The disappearing sheep

Summer Sheep Farm

Photo by Flickr user Photo Dean, used under a Creative Commons license (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Yesterday Luke Runyon of Harvest Public Media reported on the shrinking sheep industry here in the US. As he writes,

Over the last 20 years, the number of sheep in this country has been cut in half. In fact, the number has been declining since the late 1940s, when the American sheep industry hit its peak. Today, the domestic sheep herd is one-tenth the size it was during World War II.

The decline is the result of economic and cultural factors coming together. And it has left ranchers to wonder, “When are we going to hit the bottom?”

Runyon details some of the difficulties facing domestic sheep ranchers, including the displacement of wool by cheap synthetic fibers and — echoing Monday’s post about grass-fed beef from down under — competition from Australia and New Zealand. Check out the full post here.

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