February 1, 2013
You may be familiar with cattle roundups, but sheep ranchers have roundups as well. John Helle is a third-generation sheep rancher in Montana. Come summer, John and his crew move thousands of sheep from one pasture area to another. The move provides new grazing land for the livestock and sets the herd in place to be shorn of their wool.
John says that his sheep not only provide wool and meat, but they are used for targeted grazing in controlling several types of invasive weeds. As the flocks are pastured in the early spring, new shoots of the weeds are consumed by the sheep, providing a real environmental benefit.
The Helle family did a great job of showcasing the U.S. sheep industry in their recently aired feature on America's Heartland. To view the video, go to http://americasheartland.org/episodes/episode_820/index.htm.