FARGO — The North Dakota State University Extension and Lamb and Wool Producers Association are seeking applicants for the Youth Sheep Starter Program.

The program, in its 12th year, offers young North Dakotans a chance to gain experience in the sheep industry and build their own flock.

Those chosen for the Starter Flock Discounted Loan Program will receive an interest-free loan to purchase ten yearling Rambouillet ewes from the association. The association will purchase the ewes from NDSU's Hettinger Research Extension Center.

"The ewes look better than ever," Dave Pearson, NDSU Hettinger Research Extension Center shepherd said via news release. "These Wyoming-bred ewes are a great opportunity for young people to get involved in a growing sheep industry."

Those chosen will be assigned to a mentor who will be available to answer questions and assist with record-keeping and setting management goals. The youth will also have the option to arrange for their own mentor.

The youth must pay back 70% of the value of the ewes, with the first payment due by Nov. 1 of the second year of owning the ewes. They will then have two years to pay the remaining balance.

To be eligible, youth must be between 10 and 18 years old by Aug. 1 of the year they apply for the loan.

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To apply and for more information about the program, visit NDSheep.org. Applications are due Aug. 15.