CAN YOU HELP WITH SOME INFORMATION ON YOUR SHEEP FARM?

The Old Ram-Australia

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G'day Sheep Farmers.I am seeking some data on sheep farmers in the US and I hope some of you can fill in the gaps for me.
1.how many breeder ewes do you have,wool or meat?
2. Is your sheep enterprise your main source of income? Or does it produce a additional income stream for your regular job?
3. Where is your sales market,local ,food-service or retail supermarket?
4.Are your sales impacted by imports from Aus/NZ?
5.Have you in recent years 'lost' your local slaughter-house?
6.Has the local auction barn closed or moved further away in recent years?

You can if you wish reply to me a fegan@live.co.au or just post the info here.

I am more than happy to post details of our sheep farming operation if any of you have questions about our farm Downunder......T.O.R.
 
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Baymule

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1. I started with 4 ewes, adding 2 ewe lambs to the flock. They are Dorper/Katahdin crosses. I have 1 Dorper ram. They are hair sheep.
2. We are newly retired. Our sheep are not our main source of income. We are looking to build our flock as an additional income.
3. We sold 3 lambs, our first ones. We sold to local people, direct sales. The lambs were sold as slaughtered, priced as hanging weight.
4. Imports from NZ/Aus have no impact on our farm.
5. Our local slaughter houses, custom and USDA, are booked and you have to make appointments a few months ahead of time.
6. Auction barns that closed did so 10-20 years ago. There is no longer an auction barn in each county. The auction barns that remain are busy. Some areas are better for sheep and goats than others, depending on what type of livestock is prevalent in that area. Sulphur Springs, several counties away has a booming auction barn for dairy cattle because dairy is the main livestock for that area. Sheep and goat auctions are better in west Texas because the land is better suited for them than cattle, although there is a large cattle population in west Texas. There are a few auction barns that specialize in horses.
 

norseofcourse

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G'day Sheep Farmers.I am seeking some data on sheep farmers in the US and I hope some of you can fill in the gaps for me.
That's a big task - and a difficult one! When I went to "Ohio Sheep Day" a couple years ago, they said the fastest growing segment of sheep owners were small, backyard-type flocks, people with a few acres (like me). And I believe that. The difficult thing is, there is no easy way to track or get statistics on this growing segment. Many of them 'fly under the radar' - they have no farm income (or count it as 'hobby income', or don't report it at all). They don't participate in the USDA's Census of Agriculture. They don't pay lamb check-offs or wool check-offs. They don't register for the Scrapie program. I understand some of the reasons, but it makes it hard to find out how many of these small producers/owners are out there, and what impact they have, and how to best help them - with education and resources.

1.how many breeder ewes do you have,wool or meat?
Currently 4 breeder ewes, although I'm probably keeping a ewe lamb from this year, so it'll be 5. They are for both wool and meat (and I also do some milking).

2. Is your sheep enterprise your main source of income? Or does it produce a additional income stream for your regular job?
No, it's not a main source of income. I am hoping it will eventually generate enough income to cover the expenses, and even show a bit of a profit. If I generate enough farm income, I can also apply for lowered property taxes on most of my acreage, too.

3. Where is your sales market,local ,food-service or retail supermarket?
For lamb - sales to individuals, selling whole lambs based on hanging weight at the processor. Fiber and sheeps-milk soap - selling to handspinners and others at fiber shows, occasional craft shows, and eventually online.

4.Are your sales impacted by imports from Aus/NZ?
No.

5.Have you in recent years 'lost' your local slaughter-house?
No, although one burned down and they rebuilt further away.

6.Has the local auction barn closed or moved further away in recent years?
No, but the nearest one is over an hour from me, if not further. I don't buy or sell sheep or lambs there.
 

Ponker

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1. I have 7 breeding ewes and 3 rams. They are purebred Finnsheep, a wool breed with a small niche meat market.
2. We are just retired and have been in operation one year. Our business plan puits us at break even for three years and then we will generate a steady but small income. It will be an additional income stream.
3. The market for Finnsheep comes from local meat breeders looking to increase lambing percentages with an influx of Finnsheep genes, national Finnsheep flocks looking for additional lambs for breeding stock, a niche meat market, and wool sales to handspinners through direct sales and internet.
4. Imports of sperms from NZ rams is a big bonus for the Finnsheep community. There is always interest in adding more genetics to widen the gene pool. A flock with NZ ram AI lambs can demand a premium.
5. There are plenty of local slaughterhouses here in the Ozarks.
6. There are several in the area that have been in business for years. As Baymule said, some are better than others for whatever livestock you're looking for.

I am interested in your sheep operation. I enjoy reading your posts. I always learn something.
 

The Old Ram-Australia

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G'day to you all,I have got some 'really' interesting info from a friend in the U.S.A. on the subject.

"The number of sheep in the U.S. as of June 1, 2016 was just under 5 million. Within-the-margin-of-error USDA's Econ. Research Service statistics put it at 5 million. 4.8 to 5.32 million are where some official and unofficial stats hover, but I'm sticking with 5 million.

The number of sheep operations is claimed by some at 81,000. But according to the USDA-ERS I think it's now a little less than that, at 79,500, more or less.

5 million head divided by 79,500 equals 62.9 sheep per sheep operation, on average.

One has to balance that low inventory per farm with this fact: Of the total, well over 90 percent now have fewer than 100 ewes.

Further, there are now fewer than 200 operations with over 5,000 ewes. And only about 1 percent of the total have more than 1,000 ewes. I think only about 3 percent of operations have 300 to 1,000 ewes--starting to get toward the "paying potential" point under conventional production and pricing, if some costs are covered by inherited land or inexpensive lease allotments.
Yet not all the smaller operators are "dabblers and hobbyists." A significant number have been in sheep for more than 60 years. Most have been in for at least 15 years. And many of them used to have thousands of head.

Small operations could pay sharp operators here. There are all sorts of ways to make money with sheep in the U.S.

I knew a lady who annually made $17,000 on 22 sheep in a suburb of Boston, Mass., in her spare time, and it paid the taxes on her husband's outside employment.She made most of that money selling craft wools to the Boston markets, and lambs for the freezer to people at her church.

Not a bad profit at all for so few sheep and a relatively small land investment.

But it begins to call into question whether one is in the sheep biz or the crafts biz, or the middleman biz. Unless profit margins are high, a once-a-year crop can't stay afloat competing in a "fast stock turn-over" biz like urban retail marketing."

Comments from the group?

There are some other points he made and I will add them to the next post.....T.O.R.
 

Sheepshape

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The statistics rather surprise me....them I am from across the Pond.

Wales has a human population of under 3 million and a sheep population of over 10 million....sheep are everywhere. That unfortunately means that they don't sell for much at the markets unless they are champion lines.

I'll watch this thread with interest.
 

Mini Horses

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Sounds like many of the "farmers" have retired and thus maintain a small flock, others may be just beginning, most are probably just raising a few for the adventure and a small source of additional income.

I feel certain there are those unaccounted for who maintain a few head and are satisfied to cover costs, have good lamb to eat and possibly a little extra for other use. Some of these types just got tired of the "rat race" & retired to eeek out a life on a little plot of land. These souls are not looking for a big business herd.
 

The Old Ram-Australia

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G'day,I will post my views on the topic soon,but for now here is some more of the views of my friend

"In the U.S. growers are paying a "check-off" (a deceptive term for a "sheep tax") to promote sheep meat consumption in the U.S.

But the U.S. doesn't have the volume to supply the goods it's advertising: U.S. production dropped since promotion started. The vaunted increase in sales claimed to be a result of the "check-off" can therefore only be fulfilled by increased imports.

This means Americans are eating more sheep meat, probably due to American growers promoting lamb.

But the added volume of sheep meat they're eating comes from Australia and New Zealand.

Our growers are therefore paying to increase demand only for offshore sources.

Now if importers (Aus. & N.Z. sourced) were the ones promoting, but ended up selling less due to rising U.S. production, would that be bad for American growers, according to your correspondents way of thinking?

I don't see how those guys' arguments hold up. We need more growers, but it won't happen until people buy more U.S. product. That won't happen until we address their main complaints about U.S. sheep meat."

He has also had something to say about the exports from Aussie to Britain,but the 'bloody stuff wont copy and paste',so I will have to type it next post....T.O.R.
 

NH homesteader

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This is interesting. I'm considering hair sheep in the spring (Katahdins), but I'm the homesteader type who wants about 5 sheep to have meat for us and sell the extra. But if it goes well, I am in no way opposed to expanding so I'll be watching this thread!
 
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