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NDSU seeks sheep specialist

The North Dakota State University Extension Service is looking for a sheep specialist — at a time the long-declining U.S. sheep industry is enjoying a much-needed resurgence.

“The numbers (of sheep) are increasing. Only slightly, it’s true, but they’re stable again,” says Brad Gilbertson, a Sherwood, N.D., sheep producer. He’s the vice president of, and a spokesman for, the North Dakota Lamb and Wool Producers Association.

He and others in the sheep industry are optimistic that more small flocks will be started, both in North Dakota and nationwide, further pushing up sheep numbers.

That increases attention on replacing Reid Redden, who had been the NDSU sheep specialist. He left the position earlier this year to join Texas A&M as extension sheep and goat specialist. Redden is originally from Texas, the nation’s top sheep producer, and still has family there.

NDSU will begin screening applicants for his position on Dec. 1 and hopes to start interviewing candidates in early 2016, say Kendall Johnson, an NDSU professor who chairs the search committee, and Greg Lardy, the head of the NDSU Animal Sciences department.

“Hopefully, we’ll have some good candidates,” Lardy says.

The public will have a chance to meet and interact with candidates, he says.

Details will be announced when more is known.

The year-round, tenure-track position is 75 percent extension and 25 percent research, with the extension component split between NDSU and the University of Minnesota. The two