NASS Reinstates Sheep Inventory Report
(January 1, 2012) The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) confirmed in mid December that it has reinstated the collecting of data for the January Sheep Report. In a press release, NASS stated that it recognizes the importance of NASS’s data products and services to U.S. agriculture.
Earlier this year, NASS announced it was discontinuing the January Sheep Inventory Report for the midyear report and then announced eliminating annual sheep reports altogether. The sheep inventory count has been conducted since the 1860s.
“We appreciate all of the industry emails sent to NASS encouraging the continuation of this important sheep report,” comments Peter Orwick, executive director for the American Sheep Industry Association. “I would encourage all producers who are surveyed to take the time to respond in an effort to assure the highest level of validity of this report.”
In 2011, the sheep industry experienced the most dramatic shift in breeding sheep numbers seen in the past 15 years. Because of the drought in Texas, projections indicate that hundreds of thousands of breeding sheep from the nation’s largest sheep-producing state have been exported to farms as far east as Tennessee, north to Idaho and Wisconsin and west to California. The January 2012 report will help analysts document this large shift in sheep numbers and allow companies to make decisions on product marketing and lamb and wool procurement.
Additionally, in January of last year, the sheep industry launched a nationwide campaign to increase sheep numbers to meet the increased demand for lamb and wool. As ewe lambs are being retained to build up sheep flocks and new farms join the sheep business, the annual sheep inventory report will be important for state organizations as they provide services to this growing industry.
Data collection began Dec. 23 with a report date of Jan. 27.
NASS will publish a Federal Register notice reflecting this program change.