The inaugural meeting of the committee to re-build the industry was conducted in Colorado on Nov. 10 and 11, 2009, with active discussion on the need to halt declines in sheep industry production. Chairman Guy Flora, a producer from Ohio, relayed that the members agreed continued declines in production threatens the industries infrastructure, including lamb and wool processing, and industry services such as trucking.
"I felt that the discussions were open and honest with only one agenda-to help increase the sheep inventory and, therefore, production of our products in the United States," stated Flora. "We had lamb processors sitting next to producers sitting next to those in the wool trade all sharing information from their specific sectors of the industry."
Some general themes the committee is considering as it begins its work revolve around talking up the positive attributes of the sheep industry and the sustainability of our products, farms, ranches and companies.
"Two days of discussions revealed that there are a lot of ideas to get on the table and a great many topics to be explored by the committee," concluded Flora. "Additionally, the committee began scheduling future conference calls and meetings for December and January as well as identifying individuals it wants to meet with and programs it wants to explore."
The committee approved an industry survey to be conducted this fall to gather more information on sheep industry plans and industry input for ways to strengthen numbers.