June 2005 -- Increasing their knowledge base of producing sheep was the goal of a recent trip of Mexican visitors to the United States. Dwight and Sharon Tisdale of Kimball, Neb., played host to the five Mexican sheep producers and provided them with numerous opportunities to learn about the U.S. lamb and wool industries.
The five sheep producers belong to a cooperative association of agriculture people in the state of San Luis Potosi, in central Mexico. They were lucky enough to receive grant money from their state to improve their sheep operations. A portion of that grant money was used on an educational component, in which the Tisdale?s became involved.
The Mexican producers raise Polypay sheep and wanted to learn more about the lamb and wool production of this breed. The Tisdale?s provided them the opportunity they were seeking.
?We have been helping them market their breeding sheep,? says Dwight. ?Polypay sheep perform very well down there. In fact, there is an opportunity to supply producers in that area with thousands of sheep; there are many people wanting to get into the business.?
However, the closure of the U.S.-Mexican border prevents the Tisdale?s from shipping sheep to San Luis Potosi.
Some of the highlights of their recent trip to the United States were: touring a grain elevator and irrigated farm; seeing how a sheep and cattle feedlot operates; visiting an alfalfa pellet mill; touring the Monfort slaughter facility in Greeley, Colo.; learning the wool-grading process at Yocum-McColl Testing Laboratories, Inc.; experiencing pen lambing at Sperry Livestock in Delta, Colo.; and a stop at the American Sheep Industry Association office in Denver, Colo.
?They were excited about the trip and learned a great deal,? says Dwight. ?Not only did they learn how a slaughter facility operates, they also learned how to better market their wool and that they should be receiving more money for their sheep?s pelt.?