grew up with sheep.
And while Tim
gradually transitioned the flock to purebred animals, sheep have always remained on the farm.
"Mom can still look out her
north window and see sheep every day," Barnes
lives on the family farm with his
wife, Debbie, about a mile from the home place where he
grew up and his
mom still resides.
Barnes Farms currently maintains about 60 Shropshire ewes and 10 Tunis ewes.
Part of the flock is on pasture and lambs in a barn at his
place, and the remainder pasture and lamb at the home farm.
"I enjoy being around animals and working with them," Barnes
"There's nothing nicer to be around than ewes and lambs, and watching the lambs grow and develop.
And sheep are interesting to develop a breeding program for - putting ewes and rams together and seeing how the lambs turn out."
Like many sheep breeders, Barnes got started with purebred animals as a 4-H member at age 9.
first two Shropshire ewes from the Woodard Brothers of Forest in 1959.
"At that time, there were a lot of people showing Shropshires at the Marion County Fair, and I must have liked the way they looked," Barnes
lived in Delaware County, Barnes
attended school at Elgin in Marion County, which is why Marion County became his
home fair for 4-H and FFA projects.
About 1960, Barnes
bought four more Shropshire ewes from Walter Kuhlwein south of Columbus and gradually expanded his purebred flock.
also bought several other quality flocks over the years to add to his
Shropshires at the Marion County Fair and several surrounding county fairs, then jumped to the Ohio State Fair about 1967.
shown at the state fair most every year since.
also has regularly shown at the North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville.
Over the years, his
Shropshires have done quite well, with several national champion and reserve champion animals, as well as several champions at the Ohio State Fair.
hasn't just influenced the Shropshire breed with his
also has made quite an impact with his
While serving as president of the National Shropshire Registry Association
in the early 1990s, the breed was at a low.
"Numbers were down, and the Shropshires at the junior show in Louisville were on probation for lack of participation," he
had noticed how a move to slick shearing for showing Southdowns had improved interest in that breed, so he
suggested Shropshires do the same.
With the support of the National Shropshire Registry Association
Board of Directors, the switch was made.
"By going to slick shearing, the popularity of the breed has increased, with registrations and transfers up, and Ohio probably is No. 1 in the country with the number of Shropshire breeders and the number of sheep shown in junior and open classes," he
Showing slick-shorn animals has forced the breed to be more aware of body structure and correctness, Barnes
As a result, the sheep no longer have wrinkles, and now have a thicker, meatier shape to the muscle structure compared to when he
started in the breed.
"Without the wool they have to be more structurally correct, because you don't have the wool to hide the defects," he
"My wife just liked the red color of that breed, and their disposition, so we went out and bought five yearling ewes and two yearling rams from a breeder in Missouri," Barnes
Because of the fat tail heritage of the Tunis breed, they don't have as much muscle in the rump as the Shropshires.
But Tunis are a docile breed that is nice to be around, he
Plus, they have had some success with them, raising several state fair class winners.
As a practicing sheep judge since 1974, Barnes knows how to pick out quality sheep.
"A good sheep, whatever the breed, is structurally correct on its feet and legs with good muscle structure," Barnes
has judged sheep at the majority of the county fairs in Ohio, the Ohio State Fair, several other state fairs and at Louisville.
still judges five or six county fairs each year, and judged a junior breeding sheep session at the Ohio State Fair this past summer.
"I really enjoy the interaction, especially with the kids in the junior shows at the county fairs," Barnes
"I've always enjoyed the showmanship classes and maintain they are a great way for kids to interact with judges."
currently sits on the Ohio Shropshire Association Board, the Ohio Lamb and Wool Board
, and is part of the Ohio Department of Agriculture's Small Ruminant Committee
He has been OSIA president twice, he and Debbie spent about 20 years as secretary/treasurer of the Ohio Shropshire Association and he once served as president, and he has been on several American Sheep Industry committees.
Barnes said he developed his leadership skills through the sheep industry, which has led to other leadership roles with his local school board, the Ohio Pork Producers Council Board, and other church, Ohio Farm Bureau and local positions.
lifetime of dedication to sheep production and leadership within the industry recently earned Barnes
the Charles Boyles Master Shepherd Award from the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association
Ironically, the award was developed when Barnes was OSIA president, and he came up with the idea to name it after Boyles.
"This award has been given to a number of prominent and successful sheep people in the state over the years, and I'm extremely pleased to be this year's recipient," he
"It's a real family affair," Barnes
"I enjoy it and will always have sheep around."
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