U.S. Sheep Industry Excited About 2011


“Expanding on an Epic Year” is the theme of the 2011 American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) and National Lamb Feeders Association (NLFA) Annual Convention in Reno, Nevada.

Record high lamb and wool prices in 2010 and the continuation of these higher prices in 2011 are also fueling a record attendance at the ASI convention.

Nationwide there are 82,000 operations that raise 5.63 million head of sheep each year. And sheep are raised in all 50 states.

This week Russell Nemetz is covering the ASI/NLFA convention in Reno. On Wednesday, he spoke with ASI Executive Director Peter Orwick about the convention, markets, issues and more.


The ASI is hoping to capitalize on this recent enthusiasm by encouraging more young people to get involved with the U.S. sheep industry.

On Wednesday, members of the ASI Execuitve Board met in Reno and talked about many different items including this.

Like other segments of American agriculture, the average age of the sheep rancher is getting older. Members of the ASI Executive Board were quick to point out that they need more young people in the business if it’s going to continue to be viable.

They talked about the success stories that the American Farm Bureau Federation and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association have with their young producer programs and if ASI can’t take mirror them and do something similar.

After the meeting, Russell Nemetz spoke with Burdell Johnson, the immediate past president of the American Sheep Industry Association.


A shared concern over the need to increase lamb and wool production to ensure companies can operate in the future brought about the appointment of a committee in 2009 to look at ways to re-build the sheep inventory in the United States.

“Lamb, wool and pelt companies, along with feedlots, farms and ranches, depend on production, and it is timely to seek out additional ways to strengthen the industry,” commented Glen Fisher (Texas), president for the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI). “The committee is tasked with the goal of identifying priority issues to increase sheep production and match those with realistic means to implement changes.”

Clint Krebs is a rancher from Pendleton, Oregon and is the “Re-Build the Sheep Inventory Committee” chairman.

In Reno, Russell Nemetz interviewed Clint about the committee’s goals and how they plan on reaching them.


On Thursday, it was standing room only during the the Bighorn Sheep Taskforce Committee meeting. Clearly, the co-mingling of domesic sheep and bighorn sheep on the western ranges is an emotional issue for all parties involved.

After the meeting, Russell Nemetz spoke with the ASI’s Vice-President Margaret Soulen-Hinson, a producer from Weiser, Idaho about this issue.


The ASI/NLFA Convention concludes January 22, 2011 with the National Make it with Wool Fashion Show.

Source: Northern Ag Network

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