Tough Times In the Sheep Industry
Lawmakers on the U.S. House Agriculture Committee say the USDA should provide aid to sheep producers hit hard by COVID-19. It was tough in the sheep industry even before the COVID-19 pandemic. Just the pandemic alone is expected to cost the industry $350 million. Making the situation even worse was the announcement that a processing facility in Greely Colorado was sold and the new owner was going to convert it to a beef processing plant.
That plant in Colorado used to process 20 percent of the sheep in the United States. The Lawmakers in a letter said the USDA should "use all available authorities and funding" to help sheep producers find alternative processing and marketing outlets. Plus, western senators have asked the Justice Department to open an antitrust investigation into the purchase of the processing plant.
There are many sheep producers in Minnesota with smaller flocks. Plus, it seems like there are more sheep every year at county fairs being shown by 4-H and FFA members. Not having a plant to process these animals will have a big impact on these families too. Will they be able to afford to take care of sheep if there is no processing plant to recover some of the costs of feeding the sheep?