History of Partnership
After high school, Steve
decided to enroll at Illinois State University, where he did his
undergraduate work, and then off to The Ohio State University where he
received his Master's degree. After returning home, he became employed
as a high school Chemistry teacher. It was shortly after that he
announced that he had met a nurse at Rockford Memorial Hospital and were
later married on July 9, 1983.
Two years after they were
married they built a home across the road from John & Marian. Sue &
Steve are our neighbors and partners in the sheep operation. In 2005
John was elected to the Katahdin Board of Directors for a 3 year term and
elected as 2007/2008 President of the Katahdin Hair Sheep International.
Our hearts were deeply saddened when Steve passed away, but has left his mark
on Stromquist Katahdins.
Our Life on the
We have a small farm of
88 acres, approximately 20 miles Northwest of Rockford, Illinois, and 4 miles
south of the Wisconsin state line.
It all started with a
dozen beef cows, and raising our own corn and alfalfa hay. Johnís father
thought we needed some sheep, and decided to bring home 10 bred Hampshire
ewes. With 12 heifers and 10 sheep, 3 children and the crops, we were very
busy! To think this was to be a part time job?
Most farm kids belong to
4-H and our children got involved at an early age. Sheep were the main
project. Over 40 years ago, Steve approached us with the idea of breeding a
different kind of sheep. Steve and John then put together a small of flock
of Columbia sheep. Steve always enjoyed showing the sheep, and as he
continued showing sheep, it was then that the partnership was formed. It has
been John & Steve, ever since. Over the years we have shown all over the
United States and bringing home many championships on the state and national
level. All the time our flock was growing into what eventually became
100+ Columbia ewes.
In 1999, it was decided
to have an auction and sell the Columbia sheep. The sale went really well,
with the sheep sold to 16 different states. The reason we had a sale was
because the price of wool dropped to an all time low of $0.15 a pound. On
top of that, the sheep shearers were charging more per head increasing it to
$4.00 per sheep shorn. It was during that time that the sheep shearer
announced his retirement, while John and Steve made the tough decision to
sell the sheep. For the first time in 40 yearís the White Post Farm had no sheep.
However, that did not
last long. John and Steve once again decided that they needed some sheep.
This time around, the goal was to find some wool-less sheep! After
researching all the different breeds of sheep, the Katahdin sheep became the
choice breed for White Post Farm. But, one catch was that we were told in
order to find the sheep we wanted, we would have to go to Canada to find
them. After many emails and phone calls we found the breeders that we felt had
the sheep we were interested in purchasing. The arrangements were made with
the USDA to cross the US/Canadian border. Next came the drive to the Alberta,
Canada area to the farms of Julie Rosgren, Bruce Thompson, and Allen & Jane
Dauís. The sheep were all DNA tested on the Codon 171. There were 14 ewes,
and 2 rams that were all QR or RR on the Codon 171 that took the drive across
the border to their new home. Over 2700 miles later, they arrived safely in
their new home in Durand, Illinois. The flock has now since expanded into 60
head of ewes.