DR. SCOTT P. GREINER
Prices for market lambs in the fall of 2010 reached historic highs. Total numbers of sheep in the U.S. have been in decline for some 50 years while the population of ethnic minorities that prefer fresh lamb has been on the rise. In particular, immigrants from Africa and southern Asia have traditions and beliefs about how lamb should be prepared and consumed that result in their need for fresh domestically-produced lamb, mutton, and chevon (goat meat).
Most of the sheep and goats in the Mid Atlantic region are held in small flocks of under 70 ewes. These are part-time enterprises that fulfill lifestyle goals as well as providing supplemental income. The historically high prices received for lambs has prompted many people to consider either expanding existing flocks or starting new flocks of sheep.