For an economist, Glen Fisher sure knows a lot about wool. He’s also spent plenty of time working with wool, both in a warehouse setting and in marketing the American product.
For that reason, Fisher was selected as the 2017 winner of the American Sheep Industry Association Wool Roundtable’s Wool Excellence Award. He will be honored on Jan. 26 at the Wool Recognition Luncheon during the ASI Annual Convention in Denver.
The former ASI President (2009-10) didn’t know a thing about sheep before meeting and eventually marrying Linda McBride at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. He gave up his economist job soon thereafter and moved Linda back to her family’s ranch near Sonora, Texas, and thus his education in the sheep industry began.
“That’s what happens when you marry into a family of sheepherders,” Fisher said. “I started learning about sheep and goats even before we moved back to the ranch. The next thing I knew, I was a sheep producer.”
Along the way, Fisher took over management of the Sonora Wool and Mohair Company and spent the next 16 years balancing a town job with ranch life.
“It was one of the largest wool warehouses in the U.S. at the time,” Fisher recalled. “I’ve been a strong proponent of wool ever since my time there at the warehouse. In 1993 or 1994, I came back to the ranch full time and I’ve been ranching ever since. The only other job I’ve had in that time was a series of free jobs in the sheep industry.”
Those “free” jobs included serving as secretary/treasurer, vice president and president for ASI, leading ASI’s Wool Council and serving on the Wool Roundtable. Fisher was also president of the Texas Sheep and Goat Raisers Association and still serves on the boards of the National Sheep Industry Improvement Center and the Sheep Heritage Foundation. Also still a member of the Wool Roundtable, he abstained from the vote when members nominated him for the Wool Excellence Award.
“I was kind of surprised,” he said. “I had lobbied for other folks to receive the award, so I wasn’t expecting them to nominate me. I guess I felt like I might be worthy of the award someday. I just didn’t think this was the year.”
In the eyes of fellow Texan Pierce Miller, the award is long overdue.
“Glen has been able to see the big picture and really helped to push the industry forward,” he said. “When you get into a national position like he did with ASI and the Wool Council, you can’t think just about Texas anymore. You have to work toward programs that are good for the entire country. It’s not easy to make decisions that might not be the best for your home state, but are the best for everyone overall. Glen was able to do that. In addition, his wife, Linda, is a great lady and a tremendous supporter of both Glen and the sheep industry.”
Fisher was instrumental in one of the most important developments in recent history of American wool when the Sheep Venture Company brought the Superwash treatment line into production in South Carolina. The process allows wool to be washed and tumble dried without shrinking. Fisher continues to serve on the board of the Sheep Venture Company, and is currently SVC’s vice president.
These days, Fisher has turned most of the ranching duties over to his children – David and Tammy.
“I tell people that it’s been difficult for me to not be working all the time anymore,” Fisher said. “But I’m getting better at it every day. I’m really humbled by this award. I still believe that I got more out of the industry than I ever put into it.”
Tickets for the Wool Recognition Lunch on Jan. 26 are $40 each and available when registering for the convention.