RAMS sos

Will Jaremko-Wright

Taos County Agricultural Extension Agent, New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service

Rams— What happens when the shepherd quits the herd? Animals vs humans in a zoonotic disease outbreak

Rams touches on several themes relevant to Northern NM, even though it takes place in rural Western Australia: there are sheep, and hardworking people who care deeply for their land and animals, and are sometimes at odds with government policy. This film explores a fictional zoonotic disease outbreak, and the lengths people will go to protect their animals and livelihoods, even when they know better. Will Jaremko-Wright will discuss the parallels with the film and New Mexico, and the way that New Mexico prepares for zoonotic (animal) disease outbreaks, and what responses look like.

Taos Center for the Arts Taos, NM

Film Synopsis

A decades-long feud between two sheep farming brothers comes to a head when disaster strikes their flocks.

    In remote Western Australia, two estranged brothers, Colin (Sam Neill) and Les (Michael Caton), are at war. Raising separate flocks of sheep descended from their family's prized bloodline, the two men work side by side yet are worlds apart. When Les's prize ram is diagnosed with a rare and lethal illness, authorities order a purge of every sheep in the valley. While Colin attempts to stealthily outwit the powers that be, Les opts for angry defiance. But can the warring brothers set aside their differences and have a chance to reunite their family, save their herd, and bring their community back together?

    Photo credit: Signature Entertainment

    About the Speaker

    Will Jaremko-Wright, M.S., is the Taos County Agricultural Extension Agent with New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service. Will received a B.S. in Forestry and a M.S. in Natural Resources Management from New Mexico Highlands University (NMHU). After graduating he worked for the research branch of the US Forest Service and National Park Service researching birds in New Mexico and Arizona and their response to climate change and wildfires. Following that work and prior to extension, Will taught at NMHU for 8 years in the biology and natural resources management programs in classes ranging from ecology to geology and continued his research and monitoring work with birds in agricultural landscapes. He has conducted field work in every county in New Mexico, most of West Texas and every sky island in southern Arizona. He farms and raises livestock with his wife aqui en Ranchos de Taos on the Acequia Madre del Rio Chiquito.