Wyoming's sheep industry is alive and thriving, according to a new report on the state's sheep production by University of Wyoming researchers.
The team found that the industry is robust and will be a vital part of the state's economy for many years to come, they conclude in the report, "State of Wyoming Sheep Industry" just completed.
Many Wyoming ranchers continue to receive a large portion of their livestock income from sheep production, the survey discloses.
"Livestock is an important industry for the state and provides a lot of jobs and revenue," says Brenda Alexander, UW Department of Animal Science assistant professor in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
"There are certainly many places in the state that are particularly suited for sheep production. In Wyoming, there is a strong sheep heritage."
However, the study reveals that with 25% of the state's sheep ranchers over the age of 65, an influx of younger producers is essential to maintain the future vitality of production of wool and sheep meat in the state.
"We have students all the time who are interested in sheep," says Alexander. "During this four-year USDA grant (to probe sheep industry vitality) I had two student interns who were going to raise sheep after they graduated. Will there be enough? I don't know, but I hope so."
The study also found profitability is affected most by feed sources, ram libido and predation.
The study was funded under USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The National Agricultural Statistics Service distributed the survey, written up by Alexander.
Other UW contributors conducted further research and analyzed the data.
The report is available for free downloading from the UW Extension by going to www.uwyo.edu/ces and clicking on "Publications" on the left side of the page. Search for Bulletins and type B-1229 in the Publication Field, and click on open to read or print.