AMERICAN SHEEP INDUSTRY WANTS TO GROW THE FLOCK

HEATHER THORSTENSEN

The American Sheep Industry Association wants current sheep owners to grow their flocks and they’re hoping to attract new shepherds in order to meet high demand for lamb and wool.

The goal of the initiative, called “Let’s Grow with twoPLUS,” would have shepherds producing 315,000 more lambs and an additional 2 million pounds of wool by 2014. ASI says this would add $71 million to the pockets of producers through lamb sales and add approximately $3 million from wool.

The strategy asks shepherds to add two ewes to their flock if they have less than 100 sheep, or add two ewes per 100 head, by 2014. It encourages shepherds to increase their flock’s birth rate to two lambs per ewe. Once those lambs are on the ground, it wants to lower the lamb mortality rate to make sure they get to market. It calls for producers to increase their harvested lamb crop by 2 percent.

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ASI CONVENTION TO FOCUS ON YOUNG SHEEP ENTREPRENEURS

The Emerging Sheep Entrepreneurs Committee is hoping to further the growth of the next generation of sheep producers at the 2012 American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) Convention in Scottsdale, Ariz.

The objective of the committee is to put together a program designed to bring relevance to the day-to-day operations of sheep producers between the ages of 25 and 40. Money matters, lending opportunities, profit potential, direct marketing, farm insurance and food safety are just a few of the topic areas being considered.

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PETER ORWICK OPTIMISTIC ABOUT SHEEP INDUSTRY

AMANDA RADKE

Restocking the U.S. sheep industry is the goal of the 2 Plus 2 Program, a national initiative launched by the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI), backed by every major lamb and wool company in the U.S., according to Peter Orwick, ASI executive director.

“The sheep industry is being driven by the increase and demand for lamb around the world,” Orwick said. “All the major metropolitan cities here in the U.S. have immigrants and ethnic communities that prefer lamb. Most folks would be surprised to know that one out of every three lambs in this country goes into this smaller, non-traditional marketing channel such as farmers markets. In addition to buying locally, every religious holiday is huge for us with spikes for lamb demand and prices. A lot of folks think that sheep numbers have declined, but our real focus with the 2 Plus 2 Program is to meet the growing demand for lamb, not increase our flock size.”

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CHANDLER FAMILY ENDS TWICE-A-YEAR JOURNEY OF SHEEP FROM PHOENIX TO WHITE MOUNTAINS AND BACK

The twice-a-year journey of thousands of sheep through the Phoenix metropolitan area has ended after more than a century.

Earlier this month, the Dobson family of suburban Chandler sold about 4,000 sheep to a farm in Casa Grande that typically trucks sheep between seasonal pastures rather than walking them.

Every spring, the Dobson family would take a 220-mile, six-week trip on the Heber-Reno trail. They would walk the trail from Chandler up to the White Mountains and where they would stay through the summer when weather in the Phoenix area is too hot for the woolly sheep.

The family would return with the sheep in the fall when the weather cooled down and the mountains were too cold for the lambs.

But in recent years, overhead costs for the expedition got to be too much.

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BUYING IN SHEEP WITHOUT BUYING IN TROUBLE…

RUSSELL FULLER

As autumn approaches, many sheep flocks will need to buy in replacement ewes or rams.  However, when buying in any sheep, there is always the risk or buying in either diseases or wormer resistance at the same time, even if the seller is well known to you.  Consequently, it is vital that every flock has quarantine procedures set up to make sure that only new sheep arrive on the farm, not new diseases as well.  This article will act as a starting point for setting up quarantine procedures, which should be drawn up alongside a vet, as all too often the sale is only a week before the ram in due to go in…

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BLACK: SHEPHERDING ROUGH, THANKLESS CAREER

BAXTER BLACK

For those of you to whom the phrase “sheep camp” conjures up a pastoral, nostalgic, even romantic vision of shepherds watching over their flocks, I suspect you’ve never slept in one.

Sheep camp, in the real world of shepherding, is the wagon where you sleep, live and eat. It looks like a small covered wagon. There is a built-in bed with storage underneath, a small stove-heater propane unit and a drop-down kitchen cabinet behind. A lantern provides light. The roof could be canvas or fitted tin. The wagon has four tires and a tongue and is usually hauled or pulled to the grazing area. In its heyday, the mid-1900s, sheep camps were as common and handy as Airstream motor homes.

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