2021 KHSI Youth Scholarship Winners

Gage Callebs

My experience with sheep began almost two years ago after my parents purchased a 65-acre farm
and we moved from a subdivision. I had always dreamed of living on a farm and loved visiting my
Nana’s house, where my Mom grew up, which was on my Great-Grandpa’s Simmental cattle farm.
My parents had no plans to farm, since they both have full-time jobs, but they supported my dream
to have some farm animals. The property had a large hay field and an overgrown pasture, so we
decided to start with goats to clean the pasture. I started researching different breeds of goats and
visited a couple of goat and sheet sales. I decided to start buying Boer and Boer cross. Using my
savings from a part-time job, I slowly built a small herd of15 nannies and one billy goat. In a one year period I went through my first kidding and by the end of the year I lost 8 of the nannies and
4 kids due to sickness. This was frustrating because I worked with other Boer goat owners,
consulted with our local County Extension Agent, did a lot of online research, and kept having
issues so I knew I had to make a change.

My County Extension Agent mentioned that he had a herd of sheep called hair sheep, which I
had never heard of. I talked with him about the katahdin breed and decided I would give them a
try. Things seemed to fall into place after that. I was talking to my barber about my decision because
I remembered that he had sheep and, coincidentally, he was ready to sell his small flock of
katahdin sheep of five ewes and a ram. They were all bred so I very quickly went through a
successful lambing. It was exciting to see what great mothers they were and how resistant they
were to parasites and disease. I fell in love with the breed. After that, I went looking for more
sheep, found a good commercial operation about an hour and a half away from my farm, and
purchased ten more ewes. Many of these were bred as well when purchased. I convinced my dad to
help me fence in another pasture so I could continue to grow my flock. We worked together to
build a small barn and shelter for them that I designed with a working stall and storage shed for hay
and feed. We added a gutter system that fed to the water trough to capture rainwater. My dad has a
construction background, so we were able to do all the work ourselves, saving us a lot of money. I
search online for used equipment and taught myself how to weld so I could repair and make my own
hay feeders and gates for the sheep just to have some stuff to help take care of them better.

I work between semesters at school and use my own money to take care of my animals. I have done
a lot of research with other farmers in my county, and they have been so generous with their time,
teaching me. They say there are not a lot of young boys interested in farming anymore, so they are
happy to work with me. I went through the University of Tennessee’s Master Small Ruminant
program and learned so much more about farming with sheep on a small and large scale. I
happened to catch a listing online for a bottle lamb from Roundhouse farm with registered katahdin
sheep and was lucky enough to contact them first, so I purchased my first registered ram and I am
currently bottle feeding him. The owners at Roundhouse farm have been so helpful and spent lots
oftime talking to me and showing me around their farm. They invited me to come back and help
them work their herd to learn. The experience was great, and their genetics are unbelievable. I
joined KHSI and I’m considering getting registered ewes. I am currently up to 55 ewes and 2 rams,
and do not plan to stop there. I would like to get to 200 head in the next 2-3 years.

This scholarship would help me complete my degree. I am one semester away from completing
my Associates degree in Business Management. I have been working forClayton Homes, a local
manufacturing company, between semesters at school and they have been so impressed with my
hard-working attitude and leadership skills that they’ve talked to me about a management
program they have, which could fast-track me into a management position with them after
graduation. Getting this degree would help me finish my education and help me get a higher
paying job to be able to afford more land and more sheep. My absolute dream is to be a fulltime sheep farmer. Getting a higher paying job to help me financially for the growth of my farm,
is my current plan. Lastly, I would just like to add that I hope I am chosen for this scholarship,
because ifthere was ever a college student that was passionate about the katahdin breed and
building his own flock, that person is me. I hope this finds you all well, thank you for your time.

Gage Callebs – Tazewell, TN

Rhett Hancock

My journey all started when I was around eight years old. Me and my dad went to Steve Landreth’s
house to help him trim feet on his sheep. When we finished there were two sheep in the truck that
Steve put in there. There was a ram and a ewe which I showed that summer at my county fair. The
next year Steve bred the ewe be gave me and I showed her lambs at the county fair, I was the only
person there with any kind of hair sheep, and did not do very well.

The next year though is where my luck changed. I bought a brown ewe off of Steve because she was
the only brown he had, and he convinced my dad to take me out to Sedalia MOfor the Midwest
Stud Ram Sale for the LeRoy Boyd youth Katahdin show. That brown ewe I bought won her class
and I have been going out there ever since. We also went to the Indiana state fair that year and had a
second place ram, but went the next year and won reserve grand champion.

In recent years I have branched out and bought some new genetics, and started raising myown
flock of Katahdins. I have two stud rams right now and around eight brood ewes, all of which are
registered. My main market for lambs is at sales and off the farm for breeding stock. I have only had
registered Katahdin sheep, and I can honestly say that I have loved having them.

I have always had a special place in my heart forsheep ever since Steve gave me the two.
If he had not that my life would be completely different, for example I would have way more
money and free time. I have been going around the Midwest showing sheep for the last 5 years and
met a lot of very good people and made a lot of new friends. That being said I think I deserve the
KHSI scholarship for the reason I am involved in showing the breed all acrossthe Midwest, I have
shown at the Indiana State Fair, LeRoy Boyd youth show, the North American in Louisville, KY,
just to name a few. I think that I have done a great job representing the breed throughout my years
with the Katahdins and deserve the scholarship for my representation.

Rhett Hancock – Noble, IL