The United States Sheep Experiment Station (USSES) near Dubois, has been an established research center for over 102 years. It is a cooperative program between the U.S. Government (United States Department of Agriculture) and the University of Idaho. The station employs some twenty people. Part of them work for the federal government and the others for the state of Idaho. A good portion of the employees live at the station.
It is open now on a year-to-year basis as funds are available according to Congress. The station is an important part of Clark County and the nation. Research done at the USSES is not only on sheep; programs there also focus on range management and the ecology of lands. Interns from colleges and universities spend time working on doing research temporarily at the station. Reports on the research become valuable information for sheep producers around our country and even in other countries.
This year marked the 80th annual sheep sale. In his letter to ram buyers, Dr. J. Bret Taylor, the Director, Research Leader and Supervisory Scientist at the station, wrote that this 80th year anniversary is “when geneticists at the Sheep Station declared that they achieved the Targhee breed characteristics originally envisioned in 1926.” He also mentioned that it was the 40-year anniversary of offering the first Polypay breeding stock at the annual auction.
Only rams were sold in this year’s auction. Sixty-eight rams of a variety of breeds were sold. The highest price bid and paid was for a Targhee one-year old ram. It was sold for $925. Cord and Kristen Bieber of the Skull Creek Targhee Ranch in Brockaway, Montana bought that ram.
A drawing from names of the registered bidders at the sheep sale was held. The prize was a Siddoway Sheep Company wool blanket. Adam Redland from Wyoming won the drawing. All who attended the sheep sale had an opportunity to eat lamb burgers cooked by students in the Clark County Future Farmer’s of America club.