Sarah Moore is a senior at the University of Illinois in Champaign, Ill. working towards her degree in Agriculture Education. Moore aspires to become an agriculture teacher near her hometown in Jerseyville, Ill. so she can be close to the family farm and her Dorset operation. Her sheep project began when she was eight years old.
“I would purchase them in March and April and then send to market at the end of August. When I was 14, I convinced my dad to purchase three Polled Dorset ewes and began Moore Dorsets. Since then my operation has grown from one brood ewe to 10 brood ewes and I no longer purchase market lambs. I raise and purchase Polled Dorsets in order to continue to produce high quality animals. In just a few short years I have been very fortunate to have a lot of success in the Dorset circuit with bred-and-owned sheep. I have raised the Champion Dorset Ram at the Illinois State Fair Junior show five years in a row. I also show Shorthorn cattle, my family has raised them for more than 60 years. The sheep thing has been quite a culture shock to my family but my dad now gets just as excited about them as he does cattle,” says Moore.
Moore’s favorite part about raising livestock is getting to see them. “I enjoy getting to see them change over time and hopefully into a very good one but that doesn’t always happen. Sometimes they surprise you and don’t turn out like you expected them too or vice versa. We had a ewe one year that was very small and we always called her Tiny Tina. I never thought she would turn out but she hit a growth spurt and made the showstring.”
Her proudest moment was winning the National Junior Polled Dorset Show Champion Ewe at the North American International Livestock Exposition (NAILE) this year.
“I was not expecting to win champion. I was just hoping to win my class but being Champion was 10x better. When I purchased my ewe in 2013 she was very green and last year as a lamb she never looked her best but this year we finally got her to optimal condition (thanks to great products like Sure Champ) and it paid off at NAILE. I always had aspirations of being in the Supreme Heifer Drive at NAILE, but being in the Supreme Ewe Drive was just as amazing!” says Moore.
Moore says showing and raising livestock has taught her three big skills that she will take with her the rest of her life: responsibility, hard work and time management.
: Goals :
Short term: I hope my champion ewe produces offspring that will be good enough for the showring as I am entering into my last year as a junior. In May I will graduate from the University of Illinois with a degree in Agricultural Education and hope to secure a job as an Agriculture teacher in the upcoming months. As summer approaches you will find me working hard in the barn so that this last show season is one to remember in both the cattle and sheep show rings.
Long term: I hope to be able to secure a teaching position near my family farm so that I can continue to be a major part of both the farming and livestock operations. Even though I will no longer be showing as a junior I want to continue raising high quality Polled Dorsets and Shorthorn cattle that I can market to junior exhibitors and help them be successful. I also will continue to exhibit both cattle and Dorsets at state and national levels.
: Mentors :
Tucker Beckmier- When I first started showing Dorsets, Tuck gave me showmanship tips and helped me pick out ewes at sales. He has advised me in purchasing several Champions and always fits my sheep to look their best, even if their wool is not the greatest.
Dick Reece- I met Dick my first year showing Dorsets at the Illinois State Fair and he has been a huge help to my operation since. Dick bred my first ewes for me, taught me how to get the bright white when washing, and took me to the All American Sheep Show. Dick and his family have become very good friends of mine, and my family, he’s helped me produce high quality lambs. This is a prime example of why the livestock community is the greatest. Without the guidance and mentorship of Dick and Tuck I would not have achieved all that I have.
I also want to thank my family for all their love, support and guidance. Even though I went off the beaten path of showing cattle and started showing sheep they have supported me every step of the way. Even when the cattle and sheep are showing at the same time, like at our state fair and NAILE. My dad has taught me everything I know about cattle and I am truly grateful to be raised in the show ring with Shorthorn cattle, all while doing it as a family.
We wish Sarah the best of luck during her last push through school and entering into her career. Her leadership skills and Live it. Love it. Lead it. attitude will be a great asset to any agriculture education program!