American Sheep Industry Adds Billions to U.S. Economy


DENVER – The American Sheep Industry Association released its 2017 Economic Impact Study, showing that the nation's 88,000 sheep producers generated a total economic impact of $5.8 billion in 2016. With over $500 million in farm gate receipts for sheep and lambs, value added from processing, wool, and retail; the American sheep industry contributes over $2 billion directly to the U.S. economy, with a multiplier impact of nearly three times the initial investment. Through the commission of this study and periodic updates, Peter Orwick, Executive Director of the American Sheep Industry Association says the industry is better able to evaluate its role as a part of the larger agricultural economy.

“The American sheep industry is a major sector of livestock production in the United States,” said Orwick. “From large scale operations in the west, on private and public lands, to smaller farm flocks in the east, raising sheep and wool fosters economic growth that supports rural communities and provides food and fiber for the nation.”

In addition to the monetary economic impact, the study also found that every job in sheep production supported nearly a second full time position in foodservice, retail, or fabrication.

“As small business operators, we have long understood the importance of animal agriculture to the U.S. economy,” said Orwick. “Not only do sheep producers purchase feed and agricultural equipment, they are engaged in every aspect of commerce in their communities. By purchasing U.S. lamb and wool, consumers are supporting jobs and families throughout the nation.”

The updated numbers demonstrate to consumers and legislators how important the sheep industry remains to American agriculture, especially as debate begins on the next farm bill.

“This study reinforces the significance of the sheep industry to the U.S. economy,” said Orwick. “While disaster assistance and safety net programs remain top priorities, keeping U.S. sheep producers competitive worldwide and export promotion programs are also important in building and maintaining opportunity for greater economic growth.”

While the updated study followed closely with prior findings, further market consolidation was noted, offset economically by increases in hosiery exports, lanolin and wool values contributed to increased values.



ASI is an equal opportunity employer. It is the national trade organization supported by 45 state sheep associations, benefiting the interests of more than 88,000 sheep producers.

 Picture: Northern Ag Network

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