February 4, 2005
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FEBRUARY 4, 2005
SHEEP NUMBERS INCREASE FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 1990
For More Information Contact:
Peter Orwick (303) 771-3500, ext. 33 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Judy Malone (303) 771-3500, ext. 35, or email@example.com
Amy Conner (303) 771-3500, ext. 55, or firstname.lastname@example.org
Denver, Colo. ? U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary Jim Butler delivered spectacular news to participants at the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) annual convention last week, when he announced that the number of replacement lambs under one year of age had increased 10 percent over the last year. Butler provided this information from the newly published Sheep and Goats Report released last week by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).
As of January 1, 2005, replacement lambs under one year increased from 702,000 in 2004 to 771,000 in 2005, an increase of 10 percent.
?Reports of growth in sheep numbers is great news for the entire industry and hits a priority goal of ASI to strengthen our industry,? stated Peter Orwick, ASI executive director. ?It is gratifying to see such positive results in the lamb and wool business from the nine different incentive programs that ASI has provided over the last four years, including the retained breeding ewe-lamb program.
?Industry leaders have committed vast resources to incentives and national programs in an effort to grow the U.S. sheep business, so this announcement of an increase in the inventory numbers was very positively received,? continued Orwick. ?The last time the industry experienced a boost in the inventory was back in 1990. More sheep strengthens all sectors of the industry from suppliers to lamb and wool processors and sheep seedstock producers.?
Drought conditions that hammered sheep country in recent years have lessened in many areas, allowing ranchers to expand sheep numbers. Strong live-lamb returns since late 2002, combined with ASI programs, restored optimism for producers to increase their flock size.
Confirmation of better times for the wool sector also was evident in the NASS report. Over the last 12 months, wool prices have improved. The average price paid for wool sold in 2004 was $0.80 per pound, up from $0.73 per pound last year. Value of U.S. wool sold in 2004 increased 6 percent.
"We are proud that our wool marketing programs implemented in 2001 have helped drive competitive pricing for U.S. wool,? added Orwick. ?We have helped build a customer base in the United States as well as internationally, with our wool being exported to a dozen countries around the world."
ASI is a national trade organization supported by 42 state sheep associations, benefiting the interests of nearly 67,000 sheep producers.