Drought impacts top of mind for sheep producers


Drought impacts top of mind for sheep producers

Persistent drought in the US was one cause of a significantly large mature sheep harvest in 2021, making the current US drought scenario top of mind for sheep producers.

American Sheep Industry Association Executive Director Peter Orwick tells Brownfield earlier this month, several of their producer members met with the Farm Service Agency Administrator in Washington DC.

“You could certainly tell by the interaction between the producers and the agency, drought was top of mind. They are still looking if there are any more improvements or efficiencies they can provide, whether it is livestock forage or the ELAP (Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-raised Fish) programs.”

Orwick says producers in the high sheep production area of the inner mountain west are struggling with access to adequate grass.  

“And there are certain areas where they may have grass, but they rely on surface water and if you don’t have runoff, then you are short of water.”

Texas and California were the top two sheep and lamb producing states in 2021 and the current US Drought Monitor shows the entire state of California and more than 80% of Texas are experiencing some level of drought.