The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will be holding their annual Sheep Shearing School Jan. 4-7 at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at San Angelo, 7887 U.S. Highway 87 North, San Angelo.
Applications are due by Dec. 1. The cost is $150 for Texas residents and $250 for non-residents. Applicants will need to classify themselves as beginners with limited experience or advanced shearers capable of shearing 50 or more sheep a day when applying, as well as providing a short paragraph about why they are interested in attending.
“The school is addressing a critical shortage of skilled sheep shearers in Texas and across the nation,” said Reid Redden, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension sheep and goat specialist and Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center interim director, San Angelo. “Shearing is hard work and learning to shear is no exception. To become proficient at this trade, it requires commitment and dedication. Just as important, it requires skilled instructors who can teach the proper techniques and tools of the trade.”
The industry is changing, and there are more and more small- to medium-sized landowners looking to raise sheep. The lack of shearers has led many people new to the sheep industry to choose to raise hair/shedding sheep because they can’t find a sheep shearer in their area, he said.
“If they want to raise wool sheep, there needs to be a skilled sheep shearer in their area to harvest the wool and ensure proper animal welfare,” Redden said.
He said the school is designed to train professional sheep shearers, and the students will be taught to shear without restraints, a technique that is physically demanding to learn and use.
(Students are instructed in untethered approach to shearing. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo by Susan Himes)
“It generally requires years of practice to become proficient; sheep shearing is not a practice that is easily learned and employed on personal flocks,” Redden said. “We do not recommend this school for individuals who just want to learn to shear their own flocks but rather people who want to learn to shear several hundred or thousands of sheep annually.”
Proper COVID-19 protocols will be followed. These include social distancing, face masks and any local guidelines at the time of the school.
Redden said anyone with questions may contact Jordan Moody for more details.