Annual sheep sale held for new agricultural research and Extension center

University completes its first sale in Eureka County

Mike Wolterbeek

Sheep with horns.More than 200 sheep sold in the auction to buyers from Western U.S.

More than 200 sheep were auctioned off at the annual sale of the nationally famous Rafter 7 sheep herd held recently at the Eureka County Fairgrounds, and the first auction that will help fund the University’s new Great Basin Research & Extension Center located in Eureka.

Buyers came from all states adjoining Nevada plus nine others from around the country. There were 85 buyers at the fairgrounds and many buyers from distant states via telephone for the Sept. 12 event that brought in $137,000.

“I was very pleased with the auction,” Bill Payne, dean of our College, said. “The level of support from the industry and ranchers despite COVID-19, commodity prices, wildfires and other sources of uncertainty was quite gratifying.”

The highest price paid for one sheep was $3,100, for a two-year old purebred Merino ram, and the lowest was $500. In all, 183 rams and 30 purebred Merino yearling ewes were sold. The rams were both purebred Merino and the popular Rambouillet/Merino crossbreeds developed in the 1990s by the University. They are not show sheep, and are grown out under harsh range conditions in the high-desert mountain ranges of Nevada.