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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Dubois, Idaho » Range Sheep Production Efficiency Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #358744

Research Project: Enhancing Sheep Enterprises and Developing Rangeland Management Strategies to Improve Rangeland Health and Conserve Ecology

Location: Range Sheep Production Efficiency Research

Title: Prelude to the Tremendous Targhee: The history behind the history

item Taylor, Joshua - Bret

Submitted to: Targhee Talk
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/23/2018
Publication Date: 10/28/2018
Citation: Taylor, J.B. 2018. Prelude to the Tremendous Targhee: The history behind the history. Targhee Talk. Oct_2018:9-11. Available:

Interpretive Summary: NA

Technical Abstract: It is difficult to find something more American-made than the Targhee sheep breed. This 3/4 fine-wool, 1/4 course-wool composite breed was just what the producer ordered. In 1941, husbandmen Damon A. Spencer and John A. Stoehr published the first description of the Targhee breed, documenting that the USDA began laying the foundation for the Targhee at the USDA-U.S. Sheep Experiment Station, Dubois, Idaho, in the fall of 1926. Early Targhee breed literature, sale catalogs, and records from when the breed was first released (1929-1945) are populated with the names of producers, husbandmen, and scientists such as Henry J. Yoppe, Clair Terrill, Damon Spencer, John Stoehr, Ralph Schott, Elroy Pohle, and Julius Norby. Though the development of the Targhee breed foundation wasn’t initiated until 1926, the roots of the Targhee go back much further. In 1912, the search for the perfect U.S. ewe was in progress using USDA-Bureau of Animal Industry sheep flocks housed at the F. S. King Brothers Company Ranch near Laramie, WY. As recorded by the first USDA-U.S. Sheep Experiment Station superintendent, Mr. Virgil McWhorter, “There [at the King Ranch], in cooperation with the King Brothers, Frank, Joe and Bert, experimental work was being conducted in the breeding of Rambouillets, and in crossing the ewes of this breed with Lincoln, Cotswold, Leicester and Romney bucks. The very sheep resulting from these first crosses later became the foundation stock for the Columbia and Targhee breeds.”