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.”