- March 2014
- President’s Notes
- Market Report
- New Farm Bill Signed Into Law With Sheep Provisions
- ASI Convention – Record Attendance in Charleston
- Legislative Council Hears From Richards
- Lamb Roadmap Discussions Vary
- Virus Still a Bighorn Issue
- Board of Directors Elect Wixom, Ward
- Avalos Cites Value of Market News
- Parasites a Growing Problem for U.S.
- PERC is Updated on Research Voids
- Heritage Foundation Looks to 2015
- Sheep Improvement Making Strides
- Wool’s Role in Military Wear Explored
- Pasture and Range Improvement Stressed
- ‘Ewe Read’ Gathers Input from Attendees
- Dedication to Sheep Industry
- Wool Excellence Awards
- Make It With Wool Contestants Wow Crowd
- Scanner May be the Wool Tool of Future
- Near Infrared Spectrometry May Help Separate U.S. Wool from Foreign Wool
To View the March 2014 Digital Issue — Click Here
Let’s Recognize Our History by Sharing Sheep Stories
By Clint Krebs
I like the history of raising sheep, and over the next few months I will try to relate a few of the historical events that I have found interesting. I also know there are many other stories out there, so I am asking you to send your stories – either to me or to Ralph with Sheep Industry News (firstname.lastname@example.org). Taking this approach, I am guessing we will learn a good deal about our industry’s history over the next several months.
I don’t have to look far for history. Our ranch is on the Oregon Trail, and there are still visible ruts from the covered wagons that travelled across this part of the country 170-plus years ago.
The Oregon Trail immigrants were headed to the fertile Willamette Valley because my part of the Oregon Territory – the eastern two-thirds – is anything but fertile. One Scottish immigrant wrote in his diary after camping near where I live, “If this God-forsaken hell be the Oregon Country, then the lord has allowed me to make the biggest mistake of my life.”
Once the railroads were completed, wool quickly became king in Oregon. The now-deserted town of Shaniko, with its own, “specifically built branch railroad line,” shipped millions of pounds of wool, primarily to manufactures on the east coast.
Soon there became too many sheep in the Oregon Country, and people decided to trail them back east to find markets for their breeding stock, and also for mutton. They would sell what they could along the way to whoever had money, but the further east they went the more the sheep were worth. Everyone has probably heard of the cattle drives from Texas into the railheads in Kansas. The numbers of cattle trailed were very small as compared to the hundreds of thousands of sheep which left Oregon and trailed east, some as far as Ohio.
I have read that Christopher Columbus brought sheep to North America on his second voyage. I have heard the Merino in Australia originated in Vermont. I know the missions in California had many sheep, so I hope to hear stories from around the country about our history. If I don’t hear from you I will be forced to make things up.
CIRCLING BACK to more recent history, people asked me at this year’s convention what it was like being president, and if being president takes up a lot of time. I told them that my job was to listen, which I try very hard to accomplish.
Generally, people are eager to tell me about what is being done correctly and occasionally they point out areas where improvement could be made. This is actually a very good process, because I had four people tell me in Charleston that, unlike the sewn in labels on the back of my shirts that say Pendleton or Ralph Lauren that should never be removed, (and I had done that correctly) the labels straight-pinned to the front of my shirt that read “Friday morning” or “Saturday night” should be removed.
Apparently, I had done this incorrectly, but lucky for me there weren’t more than four people in the elevator.