Tips for Squeezing Every Drop of Profit From Your Small Ruminant Herd

From July of 2015, here's some timeless advice for making the most of every product your herd can provide. There used to be a time when keeping a respectable flock of sheep or herd of goats offered an acceptable return by simply sending  yearlings and culls to the local auction and possibly capitalizing off the fiber.  But according to a report from the Economic Research Service of the USDA, the US sheep and wool industry has been in steep decline since the end of World War II due to the introduction of less expensive synthetic fibers and a growing import of meat lambs. (Jones, January 2004) More recently, the National Agricultural Statistics Service cited a decline in both the national sheep and goat numbers. (NASS, February 2013) Yet small ruminants continue to grow as the stock of choice for small acreages and direct marketers willing to get creative with multiple aspects of the value chain. Typically, sheep and goats have been pigeon-holed into their respective revenue silos—milk, meat, fiber—but with rising input costs (feed, fuel, land, infrastructure, etc.), producers can no longer afford to be satisfied with what the commodity markets offer. The need for better return combined with an increase of women and older farmers choosing smaller, more manageable livestock has resulted in new and innovative ways to increase profitability from small ruminants by creating multiple revenue streams from a single flock/herd. Getting Started—Think Outside the Pas

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One thought on “Tips for Squeezing Every Drop of Profit From Your Small Ruminant Herd

  1. Surveys usually fail to ask the real questions on why sheep numbers declined. The answer, at least in my area, is predators. Ranch after ranch has been forced out after years of losing most of the lamb crop and sometimes adults. Many are now in grapes, sold for huge unproductive homesites, or now run cattle. And former ranchers are not surveyed.

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