Challenges Facing Shearers and Crews
May 23, 2014

According to information from the Wool Quality Improvement Department at the American Sheep Industry Association, shearers and shearing crew bosses continue to face challenges and obstacles when it comes to getting the job done.

Due to increased age and retirements, there is a short supply of experienced domestic shearers. Beginning and intermediate shearers are available; however, their skill level is not equal to that of the more experiences workers, resulting in shearing crews shearing fewer sheep per day. With fewer sheep being sheared on a daily basis, crews are required to run a longer season, thus increasing overall costs for fuel, equipment, travel, meals, etc.

All crew bosses who utilize foreign labor say those workers' ability to obtain visas in a timely manner is becoming more difficult. An increased demand of required paperwork being imposed by the Department of Labor, Immigration Enforcement and state agencies is also time consuming. In additional to documentation difficulties, the size of the ewes and rams in the United States continue to increase, causing some foreign workers to make the decision not to return to the United States to work.