We caught up with the breeder of the Reserve Champion Market Lamb at the 2023 California Youth Expo. We invite you to read our candid interview with Junk/ Gray Club Lambs below and please continue to check back often for our next edition of “Breeder Spotlight.”
What’s the pedigree of your champion?
Mr. Magnificent x CB16 Donor (Sugar Pickle)
What makes your operation run smoothly?
I am extremely busy traveling the countryside performing lap AI and embryo transfer, so friends and family play a huge role in making my operation run smoothly. My wife Jenny supports my crazy dream of raising sheep, while she takes care of our beautiful newborn Cheyenne. I would not be where I am at today without all the help my dad has provided me. I also have several partnerships including Matt Debrick who helped me raise this sheep.
How many head do you run?
Grays Club Lambs has about 100 head and Mike Junk has 70 head of black face sheep. We combined our efforts about 10 years ago to start buying ewes and bucks in partnership to advance our genetics more efficiently. It has helped us produce many state and national winners.
Do you have another job besides raising sheep? If so, what’s your occupation?
I own and operate Ewe-niversal Reproductive Services LLC. I travel around the country performing lap AI, embryo transfer, and cloning. It has provided me a great opportunity to meet a lot of sheep breeders and see a lot of different genetics. I try to implement a lot of that knowledge in my own flock.
In your opinion, who has been the most influential ram across the industry?
As a person who performs lap AI for a lot of breeders, this is a very loaded question for me. I will answer it more on an individual level.
Sugar Pickle has the most influence in my flock. Most of my ewes go back to him including the mom of the Reserve Grand at CYE. He has raised a state or national champion for me every year he was alive plus an additional year after he passed away. We recently purchased Straight Outta Compton who has a proven track record of producing champions on a state and national level, especially if you want to make natural colored lambs. We expect him to be a big influence in our future.
What’s your favorite livestock show?
I would like to win the Iowa State Fair. I think when every breeder starts, their goal is to win their state fair. I don’t actually have a favorite livestock show because I prefer spending my time going to farms and looking at lambs. As a breeder, farm visits give me the best chance of evaluating genetics in a natural state and choosing which to implement into my program.
Do you prefer online sales or live sales?
Neither. I prefer private sales. I like the idea of looking through lambs, finding one I want, and asking how much. If I believe it’s priced to high, I won’t buy it. If it is priced fairly, I will buy it. I do believe live sales are a great avenue to get more exposure and build a bigger customer base.