The Washington State Sheep Producers’ Golden Sheep Hook Award is the highest honor presented by the state sheep producers organization; it is in recognition of outstanding service to the sheep industry and the Washington State Sheep Producers organization.
The 2017 WSSP Golden Hook Award is awarded to an individual who has worked in our midst for many years and grew up in the sheep industry. With his father as his mentor, he raised and showed sheep; and together they were well recognized as top quality Columbia breeders across the U.S. He continued his passion by pursuing a degree in animal sciences and eventually received at PhD in Michigan State University. A tireless team member and dedicated mentor, this year’s Golden Hook recipient is Dr. Jan Busboom, Washington State University Extension Meat Specialist in the Department of Animal Sciences.
Jan came to Washington to work at the university in 1989. Since first appearing on the scene in Pullman, he quickly became a valuable asset to the world of academia, extension and the sheep industry here. He was able to combine his interest in meat muscle mass and sheep while researching the callipyge gene and has always been eager to help with numerous Extension outreach programs. Jan is the WSU Meat Evaluation and Analysis Team(MEAT) team leader for the LAMB 100, 200 and 300 program and has been instrumental in delivering these programs in Washington, Oregon, California and the Rocky Mountain region.
Jan’s positive attitude makes him a delightful asset on any team project or in any mentoring capacity. Countless graduate students have sought his guidance in their endeavors and have risen to exciting new heights under his tutelage. He truly is a knowledgeable meat scientist who has been researching and mentoring budding academics for the past 25 years.
A sheep judge in all climates, he shares his expertise with those passionate about sheep. He is at home sporting a lab coat and hard hat in the cooler or a polo on a hot day summer day judging or handling sheep. His calm demeanor and steady personality make Jan easy to work with and he excels in mentoring youth as a tireless dedicated 4-H leader. With his wife Janice at his side, together they manage a flock of Suffolk Hampshire crosses and lead the Albion 4-H Sheep Club. Each year they work diligently to improve the breeds and create competitive crossbreds. Jan is also actively engaged in developing an NSIP testing strategy for seedstock producers.
For many years he has been involved in the annual Northwest Junior Sheep Expo and has represented the university professionally by sharing knowledge on carcass and meat qualities.
Jan believes in education and is a valuable asset to any project making him a great advocate for the sheep industry, research and extension. Currently, he serves as a team member on WSU Sheep Endowment ram management study, analyzing reproductive fitness of breeding stock. Jan is also working with a group to create a Spanish resource guide for sheep herders. This will not only enhance the quality of the care that commercial range flocks receive, it will also better the lives of those working with them. Recently, Jan received a grant teaming up with the University of Idaho to conduct trainings for ultrasound technicians specializing in sheep evaluation to take place in the summer of 2018.
In September 2018, Jan will retire from WSU but will forever remain passionate about education, meat science, genetic improvements, youth, mentoring, research and the sheep industry.
Please join me in congratulating this year’s winner of the WSSP Golden Hook Award, the man who is always able to rise the challenge of whatever is asked of him, Dr. Jan Roger Busboom.