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Sheep award winner enjoys helping youth in show ring
By CARYL VELISEK
JEFFERSON, Md. (Nov. 24, 2015) — Peter Vorac’s work with youth in showing sheep worked against him in the show ring this year, but he couldn’t be happier about it.
“We show at the Great Frederick Fair and like to encourage 4-Hers and young people to raise sheep,” Vorac said. “We’ve had champions and reserve champion rams and this year, we were beat by a 4-Her who had purchased their ewe from us - which is always a good thing.”
Vorac, who was recently named the Frederick County Sheep Breeders’ Shepherd of the Year, owns Vorac Suffolks & Club Lambs with his daughter, Kelly. He said they keep communication with the 4-Hers they work with along with other customers.
“We’ve been doing this for 35 years here, have 50 registered ewes and five rams on the farm, we lease out two rams for breeding, and we breed twelve ewes a year for other breeders,” he said.
The Vorac enterprise specializes in either whole or half custom-processed lamb meat, 4-H club lambs, and registered breeding stock. Meat can be custom processed by a nearby butcher or customers can take their live lambs home and process in Kosher or Halal manner on their own property.
“We believe in dual purpose sheep and our goal is to produce Suffolk sheep that excel in the traits that have made the breed popular, which includes producing fast growing lambs, with well-muscled carcass composition,’” Vorac added.
Other important traits include maternal performance — ewes must milk well and watch over their lambs — and structural correctness and eye appeal with no defects in legs, hocks, mouth or teats.
Vorac also sells manure and compost.
“Besides our sheep operation, we make our own hay and some alfalfa for a neighbor, and sell some grain,” he said.
The home farm consists of 60 acres outside of Jefferson, Md., and was once part of a farm originally owned by Judge Dewalt Willard and his family, from Frederick.
The Vorac home farm was a dairy farm until the late 1960s and now consists of the Suffolks, and at times, beef cattle, on a rotational grazing system. Several soil conservation practices have been installed on the farm as well.
Vorac also worked at the University of Maryland Department of Industrial Education for eight years, and for eight years consulting for a land trust. He has two sons, one who works with an airline in Florida, and one, who is an electrician.
The county sheep breeders award came as a surprise, Vorac said, adding he “really appreciates the honor.”
“I have had a lot of good help — and I delegate a lot of authority,” he said, smiling.