Project Title: University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) California
Shearing and Wool School Equipment
Primary Project Contact: John M. Harper, UCCE Livestock & Natural Resources Advisor
Mendocino and Lake Counties and UC ANR Strategic Initiative
Leader for Sustainable Natural Ecosystems
Entity: University of California Cooperative Extension – Agriculture &
Natural Resources (ANR) – UC Regents
Summary Goals & Relevance:
This project addresses three of NSIIC primary objectives of the Sheep and Goat Industry Grant
1. Strengthen and improve long‐term sustainability of the wool industry’s infrastructure.
2. Provide education to producers within the sheep industry
3. Enhance sheep production through assistance to all segments of the industry to address
sustainable production and marketing of sheep and goat fiber and related services.
According to USDA NASS Sheep and Goat Report, January 27, 2012, California is the second
largest sheep producing state in the US. Small producers, those owning less than 100 sheep,
comprise the majority of sheep operations. Nationwide there has been and continues to be a
dearth of sheep shearers for both small and large flocks. To mitigate this problem, several
states began shearing schools decades ago through the National Sheep Shearing Schools
program that originated out of Umpqua College in Roseburg, Oregon. Through retirement and
attrition there have been fewer and fewer schools and yet the demand for shearers and
training is still there and growing, especially in California.
The primary project contact has coordinated and taught the longest and now only shearing
school in California since 1994. The 5 shearing machines used in this school were always
“borrowed” from Oregon. Last year’s school was the last year we could limp along with these
old machines. Last year we also added to the shearing school ASI’s wool handling and grading
school taught by Ron Cole and Rodney Kott to help educate producers and shearers on proper
wool handling. Given the interest we’ll continue to offer both schools.
The chief goal of this project proposal is to replace the shearing machines with new
equipment and to renovate the shearing facilities at UC HREC where the University has the
necessary numbers of sheep to teach shearing, wool handling and grading. Doing so should
allow the school(s) to continue for another 20 years. The renovations will also provide California
producers an opportunity to see how better shearing stations are designed and result in an
enhanced clip through improved handling and grading.