Like much of commodity agricultural production, producers have not asked the customer that they want and are not providing what they want to buy. While commodity wool production is worth about 5 to 10 cents per pound, artisans are looking for specialty fibers, and we provide the products they are asking for. Lamb meet has a negative reputation, many people have not enjoyed properly cooked quality lamb meet. We help consumers learn how to cook lamb meet better and provide them a quality product. Traci has worked to improve the meat and fiber quality of our flock through her breeding program to bring the consumer the products they are looking for.
We strive to find innovative ways to re-invigorate the US sheep market. This will require a two fold approach.
First, we need to provide the product the consumer is wanting and asking for. Consumers are looking to exciting and different meals. Artisans are looking for unique color and texture fibers for projects. Often these are not mass markets so we are uniquely position to provide that direct to farm experience .
Secondly, because consumers have found other meat and fiber sources to replace sheep products, the consumer needs to once again experience high quality fleeces and delicious meat.
Our flock today consists of mainly Suffolk and Lincoln ewes with a Border Leicester, a Romney, CVM/Romeldales and a handful of crossbred ewes breed for specific fiber qualities. Our primary rams are large, natural-colored Lincolns that bring additional size and fleece quality to each ewe in the flock. Our sons have a small flock of 8 Shetland ewes and 2 rams. The boys show Shetlands along with their market lambs at the county fair and at various other shows around the Midwest.
Traci grew up on a diversified livestock operation. One of her favorite animals were sheep. Unfortunately, sheep production has significantly declined in the US and is generally considered low profit. Like starting a farming operation of scale, sheep production is challenging and often thought of as impossible. Rather than simply accept that there is no business opportunity for sheep, Traci asked the question “Why?”