Hometown Farmer - Hawkins Sheep Valley Ranch
Did you know most of the lamb eaten in the United States is imported?
This week in "Proud to be a Hometown Farmer," we're talking to a farming family trying to change that, one lamb at a time.
"It's kind of funny because at night you'll hear'em bray after you hear a bunch of coyotes," said Kaylene Hawkins, pointing to two 'guard donkeys' stationed at her family's farm, Hawkins Sheep Valley Ranch, near Akron, IA. "Then it gets silent."
Those donkeys work day and night to keep the Hawkins family flock of about 65 ewes safe.
"Leg of lamb, these are popular sometimes around Easter and Christmas," said Travis Hawkins, going through different cuts of meat he currently has for sale at the farm.
Travis has worked with sheep since the early '90s, it was a 4-H project.
"Some of our genetics are still from those original ewes," said Travis.
He's President of the Northwest Iowa Sheep Producers, now.
The experience comes in handy this time of the year, because it's the middle of lambing season at the ranch.
Indoor pens are where the newly born lambs spend their first few hours.
That's also where you can occasionally find Ted the cat, soaking up the heat on a cold day.
After those first hours, the sheep move to a hoop barn.
Two-and-a-half year old Richard Hawkins has a little lamb that he loves to show off, there.
He says the name's bah-bah, because the little lamb is bottle-fed.
Kaylene grew up around cows in Nebraska, but says sheep are a lot of fun.
"You can do a lot more with just a small amount of space," said Kaylene.
If you've never worked with'em, she says they're smart but stubborn.
"I was a military officer, so, you use a lot of those things in farming, but sometimes the troops don't cooperate," said Kaylene. "It's the same way with the sheep, sometimes they don't cooperate."
The meat the Hawkins raise is sold at the One Stop Meat Shop in Sioux City, but the couple direct-sells a lot of their lamb meat, too.
If you want to buy some you can get a hold of'em by visiting their Facebook page at: facebook.com/Hawkins-Sheep-Valley-Ranch
You can also call the Hawkins farm at: (712) 568 - 2662.
If you think of a farmer that might be great on "Proud to be a Hometown Farmer," please email Jake at: firstname.lastname@example.org.