It was on a farm in Newton County, Missouri, that Doyle Weaver was raised in agriculture. “I started helping on our farm as soon as I was big enough to get up and get around,” he said. The Weaver family milked cows until the milk market was no longer profitable, and then they transitioned into a beef cattle operation. Doyle grew up attending school in Seneca, Mo., and though the school had no formal agriculture programs, he continued his work on – and love for – the family farm.
After high school he moved to Wentworth to work for the railroad in Monett. He had bought some hogs and cattle of his own, and was running his own farm. In 1994 Doyle moved to Nevada, Mo., with his wife Judy.
Today, Doyle is still working for the Missouri Northern Arkansas Railroad as a conductor and engineer, but since his move to Nevada, he has changed up his farming endeavors. As of 2003, he no longer has hogs, but sheep instead.
Doyle used to work at the feed store, and an older man came in all the time and would talk to Doyle about the sheep he raised. Not just any sheep. “They’re wool-less sheep,” noted Doyle. “They’re called Katahdins. And I like them because they don’t have wool and you don’t have to shear them every year.” He began buying Katahdin sheep to build up a herd.
Doyle manages his 25 ewes and a few rams by keeping them in his old hog pens. They’re partially covered pens that are ideal for the sheep. He lives on 28 acres, where he also raises some beef cattle. He has another 20 acres not connected to his farm and he mows 40 acres of ground for hay. “It’s a great deal. People need their land mowed, and I need the hay. So I mow it and they let me keep the hay,” said Doyle. He uses that hay to feed his sheep, and supplements that with grain year-round.
All of Doyle’s sheep are registered Katahdins. The breed originated in Maine in the early 1970’s, and were named after Mount Katahdin – the highest peak in the state of Maine. In the 1980’s a group of breeders created the association and registry.
Doyle sells butcher lambs at the Archie or Nevada sale barns. He also sells his rams and ewes right off the farm in private treaties. The Katahdin Association has a website where many of his buyers learn of him, but he gets a lot of calls coming from people who heard of his farm by word-of-mouth.
Doyle likes the fact that his sheep are hardy. “I work off the farm as well, so I like to say that my animals are on a roughage program… I put them out there and they rough it,” he said with a smile. He concluded, “Another great thing about them is that they’re supposed to be one of the best eatin’ sheep there is… but I can’t verify that because Katahdin is the only thing I’ve ever had.”


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