Andrea King: #POWERINGShropshires
Andrea King and her family have called #Agri-Ready Designated Marion County, near Palmyra, home for many years. She and her four siblings started ‘Peiter Shrops’ in 1983 to raise quality, registered Shropshire sheep. Today, the next generation of the family is #POWERINGShropshires, too.
From Then Until Now
Andrea grew up in Marion County on a diversified livestock and row crop farm. Her dad raised cattle and hogs, and when she became a 4-Her, she wanted animals of her own. Andrea started raising purebred Shropshire sheep in 1983 and her siblings followed her lead. She and each of her four siblings, Robin Horstmeier, Matt Peiter, Carrie Peiter, and Amy Myers, raised and expanded their own Shropshire flocks through their college years. Today the siblings have combined their flocks and cooperate to operate ‘Peiter Shrops’. Andrea’s family is an example of the 95 percent of Marion County farms operated by families .
“The main reason we raise sheep is because it is a great way to raise our kids. It helps them build character. We enjoy working and learning together as a family. We have never been able to kick the habit of being in the sheep business,” Andrea said.
Peiter Shrops Today
Their model is working. The siblings of Peiter Shrops still combine resources to manage their flock together. All five siblings have been to college and started careers, some have started their own families. The tradition looks to continue as Andrea’s kids and her nephews are starting their own flocks. The Missouri State Fair is a big deal for Peiter Shrops each year; the entire family attends together to help show off the best Shropshires their flock has to offer. In recognition of their history and quality, the family was awarded the Shepard Award at the State Fair in 2017.
The Satisfaction of Shropshires
Shropshires are a medium sheep breed that were developed to produce wool and high-quality meat. Andrea says she has always enjoyed that the breed thrives on pastures making them efficient on feed, has great mothering abilities, and has an overall good temperament. Sheep markets have shifted in favor of hair sheep which tend to be lower maintenance since they do not require shearing. However, the family is still devoted to their Shropshires which have better meat carcasses to add to their efficiency and productivity traits. Peiter Shrops is very selective about the purebred, registered lambs that they use as their own replacements or choose to privately market or sell at auction.
More Than Just Sheep on the Family Farm
Andrea has worked for USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) for 28 years, serving as an Area Conservationist. Her husband, Craig, is retired. They have been farming together for 23 years. They have a small acreage in Marion County where they manage their Shropshire flock, perform forestry management, and grow hay. Andrea serves as the president of the Marion County 4-H Council and she and Craig both serve as volunteer leaders. The family is very involved in their church congregation at Mt. Olivet Methodist Church. Their children, Weston and Candra, have each started their own Shropshire flocks as 4-H projects. The Kings have been active in American and Missouri Shropshire Associations and they are currently members of the Missouri Sheep Producers, a partner of Missouri Farmers Care.