Although there was an overall decline in sheep numbers, just like there has been in other sheep producing countries around the world, there were bright spots in the report with several states reporting increases in sheep and lamb numbers, including California, Kentucky, Tennessee, Utah, Ohio and North Carolina.
The 2008 lamb crop of 3.71 million head was down 5 percent from 2007. This number was higher than many in the industry expected. Late spring lambing was particularly difficult in many western states because of storms, drought, predators and other unexpected challenges.
Shorn wool production in the United States during 2008 was 33.0 million pounds, down 5 percent from 2007. However, the total value of the 2008 wool clip was up 7 percent, to $32.5 million from $30.2 million in 2007.
The full report can be accessed at http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda/current/SheeGoat/SheeGoat-01-30-2009.pdf.