American Dorper Sheep Breeders' Society
ADSBS Welcomes New Board Members
We are pleased to announce that Brian Faris and Doug Gillespie of Texas have been elected to the BOD for a 3-year term. Justin Ransom from Arkansas has also been reelected for a 3-year term. Congratulations to each of these candidates. The BOD will elect new officers during it's regularly scheduled meeting on December 12 at 7:00 pm.
Brian Faris - Texas
Howdy, everyone, I am Brian Faris and my family and I live in Blanco, Texas just outside of San Antonio, Austin and Fredericksburg. I appreciate the nomination for the ADSBS Board of Directors and am excited to serve if elected by the membership. I grew up in Sonora, Texas and started raising sheep when I was 6 years old. I was fortunate to grow up in an "Ag Extension Family" where my father was a County Agricultural Extension Agent. While I spent countless hours looking at sheep and goats with my father while growing up, I was also fortunate to have numerous mentors that also worked in Extension. Why do I feel that is so important? Because these individuals were and, in many cases, still are some of the best teachers/educators when it comes to livestock evaluation and production agriculture. I was heavily involved in 4-H activities (leadership, judging and showing). Because I value educating livestock producers and the impact these individuals had on me, I decided I wanted to be a Sheep & Goat Extension Specialist after I completed my undergraduate at Texas A&M University. Before I could start on that journey, I married my wife Reyna and worked for a construction company building houses while she completed Dental Hygiene school. After that, I completed my Masters in Animal Science at Angelo State University, and then I received a PhD in Animal Science with a focus in Animal Reproduction from New Mexico State University.
My first job was as the State Extension 4-H Youth Livestock Specialist for North Carolina State University. We were there for three and a half years before we moved to Manhattan, KS where I served for 8 years as the State Extension Sheep & Meat Goat Specialist for Kansas State University. Along the way, Reyna and I had 3 children (Raylee, Craddock and Preslee). We moved back to Texas in 2015 and I worked for an animal reproductive services company and also spent a year as an Ag Science teacher at Blanco High School. In 2019, I accepted a position with the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo as the Competitive Events Director. All along the way, we have actively raised sheep and/or goats. After returning to Texas, our family started Triple F Show Stock. My kids love showing Dorper breeding sheep and various breeds of market lambs as well as being actively involved in Blanco FFA. We chose the name because the kids were raising and showing their own sheep and goats. We hope that many animals we raise will perform well for us and others in the show ring, but it is more important to us that the animals raised by our family perform well in the pasture and do their job in a production setting.
We love being involved in the Dorper industry as a family. I am a certified Dorper judge and have served on the American Boer Goat Association Board of Directors and was their president my final year on the board. My vision for the ADSBS is that we focus on raising high quality, production-oriented registered sheep. These sheep need to stay true to their breed purpose. I also am excited about educational opportunities for members and working with the youth of the ADSBS. I look forward to visiting with each of you more about your ideas and vision for the ADSBS. As a team, we can accomplish great things. Feel free to reach out at email@example.com or 210-760-0106.
Doug Gillespie - Texas
Greetings ADSBS members! My name is Doug Gillespie, and my family and I reside on a ranch outside of Hamilton, Texas. I am seeking your vote to be elected to the ADSBS Board of Directors. Professionally, I recently retired from the position of Executive Director of the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation, after 26 years of employment. I formerly served five years as Massachusetts Agriculture Commissioner under two Governors, and began my career after college for seven years working for the SHEEP BREEDER & SHEEPMAN magazine in Missouri where I managed registered sheep sales such as the Midwest Stud Ram Sale, as well as publishing the oldest continuous livestock publication in the country.
In 2008, I was chosen by the ADSBS Board as the part-time Executive Secretary of the organization, and I served in that capacity until 2020, when I had a stroke and was forced to resign. After extensive physical therapy, I am eager to get back to the breeds that I have come to love, and the folks who raise them. During my tenure we saw Dorpers and White Dorpers grow from a novel new pair of breeds to the Number One sheep breed registry in the USA. I believe that I have a solid knowledge of ADSBS operations, and the important priorities of our breeds going forward. I have been involved in the purebred sheep industry for over 60 years and have bred and raised nine breeds during that time. Our son Seth’s Lone Star Dorper flock enjoyed five Louisville championship banners, as well as numerous champions at Fort Worth, Houston and other shows. Before moving to Texas, I helped establish at least a dozen new Dorper flocks in the Northeast that are thriving today, and have advised several others along the way. I have always been a strong advocate for our youth programs, as that is our future.
I have degrees in Animal Science and Education from the University of Maine.
While I have always enjoyed the show ring aspects of every breed, I believe ADSBS should direct additional attention to the commercial marketplace. Dorpers and White Dorpers excel in this market and should enjoy a market premium IF quality earns it. I see lambs of varying heritage being marketed as Dorpers, when it may take at least 75% Dorper to provide enough carcass quality to earn a premium. I believe ADSBS needs to take a leadership position in educating producers of how and when to market lambs in order the gain the best returns. I feel we should be showcasing top commercial producers that achieve certain benchmarks in the same manner that we honor our breed champions.
I hope that The Dorper Report can return to a full printed paper magazine. I believe that a print version is passed around within and outside of each membership and is a valuable promotional tool. But our breeders need to support the publications with advertising dollars so that both The Dorper Report and the American Dorper Journal are self-supporting within the ADSBS budget. I would like to see a Membership Directory return to the Journal and support additional advertising of our breeds throughout U.S. agriculture.
I am increasingly concerned that some aspects of Dorper and White Dorper production and marketing is straying from our breed standards. I have viewed high dollar ewes being pictured and sold online that do not meet breed standards yet are identified as purebred or fullblood stock. The ADSBS Board should be addressing this and making sure it is stopped before new buyers get burned! I have seen many breeds fail and decline over the years because they changed for a show ring appeal but went backwards in commercial utility. We need to continue enforcing breed standards and consider pulling registration papers or other sanctions from those found to be outside of the acceptable standard. Our Dorper Courses and related educational programs are essential in getting breeders up to speed. I believe our judge training programs need to be streamlined but train to our breed standards. It is simply not practical to expect multi-breed judges to spend a week with us to learn a one-breed numerical typing system that is foreign to the present showring. But we could easily train judges with a focused one day event at either the Ohio Showcase Sales in May or the Midwest Stud Ram Sale in June, and still continue our Dorper Courses.
I believe our breed registry should be encouraging NSIP participation to provide better production information within and outside of each flock. We also need to be encouraging selection for improved shedding ability, reduced hoof care, twinning ability, carcass quality and other traits so that we are meeting industry needs going forward. We should be hosting carcass evaluations so that our producers raise better lambs. I would probably move slowly on the major software purchase being contemplated, as there may be simpler solutions, such as simply adding a field for NSIP ID so interested customers can research production traits.
Finally, board membership requires compromise. Not all that I have mentioned can happen immediately. I recognize that once a board decision is reached, everyone needs get behind it, and make it happen. I support actions that will allow our breeds to thrive and grow and will ensure that they are meeting the needs of the sheep industry. Thank you.
Justin Ransom - Arkansas
Justin Ransom, Arkansas
I am honored to have been nominated to serve another term on the ADSBS Board of Directors, and I would appreciate your vote. At RR Dorpers, my dad, Bob Ransom, started buying the original seedstock in 2005 and I started investing in the program in 2010. In 2017, my wife Jennifer and I moved to AR where we started RR Dorpers North where we run a majority of the flock in active partnership with my dad.We have been working to raise sheep that we like, that are phenotypically correct and productive fullblood Dorpers – we had our flock inspected last year, not to count the number of Type 5’s, but to get perspective on how inspectors evaluate our flock. We were happy with the feedback but it’s not a priority in marketing our flock.
I joined the ADSBS Board in January of 2021 and there has been a lot of progress of the Society in that time – from a long-range strategic plan and a draft standard for Certified American Dorper (CAD) lamb, to updated bylaws and more robust rules of registration, among other progress. I wasn’t planning to run for a Board seat again, but with the nomination I believe I can provide continued leadership on work that needs to be completed – principally: (1) determine next steps in our registration platform inclusive of data capabilities to support the development of Estimated Breeding Values, and (2) resolve on dorper lamb [meat] marketing program.
Change is hard, and progress and impact cannot be made in a vacuum. We must align and lead as a board. If we hold ourselves to a high standard set by the largest cattle breeds, we will hire a strong leader in the Executive Director, who seeks alignment on the board and sets the short-term strategy to lead the growth and profitability of the Society.