Sheep Industry Development Program

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1 164. The long-term outlook i s not very favorable f o r t h e sheep industry wiless it increases e f f i c i e n c y t o become reasonably p r o f i t a b l e and com- p e t i t i v e i n t h e market. Also, due t o i t s r e l a t i v e economic significance t o our national economy, t h e need f o r a sheep industry i s being questioned. The American public could survive very s a t i s f a c t o r i l y without a sheep industry, b u t t h i s i s aLso t r u e f o r other red meat producing animals. However, I question i f t h i s a f f l u e n t s o c i e t y wants t o deprive i t s e l f of lamb and wool or if it i s l o g i c a l t o t u r n t h i s segment of o m animal a g r i c u l t u r e over t o f o r e i g n markets. Also under present conditions of r a p i d l y expanding population and. food needs i n t h e U. S., t h e significance of t h e s m a l l ruminant i n convert- i n g roughage t o human food should not be discounted. Sheep are a l s o capable of u t i l i z i n g forages not u t i l i z e d by other species of meat animals. Another a t t r i b u t e of sheep which c a n ' t be overlooked because of p o l l u t i o n problems f a c i n g our s o c i e t y i s t h a t they are not s i g n i f i c a n t c o n t r i b u t o r s t o t h e a n i m a l waste-pollution problem when compared t o c a t t l e , swine, and poultry. The sheep industry has considerable t o o f f e r t o OUT s o c i e t y and i t s s u r v i v a l i s important. However, t h e question remains as t o what t h e f u t u r e course of a c t i o n must be t o result i n increased r e t u r n s t o sheep and lamb producers. This w a s t h e reason for i n i t i a t i n g t h e Sheep Industry Development Program. What I w i l l t r y t o do today i s b r i e f l y l a y out how t h e program evolved, i t s objectives, and t h e plan of operation. F i r s t , however, it i s important t o e s t a b l i s h where we are and where we are going i n sheep production and marketing. The sheep industry i s faced with declining production and consumption and t h e problems from t h e consumer standpoint of competing products, t h e f a t and cooking odor problem and p r i c e . The slaughter and processor i s confronted with problems of low volume, high costs, and economic technological developments i n d i c a t i n g geographic s h i f t s i n t h e industry. The sheep producer i s faced with t h e cost-price squeeze, t h e import s i t u a t i o n and many other problems. Running through t h e e n t i r e industry, a t all l e v e l s , are t h e problems of v a r i a b i l i t y of product q u a l i t y and supplies. If wherever t h e r e i s a problem t h e r e i s an equal opportunity, t h e n s u r e l y t h e sheep industry i s faced with a bonanza of opportunities. C e r t a i n l y t h e r e are a number of a l t e r n a t i v e s f o r producing, marketing, processing, and merchandising lamb and wool which may have p o s s i b i l i t i e s . Examples of t h e s e f o r lamb include such t h i n g s as breeding and production of a predominantly meat-type lamb, a l t e r n a t i v e methods of c u t t i n g and preservation, such as smoking, freezing, canning, and others. Further exploration i s needed of uses of lamb i n sausage products and v a r i e t y meats and development of new products from lamb and a l t e r n a t i v e methods of organizing lamb processing. O f major importance t o t h e sheep industry i s assessing and evaluating t h e p o t e n t i a l for some of t h e s e alternatives.

2 165. Generally, two a l t e r n a t i v e s have been l a i d out f o r sheep and lamb. One i s t o produce a r e a d i l y acceptable competitively priced product f o r t h e consumer t h a t w i l l compete with other m e a t and f i b e r products and r e t u r n a p r o f i t t o t h e various segments of t h e industry, including t h e producer. The second a l t e r n a t i v e i s t o accept t h e i d e a t h a t sheep and lamb production and consumption w i U continue t o d e c l i n e and t h a t lamb and wool w i l l have t o be merchandised i n c r e a s i n g l y as s p e c i a l t y items. There i s much information needed before t h e s e a l t e r n a t i v e s can be o b j e c t i v e l y and c o r r e c t l y assessed. This includes production economics, marketing e f f i - ciency, and producer, processor, r e t a i l e r , and consumer a t t i t u d e s and . de s i r e s Undoubtedly, t h e f i r s t a l t e r n a t i v e t o produce and market an acceptable competitively priced product i s most d e s i r a b l e . Assuming t h e n t h a t t h i s i s our o b j e c t i v e as t o where we a r e going or must go, t h e n how are we going t o g e t t h e r e ? F i r s t , d e c i s i o n s must be m a d e a s t o what has t o be done and who can most e f f e c t i v e l y and e f f i c i e n t l y do them. It w i l l r e q u i r e an economically sound, w e l l coordinated, t o t a l i n d u s t r y endeavor t o g e t t h e job done. The Sheep I n d u s t r y Development Program i s a cooperative program j o i n t l y financed by t h e American Sheep Producer's Council and t h e Federal Extension Service. It i s designed t o examine t h e known problems of sheep production and marketing, t o assess p o s s i b l e a l t e r n a t i v e s o l u t i o n s t o t h e s e problems and provide i n d u s t r y g u i d e l i n e s f o r e f f e c t i n g a s o l u t i o n . The program has been divided i n t o a production p r o j e c t and a marketing p r o j e c t . George S c o t t , Extension Sheep S p e c i a l i s t at Colorado S t a t e University, i s giving l e a d e r s h i p t o t h e production p r o j e c t and J. H. Armstrong, Extension Economist a t Pvrdue University, i s giving l e a d e r s h i p t o t h e mwketing p r o j e c t . However, t h e o v e r a l l program i s designed t o involve t h e t o t a l sheep i n d u s t r y i n t h e problem solving process and e v a l u a t i o n of m a t e r i a l s developed. I w i l l not go i n t o d e t a i l on t h e advisory and s t e e r i n g committee s t r u c t u r e e s t a b l i s h ? d and o t h e r methods being used i n an e f f o r t t a involve t h e t o t a l i n d u s t r y i n t h i s program. However, t h e m a t e r i a l s being developed i n t h i s program are being obtained from numerous sources. These include surveys and symposiums t o c o l l e c t d a t a from S t a t e and F e d e r a l Extension and research s e r v i c e s throughout t h e U.S.; a g r i c u l t u r a l census r e p o r t s ; S t a t i s t i c a l Reporting Service; Consumer & Marketing Service and o t h e r USDA Agencies; i n d u s t r i e s , firms, and a s s o c i a t i o n s ; and from personal interviews with i n t e r e s t e d and knowledgeable per sons r e p r e sent ing v a r i o u s sigments of t h e sheep i n d u s t r y . Those p a r t i c i p a t i n g and a c t i v e l y engaged i n t h e program include all n a t i o n a l sheep producer organizations, land g r a n t u n i v e r s i t i e s , and F'ES. I n addition, select groups of college, USDA (ARS, CSRS, C W , e t c . ) , and i n d u s t r y personnel are included t o advise on t h e program i n s p e c i f i c a r e a s . The o b j e c t i v e s of t h e Sheep I n d u s t r y Development Program are: 1) Promote g r e a t e r product use and expanded markets through improved consumer acceptance by improving c a r c a s s q u a l i t y and y i e l d i n terms of trimmed boneless r e t a i l c u t s and improving q u a l i t y of wool; 2) Overcome problems of uneven supply, s m a l l volume, and promotion by i n c r e a s i n g pro- d u c t i o n of lamb at uniform weights throughout a year and increased production of wool; 3) Increase p r o d u c t i v i t y and reduce c o s t per u n i t of production.

3 166. Materials being developed i n production include: 1) A c l a s s i f i c a - t i o n of producers including breeders, growers, and f e e d e r s by type, number, s i z e , and volume (production capacity) throughout t h e country; 2) A n a t i o n a l inventory and c l a s s i f i c a t i o n of important technological and economic t r e n d s , along with 5- t o 8-year p r o j e c t i o n s ; 3) A n a t i o n a l inventory and c l a s s i f i c a - t i o n of problems i n sheep production as generally recognized by i n d u s t r y l e a d e r s ; 4) An inventory and c l a s s i f i c a t i o n of summarized research f i n d i n g s ( t e c h n o l o g i c a l and economic) t h a t may be a2plied t o sheep production and management problems. A set of i n t e n s i f i e d product ion management systems w i l l t h e n be developed based on t h e information compiled. The management systems developed w i l l include purebreed production, production of commercial replacement ewes, f a z m f l o c k production of slaughter lambs, range production of s l a u g h t e r lambs, range production of f e e d e r lambs, and lamb f e e d l o t f i n i s h i n g i n d i f f e r e n t geographical a r e a s . I n developing t h e systems, major c o n s i d e r a t i o n s w i l l be given t o : 1) Unit c o s t of produc- t i o n and r e t u r n on investment; 2) Concentrated volume production of d e s i r e d weights, q u a l i t y , and c a r c a s s y i e l d on a year round b a s i s ; 3) Developing procedures f o r use by producers i n appraising geographical a r e a s having t h e g r e a t e s t comparative advantage f o r sheep production. The information compiled p e r t a i n i n g t o production of sheep i s being p r i n t e d i n i t s o r i g i n a l form f o r use by research, Extension, and o t h e r pro- f e s s i o n a l s d e s i r i n g d e t a i l e d comprehensive d a t a . However, t h e d a t a w i l l be summarized and condensed i n t o a handbook i n a form appropriate f o r use by producers. The m a t e r i a l s being developed i n marketing include: 1) A c l a s s i f i c a t i o n of f i r m s engaged i n marketing and s l a u g h t e r i n g lambs and i n processing and d i s t r i b u t i o n of lamb; 2) A c l a s s i f i c a t i o n of important technological and economic t r e n d s ; 3) A c l a s s i f i c a t i o n of problems i n m a r - k e t i n g sheep and lambs, slaughtering and processing, and d i s t r i b u t i o n of lamb; 4) An inventory and c l a s s i f i c a t i o n of research f i n d i n g s (economic and technological) and o t h e r r e l e v a n t information. T h i s information w i l l be developed and presented i n such a manner as t o provide a frame of reference for study, i n t e r p r e t a t i o n and e v a l u a t i o n of a l t e r n a t i v e courses of a c t i o n with r e s p e c t t o sheep and lamb marketing, slaughtering and processing, and d i s t r i b u t i o n of lamb. Evaluation of t h e m a t e r i a l s prepared under t h i s program w i l l be made through d i s c u s s i o n dialogues, as w e l l as p r e s e n t a t i o n s t o a c r o s s - s e c t i o n of appropriate groups. T h i s w i l l include e v a l u a t i o n seminars with producer organizations, production s p e c i a l i s t s , and through persons and firms r e p r e s e n t i n g v a r i o u s segments of t h e sheep i n d u s t r y and i t s o r g m i z a t i o n s including producers. After e v a l u a t i o n of t h e educational value of t h e producer handbook for s u b j e c t matter e f f e c t i v e n e s s , t h e production systems developed w i l l be f i e l d t e s t e d . Most of t h e problems e x i s t i n g i n t h e sheep i n d u s t r y today have r e s u l t e d because a v a i l a b l e r e s e a r c h d a t a have not been e f f e c t i v e l y applied t o sheep production t o improve e f f i c i e n c y . The major g o a l of t h e Sheep I n d u s t r y Development Program i s t o b r i n g about a p p l i c a t i o n of t h e b e s t a v a i l a b l e technology while simultaneously r e v e a l i n g and documenting t h e voids p r e s e n t l y e x i s t i n g i n sheep production and marketing research.

4 167. Considerable research d a t a and e x p e r i m e n t d r e s u l t s i n sheep production and marketing i s a v a i l a b l e i n terminology t h a t i s not thoroughly understood and absorbed by producers and r e l a t e d segments of t h e sheep industry. Also, r e l e v a n t research f i n d i n g s from a l l a v a i l a b l e sources have never been assembled. If research i s t o achieve t h e progressive r e s u l t s t h a t it i n d i c a t e s i s a t t a i n a b l e , it all needs t o be compiled and made a v a i l a b l e i n terminology t h a t w i l l i n s t i l l i n t e r e s t and a p p l i c a t i o n from t h e average person t a k i n g p a r t i n t h e sheep business. This i s what i s being attempted through t h e Sheep I n d u s t r y Development Program. D. A. CRAMER: Thank you, Dixon. We know t h a t t h e sheep i n d u s t r y i s expecting g r e a t t h i n g s from t h i s program. O f course, we a r e not naive enough t o hope t h a t you w i l l solve everybody's problems i n t h e sheep b u s i - ness, but i f you can j u s t d e f i n e and c l a r i f y some of t h e problems and d i r e c t t h e people i n t h e business toward a s o l u t i o n , it w i l l be a g i a n t s t e p i n t h e r i g h t d i r e c t i o n . I t h i n k t h i s program i s reaLly going t o help. I n t h e m e a n t i m e , while we are waiting f o r F e d e r a l Extension Service and t h e A S K t o come out with t h e i r results, t h e r e are a few t h i n g s we can do t o keep t h e sheep i n d u s t r y d i v e , and one i s , hopefully, t o i n - crease consumption of sheep i n our country. Well, one way t o g o about t h i s i s t o perhaps d r e s s lamb up i n d i f f e r e n t colored packages, and through pro- motion of various methods of processing and s o on. So today t o give us a r e p o r t on new product p o s s i b i l i t i e s . We have Dr. J. H. Z i e g l e r . ############I%##

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