Marsha Spykerman, a farm woman from Sibley in the northwest corner of Iowa, has been elected to serve as the Region IV representative on the American Sheep Industry Association Executive Board. This region is comprised of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Oklahoma.
Spykerman and husband, Vernon, began raising sheep when they moved back to the family farm in 1980 and today have a commercial Midwest operation, running about 450 ewes in an intensive lambing setting. This farming couple has ewes inside in sheds for lambing during cold weather. For the ewes that are having lambs later in spring, the ewes with their new lambs are kept inside for a shorter period of time. When the lambs are about one-week old these ewes and their lambs are moved out onto farm ground that has been converted to pasture.
The Spykerman's lamb approximately 100 ewes in late February and early March to produce replacement ewes for their flock. The remaining ewes lamb later on in the spring, producing commercial lambs that are finished on the farm and marketed by the couple. In addition, the Spykermans also raise corn, hay and have put some acreage into grass, which is in a rotational grazing system. The majority of the hay and corn are fed to the ewes and lambs on the farm.
Active in helping serve various sheep industry organizations
Spykerman has served as treasurer of the Iowa Sheep Industry Association and most recently, retired last year from serving six years as the association's executive director where she was instrumental in helping the association rejoin ASI. She has also served on the ASI Lamb Council, was active in the Iowa Farm Bureau and has served on both the Iowa and American Sheep and Goat Advisory Committees.
"I am looking forward to serving on the ASI executive board and in this capacity," says Spykerman. "We all need to work within and support our sheep associations. It is important to have producers provide ground-level input to the ASI staff, helping them to be aware of issues sometimes before they become larger problems."
Also elected to a second term on the executive board are Tom Colyer, Hubbardston, Mass., Region I; Will Getz, Ph.D., Fort Valley, Ga., Region II; Bob Benson, Noblesville, Ind., Region III; Gary McGehee, Mertzon, Texas, Region V; and Art Swannack, Lamont, Wash., Region VIII. ASI is a national trade organization supported by 45 state sheep associations, benefiting the interests of 82,000 sheep producers.