The Nebraska Sheep and Goat Producers Association (NS&GP) has announced the 2013 recipient of the Ted and Alice Doane Service Award. Larry Hays of Scottsbluff was recognized at the NS&GP Annual Meeting on Sept. 13-14 in Scottsbluff.
The Ted and Alice Doane Service Award is presented annually to an individual who the association's board of directors has determined to have provided exemplary service to the organization, says Ivan Rush, sheep producer from Scottsbluff and board member. It is named after the first recipients of the honor, Ted and Alice Doane of Waverly, in 2012.
Hays and his wife, Elaine, are longtime sheep producers in the Panhandle. Hays was an active member in the Nebraska Sheep Council, later renamed the NS&GP, in its early years. He was also a charter member of the Western Nebraska Sheep and Goat Association. Hays has often been referred to as the "great idea" person in both organizations, Rush says, because he understands the ins and outs of the sheep industry not only locally but also statewide and nationally. One of his favorite programs is Make It With Wool, in which youth construct sewing garments made of wool and showcase them to the public, a program with a long history of both wool promotion and youth development.
"He is always more than willing to help others," Rush adds. "In his retirement years, he is often found visiting with other sheep producers and offering to help."
The American Sheep Industry (ASI) Association launched an initiative in the past few years to promote more efficiency at the producer level, with the goal of a 200% lamb crop. Hays has been doing this for the last 15 years.
He was an early adopter of technology and production systems in the sheep industry, according to Rush. His farm was one of the first to have an accelerated lambing program and to utilize a crossbreeding program with Romanov, Dorper and Dorset. The result was a primarily hair breed that excelled in multiple lambing, producing 235-260% lamb crops. The flock was not only prolific and lambing year round, but Hays could market 100-pound lambs at just five months of age.