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ALAMEDA COUNTY

UC sheep shearing school eases sheep shearer shortage

Aspiring sheep shearers flocked to the UC Hopland Research and Extension Center in May for a week of training on the proper techniques for harvesting wool from sheep, reported Tiffany Camhi on KQED Radio News.

“We try to get the students shearing the first day because they make a lot of mistakes,” said UC Cooperative Extension advisor John Harper, who heads up the annual training session.

The school teaches the New Zealand style of shearing, which causes the least amount of stress for the sheep and the shearer. It involves some fancy footwork, which Harper likens to a dance.

“We're dancing instructors,” Harper said. “It's like 'Dancing With The Stars' on steroids, but with sheep.”

Expert sheep shearers can expect to find work that pays well. 

UCCE advisor Dan Macon said the growing popularity of backyard flocks in California is adding to the demand for shearers.

“Infrastructure of the sheep industry is a key component,” Macon said. “Having people with that kind of skill and willingness to work hard is desperately needed.”

Read more about the UCCE Sheep Shearing school here: UC sheep shearing school prepares students for gainful employment

Shearers can earn $50 to $100 per hour, UCCE's John Harper said, and can start a business with a $3,000 investment in equipment. (Photo: Evett Kilmartin)
Posted on Thursday, May 24, 2018 at 1:46 PM
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture

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