future by having hands-on experience with animals and professionals.”
“I get to be in a routine, working consistently. I’m learning the importance of showing up every day,” says Grace.
These three have big professional plans. Alli is pursuing chiropractic work for animals (and people). Grace wants to become a nutritionist for sheep and goats. Emily plans to be feed rep for a feed dealer and raise her own lambs.
We’d like to think we’re playing a small part in helping them pursue their passions. But we know we’re making a difference on the NEO campus right now. There’s so much that happens behind the scenes when it comes to judging. These students need to learn each detail about every animal, but also how to care for them too, which only builds their future with more experience..
“Our partnership with US Whip has allowed the NEO Agriculture Department to purchase enough small ruminant animals for hands-on classroom education and livestock judging team practice,” says Dr. Mary Booth, Chairperson of the NEO Agriculture Department. “The opportunity for NEO students to network with a local ag industry company is extremely valuable not only for them while at NEO, but years to come.”
This partnership has helped us, too. Working with Mary and her students over the years have been a huge asset to the development and improvement of our products. In a way, they’ve become our own Product Research and Development Team.
So the next time you ask yourself how we make our quality livestock products with such care, it’s because we know they’re going to meet the standards of real livestock judges.