Trends in the U.S. Sheep Industry

The U.S. sheep industry has changed greatly since the end of World War II. Both sheep meat and wool production have seen rapid declines. So, too, have revenues and the number of sheep operations. The wool industry has suffered from increased use of synthetic fivers, which were found to be less expensive than wool and, when blended with natural fibers, more attractive to consumers. Historically, lamb meat was a byproduct of the wool industry, but wool's decline has changed that. Lamb meat production became the emphasis of the sheep industry, but lamb prices have been unable to support a recovery in the sheep industry. U.S. lamb production continues to decline, but with lamb meat imports filling in, expansion and diversification of demand for this meat offers hope for recovery of the U.S. sheep industry.

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Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 787

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2020-10-28

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