Jim and Robin Sappington chose to embark on a new journey two years ago when they moved from Queen City, Mo., to rural Billings, Mo. Contributed Photo.
Contributed Photo

Pine Road Farm was founded in 1976 and came to the Ozarks 2 years ago

BILLINGS, MO. – Jim and Robin Sappington chose to embark on a new journey two years ago when they moved from Queen City, Mo., to rural Billings, Mo.

They bought a beautiful 80-acre farm nestled in the Missouri Ozarks that was perfect for Jim’s purebred Suffolk, Hampshire and club lamb sheep operation. This gave birth to Pine Road Farm owned and operated by Jim, Robin, Kyle, Erik and Brett Sappington. 

The roots of Pine Road Farm began back in 1976 in Centralia, Mo.

Jim grew up on a family farm which was a combination of row crops and livestock. They embarked in the sheep industry when Jim’s father Paul and he bought their first Suffolk at a farm sale. This became a lifelong passion and is the catalyst for the present operation.

 “I put myself through college showing sheep in the late 1970s and early 80’s,” Jim said. “It paid a lot more back then and college was considerably less expensive. It helped having grand champion market lamb for two years at the Missouri State Fair.”

Robin grew up in Memphis, Mo.

 “I was supposed to meet a guy from MIZZOU when I met Jim at a local bank,” Robin recalled. 

The couple were married in 1991. 

Their three sons Kyle, Erik and Brett grew up with a love of showing like their father. They competed at local, state, and national events attaining a good deal of success including many champions at the Missouri State Fair.

“We had National Hampshire Champion Ram and Reserve Champion National Ram two separate times in Louisville, Ken,” Jim said. 

Jim has been in the industry for a total of 50 years. He is well-respected judge and speaker and has had the opportunity to judge National Shows in the country of Mexico several times.

“I flew into Guadalajara (Mexico) and judged a National Katahdin show the last time I went,” he said.

“It was a great experience for our sons,” Robin added. “They got to see the good side of Mexico and the not-so-good.”

The Sappingtons are all devoted animal lovers. 

“I got them into goats,” Brett added. 

“He likes goat kids,” Robin said. 

Brett was at a sheep sale when he saw a pair of goats with hearts on their foreheads. 

“I have ADHD, and I literally stood there petting them for three hours,” Brett recalled. He brought one of the goats home with him. She gave birth to a goat kid named Jack.

“It was so funny, when it was time to go to bed, he would follow me upstairs,” Brett fondly remembered.

“He was so cute,” Robin said. “When a car pulled up in the driveway and the dogs would bark, he would bleat at them thinking he was a dog too.”

Pine Road Farm was founded in 1976 and came to the Ozarks 2 years ago. Contributed Photo.
Contributed Photo

On the farm side of things, Jim’s purebred and commercial herd consists of Suffolks, Hampshires, some crossbred animals a few Dorsets. They are raised for breeding stock and 4-H and FFA market lambs. He also raises Angus cattle.

“I enjoy working with sheep,” Jim said. “They are more work than the cattle by far. I also like working with 4-H and FFA. Our goal for the future is to market competitive lambs, sell some of the meat and do some shows.” 

The main stud rams came from Texas, Iowa and Indiana. Two years ago, they purchased the Supreme Champion Wether Sire at the Midwest Stud Ram Sale to be their foundation stud ram.

The three styles of sheep include framed, slick shorn, and club lamb.

“There is nothing prettier than a fitted framed sheep,” Robin said. “Everyone helps wash and card. Jim does most of the trimming. But with it taking three to eight hours per sheep to prepare for show we have gone in a different direction.”

“However, with age and the kids growing up plus the change of the industry we have gone to slick sheared breeding stock and club lambs for our breeding program. This is where the industry is moving and they are more practical,” Jim said.

Their breeding program includes synchronization and stud rams. They are not utilizing AI. They bred in spring and are hoping for fall lambs. They seeded about 30 ewes. 

The ewes are vaccinated with Covexin 8 and the lambs receive CDT at 6 to 8 weeks.

Fifty to 60 percent of the births are twins and triplets. 

“We have not had any quads for a few years, “Jim added.

Rotational grazing through several paddocks is used. 

Jim feeds a commercial grain and oats.

“We don’t buy the $20 or $30 dollar a bag grain,” Jim added. 

 Forages consist of orchard grass, fescue and some clover. 

Their main market is show lambs for kids and breeding rams and ewes to other producers and breeders. Next year they are planning to attend some national sales. They currently sell locally, and their goal is to sell meat in the future.

Their target for the future is club lambs for 4-H and FFA and finding uses for the wool. They also sell a few lambs for slaughtering. 

“Jim could not be without his sheep,” Robin said. 

A Great Pyrenees and Anatolian help control predators. They have had some losses due to coyotes. 

Jim is a member of the American Hampshire Association and the United Suffolk Association.

Overall, Jim and Robin are very happy with their move to the Ozarks. They are especially pleased with how friendly Ozarkians are.

“Surprisingly, people come up to me and say hello even in McDonalds,” Brett said. “I love it down here.”


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