Established in 2001, the Guard Dog Program utilizes the recommendations and donations of dedicated industry individuals to address a variety of issues. We hope you enjoy learning about these individuals, their businesses and their foresight for the U.S. sheep industry.
Name: Joe Mattos
Family: Wife, Val, assists with the sheep operation.
Location: IOU Sheep Co. in Visalia, Calif.
Operation: IOU Sheep Co. was established in 1978 with 2,500 head of sheep. Since that time, Mattos has grown his operation to 10,000 head of Rambouillet-crossbred sheep. He also custom-feeds lambs for other producers during the winter.
Why are you an ASI Guard Dog member? ?I decided to get involved with the Guard Dog program because the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) has helped the sheep industry in so many ways.?
How do you think the industry has benefited from the Guard Dog funds? ?If it wasn?t for ASI, producers wouldn?t have some of the beneficial programs for their sheep operation, such as the ewe-lamb payment. I see ASI as being a big boost to the sheep industry, now, when the markets are good, and especially when the markets have been bad.?
What are the industry?s needs in the future? ?I think a key issue for the future of the sheep industry is to keep tabs on the lamb imports allowed into the country.?
Name: Meike Ranch, Inc.
Family: Meike Ranch, Inc. is a family corporation consisting of five major stockholders, who are brothers and sisters. They are Peter Meike, Don Meike, Barbara Wolcott, Emma Koch and Helen Keeler. Their nieces, nephews and ranch employees are also stockholders in the ranch.
Location: Kaycee, Wyo.
Operation: Meike Ranch was established in 1902 by the Meike?s grandfather. Since that time, the ranch has developed into a sheep and cattle operation. They have 2,500 white-face, Rambouillet-crossbred ewes bred to Suffolk rams. Their entire lamb crop is sold and they purchase replacement ewes each year. The operation also tends to 1,200 mother cows.
Why are you an ASI Guard Dog member? ?We have always been interested in the sheep industry and the politics that go along with it. Being a past president of the National Wool Growers, I have been active in the political arena of the sheep industry and can?t seem to get it out of my blood. I like to stay on top of the political concerns of the industry.?
How do you think the industry has benefited from the Guard Dog funds? ?I know how difficult it is to receive funding for political work. The programs that have been developed because of these funds, such as the ewe-lamb replacement program, have been a benefit for the industry.?
What are the industry?s needs in the future? ?I would like to see these funds used to decrease the regulations we have on private land. I also think we should be concerned about the endangered species act. We should get it under control so that it does not plaque producers with items such as the grizzly bear, wolf or sage grouse. We have won some battles in this area and I?m hoping to win some more.?