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Breeders Directory : History of the U.S. Sheep Breeders Directory
History of the U.S. Sheep Breeders Directory
Tom Drudik started raising sheep as a Future Farmer of America member in the late 1950s. He sold his first sheep flock when he started college. After receiving his Master’s Degree, Tom started to raising sheep again. By 1999, many changes had taken place. Sheep breeders were interested in raising good quality sheep, sheep of all breeds. Sheep producers were interested in the genetics of their flocks. Folks turned to computers as an economical way of advertising their sheep for sale. Tom’s son, Doug, realized that raising quality sheep is only a part of being a successful sheep producer. Marketing is key to the sheep industry, without a market for quality sheep, the sheep business would not survive. Since Doug was a computer specialist, he knew the quickest way to inform other sheep enthusiasts about one’s sheep flock is to create a website. Tom agreed so Doug created the website with an online U.S. Sheep Breeders Directory so that sheep producers could list their flock at no charge. Tom never was concerned about losing buyers to other breeders, but rather wanted to promote all kinds of sheep. Tom wanted to offer a variety of sheep information: a list of sheep producers, club lamb owners, sheep shearers, show judges, and more. The U.S. Sheep Breeders Directory has saved sheep producers miles of travel time and expenses. One year after launching the U.S. Sheep Breeders Directory nearly 1,000 producers were listed online. Thirteen years after launching the Directory, almost 4,000 sheep producers have added their free listings.

Some milestones in the growth of the directory:

 2000

 2001

 2002

 2003

 2004

 2005

 2006

 2007

 2008

 2009

 2010

 2011

 2012

 2013

545

 998

1,206

1,600

1,783

 1,907

2,294

 2,556

 2,882

2,928 

3,518 

3,709 

 3,767

3,797 


Over the years, Tom and wife Betty, along with Doug’s expertise put lots of hours into managing the U.S. Sheep Breeders Directory at no charge to sheep producers. In 2012, Tom and Betty decided to start a new chapter in their lives. In March 2012, their flock of sheep and farmstead were sold. Tom and Betty moved two miles away to watch golfers instead of sheep in their retirement.

We would like to thank Beth Koch, Ph.D., of Two Harbors, Minnesota, for volunteering to continue and manage the U.S. Sheep Breeders Directory.