Silver Bell Award

The Minnesota Lamb and Wool Producers are currently seeking nominations for the 2023 Junior and Senior Silver Bell Awards. The Silver Bell Awards will be presented at the Shepherds Conference and Trade Show, December 9, in Alexandria, MN.

Applications are due by November 15th, 2023.

Silver Bell Award History

The Silver Bell Award has awarded annually to one or two Minnesota shepherds who have excelled in modern sheep, lamb, or wool production for over 25 years.

Over the years, the selection criteria has included flock size, lambing and weaning rate, lamb and wool production per ewe, sale price of lamb and wool, gross return per ewe, and the following less tangible but equally important factors:

  • Attitude toward the adoption of new technology.

  • Use of financial as well as flock production records.

  • Willingness to commit labor, feed, capital, and managerial effort toward the profitable production of a quality product from their flocks that reflects well upon the entire sheep industry.

  • An apparent faith and confidence in the “old ewe” and in their efforts to consistently generate a substantial part of their farm income with a ewe flock.

  • A contagious enthusiasm for sheep, coupled with a record of profitable production that encourages others to follow a similar program.

  • Civic contributions to their community.

The selection of the state’s most profitable flock, the largest lamb crop, the heaviest shearing ewes, or the best appearing flock was not the goal. Rather, we have chosen sheep producers who are exemplary of what all shepherds should strive to be.

General Rules and Guidelines

A shepherd can receive the award only once in a lifetime. If there is no individual worthy of receiving the award, one will not be presented. The individual should show longevity in the sheep business. All aspects of the sheep industry will be considered equal, including commercial, dairy, purebred, and hand-spinning farms.

There shall be a Junior Silver Bell award based on the same criteria as the adult Silver Bell award, except that the nominee must be less than 21 years of age and a current FFA or 4H sheep program participant. Selection emphasis for this category will focus on how they have gone out of their way to promote the sheep industry in Minnesota.

Selection of individuals to receive the award will be done by a committee of the Minnesota Lamb and Wool Producers with at least one previous award member on the committee. It will be the responsibility of the committee to determine the degree of excellence of each nomination and to select the winner based on the collective subjective judgment of the committee.

The Silver Bell Award will be presented at the annual MLWP conference. All winners will be notified prior to the MLWP annual conference. Winners will be asked to give a short presentation at the following year’s annual conference.Criteria for the Award

Individual must meet the following criteria to be nominated for the Silver Bell Award:

  • Be a paid current member of MLWPA.

  • Excelled in the PRODUCTION of sheep, lamb, or wool

  • Excelled in the PROMOTION of sheep, lamb, or wool.

  • Excelled in the production and promotion of sheep, lamb, or wool over an extended period of time.

Letter of Nomination

Individuals do not need to be notified that they are being nominated for this award. Nomination letters may be kept on file for future years if there are more nominees than awardees in a given year.

The letter of nomination should not be verbose. There is no set format. Try to limit your letter to one page. Focus on how the person being nominated meets the criteria for the award and what they have done to distinguish themselves from other shepherds. Each letter of nomination must stand on its own merit.

Mail To: Letters of Nomination must be submitted no later than November 14, 2022 to

Selection Committee Chair: Randy Kinney, 20669 Co Rd 30, Glenwood, MN 56334

Past Winners of the Silver Bell Award

1976-DuWayne Swenson and John Larick

1977-John Wichern and Milo Mastny

1978-Curtis Roos and Orin G. Green

1979-Doug Ness and Arne Stoen

1980-Ernest Haehnel

1981-Lee McEvilly

1983-Jim Perkins and Paul M. Westerberg

1984-John Schrier and LeRoy Christianson

1985-Joel Rehm and LaVerne Martin

1986-Wayne & Betty Geppert and Richard & Mary Wishart

1987-Roger O. Green and Robert J. Burns and Peter & Charles Bobendrier

1988-Ian Tamara Cunningham

1989-Rodney Eldevik Family and Dale Billberg Family

1990-Randy Dombek

1991-Chris Aubart and John & Dorie Bailey

1992-Susan Zenk and Roger Karstens and Jim & Linda Hove and Brad Meyers

1993-Wayne Busch and R & K Shepherds and Shane Wishart

1994-Ryan Dostal and Pat Anderson and Foster Mooney

1995-Randy & Jewel Noble

1996-Kelley O’Neill and Dr. Cindy Wolf

1997-Paul & Dr. Holly Neaton

1998-Janet McNally

2000-Paul & Jan Anderson and Joel & Pat Friedrich

2002-Gene & Gail Christians

2003-Bob Padula

2004-Mike Haubrich Family & Dale Carter Family

2005-Mike & Carrie Caskey Family

2006-George & Jackie Mead

2007-Don & Deb Drewry Family

2008- No Nominations

2009-Dr. Chuck Christians

2010-Jeremy Geske

2011-Dan Lippert & Mike Lippert

2012-Dan Persons

2013-Judy Lewman

2014-Dale & Lila Schmidt

2015-Zehnder & Zehnder Suffolks

2016-Jo & Mark Bernard

2017-Steve & Jean Froehlich

2018-Daryl Boehm

2019-Steve Scheffert

2020-No Conference

2021-Randy Kinney

2022-Phillip Berg