June 2005 -- In a written response from the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), American Sheep Industry Association President Paul Frischknecht was informed that generating a Sheep Inventory Report, which provides sheep data for all 50 states, was not viable at this time. NASS stated that the minimum number of sheep in the states that are not individually reported makes it impracticable to attempt to report all categories of sheep in these states.
Current NASS reporting provides sheep numbers for only 33 individual states. Inventory numbers for Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont are combined into a ?New England? category. A second category entitled ?Other States? makes up the inventories from an additional 11 states, which include: Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and South Carolina.
NASS points out in the reply that 98.3 percent of the U.S. sheep inventory is covered in the published states, including the six states published together as ?New England.? Selected inventory items are provided for these six individual states by the New England State Statistical Office and posted on the NASS Web site. In review of this inventory information, the data is limited to a single, combined sheep and lamb inventory number for each state.
The ?Other States? category accounts for 1.7 percent of the U.S. sheep inventory, or 101,500 of 6,135,000 sheep in the United States.
NASS continues by stating, ?The difficulty in providing sheep estimates for the additional 11 states becomes apparent when you look at all the various category estimates that are set for market and breeding sheep. Each estimate is based on data from a relatively small number of reports in these 11 states. Therefore, the data are very difficult to statistically defend at the state level. Confidentiality problems also arise when data are obtained from only a few producers in the state.?
?This explanation provided by NASS as to why they do not publish individual estimates for all 50 states is frustrating to sheep producers,? states Frischknecht. ?Industry leaders would like to have statistical data in these states to be able to analyze the growth of the industry.?