Summary: The wool harvesting schools in South Dakota, Montana and North Dakota

are designed to provide a solution to the shortage of properly trained wool harvesting

professionals in these areas and nation-wide. There is a worldwide shortage of

professionals to work in the wool harvesting occupations including sheep shearers, wool

classers and wool pressers. In this tri-state area the shortage of sheep shearers is

critical and is one of the difficulties for producers who wish to participate in the

production of sheep as a profit center in their operation. A major barrier for the

beginning shearing professional is the initial cost of purchasing shearing equipment

(hand piece, combs, cutters, motor, and shaft). This proposal will provide funding for

two worthy beginning shearers interested in pursuing a career or part-time career as a

wool harvesting professional to receive shearing equipment from each of the shearing

schools in SD, MT, and ND. The objective is to provide shearing equipment to

beginning wool harvesting professionals allowing these individuals to get a jump start in

the industry, gain more experience and be better prepared shearers. Wool education

has been identified as a major need within the sheep industry. This applies to both the

producer and the wool harvesting professional. An additional benefit of wool harvesting

schools is the education and outreach provided by shearing school instructors,

extension specialists and seasoned shearing professionals. Students receive training on

proper shearing technique and methodology, wool quality improvement and proper

packaging resulting in providing the producers with a better higher value wool clip and

the sheep and wool industry with a better prepared product for domestic and

international marketing. Funding will allow these wool harvesting schools to attract more

highly motivated and dedicated interested students in pursuing a wool harvesting

careers that will meet the needs of US sheep and wool producers.