Samantha Ludlam selected as executive director of the Michigan Sheep Producers Association

Samantha Ludlam is the new executive director of the Michigan Sheep Producers Association, replacing Maury Kaercher, who recently retired from the position after 10 years of service.

Ludlam officially assumed responsibilities Jan. 15 after successfully assisting with the 2021 virtual Michigan Shepherd Weekend event.

Ludlam has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture Food and Natural Resources Education from Michigan State University and is scheduled to complete her Master of Science Degree this spring. She also serves as the agriscience teacher and FFA advisor at Dundee Community Schools and will balance that role with the MSPA executive director position’s part-time duties.

“I hope to continue to strengthen the organization and its objectives, as well as focus on recruiting and retaining membership,” Ludlam said in a statement. “We have a long way to go since COVID-19 has set back some original plans and ideas; however, I do believe it has also opened the door to a lot of new opportunities for member engagement. “

Growing up in a family engaged in the organization, Ludlam brings vast and valuable experience. She’s volunteered with the MSPA youth, managed the organization’s social media accounts, assisted with the website for the past year, and contributed to key communication committee decisions and activities.

The Ludlam family began raising Shetland sheep more than 20 years ago. Ludlam began showing at a young age, and eventually built her own flock of club lambs. In 2011, her family began transitioning to a commercial flock of 150 ewes, providing sheep used in medical research and the treatment of Huntington’s disease.

“I have been attending MSPA functions since I was about 4 years old and just entering the sheep industry with my family,” she said. “I am fortunate to have been a member for such a long time and have grown up in the organization that fostered so many relationships that I continue to have today.”

Ludlam is ready to meet the challenges of organization recruitment and retention, which will be vital to MSPA’s future success.

“As an industry, we have remained rather resilient to the challenges that COVID-19 delivered initially; however, I know that many remain concerned about getting their products to their respective markets and securing the best prices possible,” she said.

Newly elected MSPA President Brenda Reau is eager to work with the new director in bringing recovery, sustainability, and new energy to the organization.

“Samantha’s outstanding communication skills will be an asset to the organization,” Reau said. “She is an excellent speaker, writer, and is skilled in social media. Her organizational development expertise will benefit MSPA in its mission to promote and support the Michigan sheep industry.”

University of Michigan ECLS Lab Posting

“Here is the job posting in the ECLS lab as a Research Lab Specialist, the position has a 2-year commitment, with 50% night/weekend flexible work schedule.  The posting does mention that there may be engineering involved however, recently our lab has realized that we may need this position to work on device fabrication and testing about 50% of the 40hr/week.  The pay for this position can vary but the median is ~$40-44,000 annually, it is a salary job with full UM benefits.”

Here is the link, which will be open until 1/19/2021:

MSPA Youth Scholarship Fund

One of the Shepherds Weekend features that everyone will miss this year is the annual auction that
supports our scholarship program and youth activities. It is always a great time with Auctioneer Doyle

Your contributions are just as important this year. We hope you will consider a cash donation of what
you might have spent donating or buying an auction item.
We started this program about 25 years ago and it has been going strong ever since then. Many
outstanding folks have come through our youth program and are now contributing members of our

John Heller was our first scholarship winner. He received $500 back then to help support his college
education. Today, John and his wife Courtney still raise sheep and they operate a meat market, True
North Jerky and Foods in Chelsea. They also have three children who now attend our Shepherds
Weekend youth activities.

The sheep industry produces some fine young people, and we need your financial support to continue
our program. This year we will be awarding three scholarships based on the funds we raised in the last
auction. Please consider making a donation so we can continue this program, and a year from now will
be able to recognize outstanding youth.

Donate to the MSPA Youth Scholarship Fund today at 

MSUE Sheep and Goat Birth Management Workshop Returns

Are you interested in learning how to improve birth management of your herd or flock?
The MSU Small Ruminant Extension team is offering a 4-part webinar series on birth
management that will lead you through a host of topics aimed to improve birth
management of sheep and goats. Each weekly session will last approximately 90 min and
sessions will be recorded to allow future viewing.

Each session will feature seminars, specialized instructional videos and question and
answer sessions with an expert panel to cover each of these topics (live sessions are 7-
8:30 pm each Tuesday evening):
✓ Jan 12: “Nutritional management to optimize birth outcomes in sheep and goats.”
✓ Jan 19: “Optimizing maternal and newborn health: parasite control, vaccination
schedules, treating complications at birth, providing a healthy environment.”
✓ Jan 26: “The normal birth process, birth assistance and newborn care.”
✓ Feb 2: “Identifying challenges on your farm and creating an improvement plan
addressing health management, nutrition and facility improvements.”

Instructors: Richard Ehrhardt Ph.D., Senior Extension Specialist; Mike Metzger M.S.,
extension educator; and Erin Recktenwald Ph.D., extension and research associate.

Participants will learn preventative approaches, assessment skills, and treatment
procedures. Both novice and veteran producers alike will find this program valuable.
Because of the amount and depth of information presented, students have found
attending this program more than once to be valuable.

Registration: $40/farm or family and includes a 40+ page manual, a laminated lamb
hypothermia/starvation treatment poster and access to all recorded sessions (additional
members of the same farm/ family may receive additional manuals and posters for $20
per set). Contact Carla McLachlan for more details (phone: 517-432-5402; email:

Online registration only for this event and it may be completed at: Choose the MSU Extension tab. Those that
register before Jan 1, 2021 will receive the manual and poster before the sessions begin.
Those that register later will receive these items also but likely not before the beginning
of the first session.

Birth Management Clinic flyer 2021

#GivingTuesday: MSPA Youth Fund

This year, the MSPA Annual Youth Auction will not be taking place during the Virtual Shepherds Weekend in January. Instead, we are asking for direct donations to be made to support the MSPA youth fund. This fund helps to support scholarships, awards, and educational events across the state of Michigan for youth engaged in the sheep industry.
Contact MSPA Treasurer, Pat Schloss at to make your donation today!