Virginia Shepard’s’ Symposium January 9th

Sheep farming was once a staple of agriculture in Highland County. Everywhere you looked, there were untold numbers of white spots dotting the landscape and the high hills. Sadly, an influx of predators and an aging producer population has whittled the industry, prompting a number of producers, including myself, to reluctantly part with their flocks. There are still a number of dedicated farmers bucking this trend, and for those hearty souls, an upcoming event may be of interest.

Virginia Cooperative Extension and the Virginia Sheep Producers Association will be hosting the Virginia Shepherds’ Symposium on Saturday, January 9, 2016 at the Alphin-Stuart Livestock Arena in Blacksburg, VA. This one-day program is open to all sheep producers from the region and provides an educational opportunity for producers, educators and other professionals in sheep and related agribusiness industries.  The adult program will feature excellent speakers on a variety of topics, and commercial exhibitors will also be present.


This year will also feature a Young Shepherds’ Symposium that will run concurrently with the adult sessions. These youth activities will be hands-on and interactive. All 4H and FFA youth of all experience levels are welcome to attend. Topics will include sessions on Selection/Genetics, Nutrition, and Reproduction.


Pre-registration is strongly encouraged. A brochure with more information, as well as a registration form, can be found along with this story at our website,

Brochure 2016

Story By

Scott Smith

Scott Smith is the General Manager for Allegheny Mountain Radio and Station Coordinator and News Reporter for WVLS. Scott’s family has deep roots in Highland County. While he did not grow up here, he spent as much time as possible on the family farm, and eventually moved to Highland to continue the tradition, which he still pursues with his cousin. Unfortunately, farming doesn’t pay all the bills, so he has previously taken other jobs to support his farming hobby, including pressman/writer for The Recorder, and Ag Projects Coordinator for The Highland Center. He lives in Hightown with wife Michelle and son Ethan. In his spare time, he wishes he had more spare time, especially to ride his prized Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

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