Message from the Owner

Stan & Jean Potratz, Owners

ASI's Annual Meeting

I attended the American Sheep Industry (ASI)'s annual convention in San Antonio in late Jan. About 400 attended. Mood was good. Weather was great. One lamb meal was great, one was good and the other one not so good.

Two comments from it...

Wolves in the Northern Rockies

It seems that the wolf introduction 10 years ago to the Yellowstone area has succeeded beyond the biologist's expectations. Wolf numbers and the wolf "area" have expanded rapidly. Controlling the wolf population and responding to wolf-livestock depredations is keeping officials busy.

One Idaho rancher, to whom I spoke personally, lost 300 ewes (out of several thousand) last yr. He's added 4 employees to assist his 12 herders in flock protection but he doesn't think his loss rate will decline. The wolves are clever and adaptive. They hunt at night to avoid detection.

The elk and deer herds are declining. A recent report noted that the % of elk calves born/100 cows drops sharply when a wolf pack moves into their area. The probable cause is the constant stress and pressure on the cows during breeding and gestation. If numbers decline too far the hunting lobby may become the Western sheepman's friend in demanding that wolf numbers be kept to a minimum.

Does ASI accurately reflect the Sheep Industry? If not, what can be done?

I'll upset some friends by asking this question. But it's too important to ignore.

There are approx. 60,000 sheep producers in the USA. Of this total, perhaps 1% (600) have more than 1000 ewes and 2% (1200) have 500 - 1000 ewes; and 3% (1800) have 100 - 500 ewes. The other 94% have less than 100 ewes.

With those percentages in mind, then consider the attendees of the ASI convention. I estimate that 20% (80-including spouses) had more than 1000 ewes. 30% (120) had 500 - 1000 ewes. The other 50% (200) had less than 500 ewes.

But that picture, while troubling, misses the under-representation within ASI by some key segments. For example, few were there from the small flock "fiber" segment. (If you don't think this segment is alive and thriving visit the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival in May.)

And consider the show segment. This group accounts for as much as 33% of the industry (20,000 owners). But less than 5% of the attendees were out of this segment.

What can be done to change this? ASI cannot force show and fiber people to attend. Their invitation is available to any and all. It's a basic truth that groups are influenced by "those that show up". If your segment is/was not there it's concerns are not likely to be heard.

However, as I've indicated in private to ASI leaders and staff, obtaining sustained involvement in ASI by these 2 missing segments is a "chicken and egg" situation.

By that I mean that when people show up for a year or two (at their own expense for travel, hotel and registration) and sense that little is achieved they find other outlets for their energies.

The good news is that this may be an excellent time for the fiber and show segments to reach out to ASI. Why? Because the new president, Burdell Johnson has, for 2 years, chaired a small group that is thinking about this situation.  He's made the trip to NAILE the last 2 years. And ASI leaders visit the Maryland Festival every year.

So I extend a challenge to the current and future leaders of these segments. Contact him via ASI's website. You'll be glad you did.

by Stan Potratz

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Presented by Premier

Come Join Us! UK Sheep Tour

June 3 - June 10, 2007

Journey through Scotland and England with Premier to discover the UK sheep industry. We will visit the largest UK sheep event; the largest sheep auction market; the leading British sheep research facility and purebred farms who lead the nation in EPD work. We will also explore the cultural richness and history of Edinburgh, York and London.

Starts June 3 in Edinburgh and ends in London on June 10. Headlining the trip is "North Sheep 2007". This will be Britain's largest 2007 sheep event with 8000 visitors and 200 trade show stands-just for sheep!

We expect to make stops at the Scottish Agricultural College (the leading research institution), a foremost UK Suffolk producer and the founder and flock of MeatLinc sheep.

The cost will be $1860 per person excluding airfare, based on a double occupancy with some meals provided. On the final evening we will float down the river Thames for a beautiful dinner cruise to enjoy music and the evening lights of London.

We've invited the leaders in the US sheep industry to be with us-but can accommodate only 36 people.

Contact Stephanie Sexton at Premier for details and to make reservations for the tour at 800-282-6631 or e-mail at

Stan Potratz, Premier's founder, will be on the tour. He farmed in the UK for 11 years and has traveled there for 40 years. He'll provide in-depth insights about British agriculture and add his always colorful and informative narrative of the British countryside & culture.

Tentative Itinerary

Day 1 - Sunday 3rd June
Arrive at Edinburgh International Airport. On arrival meet with tour manager and transfer to Edinburgh. Remainder of the day to relax after the transatlantic flight and see the city on your own. Tonight there will be a welcome dinner in the hotel.
Overnight: Braid Hills Hotel, Edinburgh (D) (

Day 2 - Monday 4th June
Depart this morning for a half-day sightseeing tour of Edinburgh, including Edinburgh Castle, Princes Street and the Royal Mile, Scott Monument, Newtown area, etc. There will be some free time for lunch and shopping. In the afternoon, visit the Scottish Agricultural College, Bush Estate in Penicuik, Scotland.
Overnight: Braid Hills Hotel, Edinburgh (B)

Day 3 - Tuesday 5th June
Early breakfast and departure for England's largest market at Longtown in Cumbria. Lunch provided. In the afternoon depart along Hadrians Wall to visit the farm of North Country producer Hans Porksen. He is one of the leaders in utilizing EPD's to raise high performance rams. He has established flocks of Suffolks, Scottish Blackfaces, Bluefaced Leicesters & Mules.
Overnight: Ramside Hall Hotel, Durham (BL) (

Day 4 - Wednesday 6th June
Today will be spent visiting the North Sheep Event, at North Hanging Wells Farm, Eastgate, near Bishop Auckland. Depart show in the late afternoon, travelling to the historic town of York. Stop en route for dinner in Thirsk, home of "James Herriot".
Overnight: Holiday Inn, York (BD) (

Day 5 - Thursday 7th June
After breakfast, there will be a guided walking tour of the city, including the beautiful York Minster, Shambles area, City Walls etc. Lunch will be included locally. In the afternoon visit the sheep farm of MeatLinc founder, Henry Fell at Thorganby.
Overnight: Marriott Hotel, Sheffield (BLD) (

Day 6 - Friday 8th June
In the morning depart for the beautiful Peak District National Park for a stop with a local sheep producer. There will be the opportunity to have lunch locally before continuing to London.
Overnight: Euston Thistle Hotel, London (B) (

Day 7 - Saturday 9th June
Depart after breakfast for a panoramic sightseeing tour of the city, including the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, St Paul's Cathedral, Tower of London, the West End. Your afternoon will be free for independent sightseeing and shopping. Evening dinner cruise along the River Thames to enjoy the beautiful evening lights of London.
Overnight: Euston Thistle Hotel, London (BD)

Day 8 - Sunday 10th June
Transfer to Heathrow Airport for return flight to U.S.A. or optional extra nights in London (B).

B = Breakfast, L = Lunch and D = Dinner that are included in the price of the trip.

Not included: Air fares, personal expenses, gratuities to accompanying staff. Portage service in hotels.

$1860.00 per person

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Special Price from Premier!

PermaMark Pliers

A lower cost alternative to Stone tattoos. Quality assured by Premier. Made in Pakistan.

(Sialkot, Pakistan is the original source of 70% of the world's veterinary equipment. Premier has visited there personally to learn why some products are better than US/European options.)

5/16" PermaMark Tattoo Outfit

Package includes pliers, 1 oz. black paste and digits. Holds up to 5 digits and/or letters.
619820 5/16" Tattoo Outfit - $21 (was $26)
Additional options:
619821 5/16" Tattooer Only - $19
619822 5/16" Digit Set (0 - 9) - $7
619823 5/16" Letter Set (A - Z) - $15

3/8" PermaMark Tattoo Outfit

Package includes pliers, 1 oz. black paste and digits. Holds up to 4 digits and/or letters.
619720 3/8" Tattoo Outfit - $23 (was $28)
Additional options:
619721 3/8" Tattooer Only - $21
619722 3/8" Digit Set (0 - 9) - $7
619723 3/8" Letter Set (A - Z) - $15

How to get your special price:

* If ordering from our website: Enter News 23IT in the "Catalog Source Code" box on the "Checkout-Confirm & Submit" screen (see part numbers above). NOTE: The original price of the above item will be shown on your order, however, we will adjust it to the sale price when we receive your order.
* If ordering via the phone give us code: News 23.

Offer good through March 31, 2007.

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Premier Tip

Tattooing Boer goats

This is our first year of tattooing goats and after talking and reading on the Internet with many, many goat people. We found this to work the best for us.

Once the goat is caught and the ID is determined. We put them in a trimming stand.

  1. Cleanse the ear with alcohol or alcohol wipes.
  2. Apply the ink. We like the green roll on. (Note: use latex gloves so ink does not get on your hands as it will take 2 - 3 days for ink to wear off.)
  3. Situate the tattoo pliers over the ink and apply gentle but firm pressure (they will act like it is torture). Too much pressure on really thin ears tend to bleed.
  4. Rub baking soda on tattooed area. This help stops the bleeding and I think it helps keep the tattoo clean while healing.

by Premier employee, Sara McArtor

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Premier Employee Spotlight

Dwight Sutton

Meet Dwight Sutton, this month's featured employee. He is Premier's purchasing manager and has been for 17 years, "incredibly great years", he says. He lives in Washington, IA and says what he likes best about his position "is talking and sending emails to many neat and interesting people all over the US and the rest of the world. All of this while making purchases and arranging for their delivery and shipment to Premier. I also enjoy initiating some of the research and development of new products."

The best part about Premier is this he says, "It is a very stable company that is still privately owned, where the owners have created an atmosphere that is worker friendly, creative and enjoyable to come to work each day. Premier is unique as the business is located on a picturesque Iowa farm where our products can be tested and proven daily."

Dwight and his wife Nancy have been married for 31 years. They have 4 sons, 1 daughter, 3 granddaughters, 3 grandsons and 1 great granddaughter (All of this and Dwight still doesn't look a day over 30), plus 2 Yorkie dogs. He loves to cruise in his 1968 GTO convertible (red of course) and doing home improvement projects to his home and rental apartments. Dwight and his family enjoy camping, cheering for the Hawkeyes and attending country and rock & roll concerts. They also of course enjoy spoiling their grandkids and great granddaughter.

We always ask each employee their favorite statement, Dwight's was easy I think because I have heard it more than once. It is this "Let me explain something to you!" Dwight has had many years of experiences and sometimes he likes to explain those good and bad experiences to others.

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Snicker Bars


2 (12 oz.) pkg. milk chocolate chips
2 tbsp. oil
1 pkg. caramels
2 tbsp. water
4 tsp. butter
1-1/2 c. peanuts
1/2 c. peanut butter

Melt together 1 pkg. chocolate chips and oil. Pour into greased 9 x 13 pan. Melt caramels, water and butter. Add peanuts. Pour over 1st layer and let stand for 20 min. Melt together 1 pkg. chocolate chips and peanut butter. Spread over caramel layer. Keep refrigerated until serving.

from Premier employee, Gordon Shelangoski

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