(November 1, 2011) The American Sheep Industry Association is taking it’s Let’s Grow initiative on the road with a number of media events this fall. The tour kicked off in Iowa and Minnesota in October with other events scheduled in Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee and California.
The Iowa event was hosted by Kolby and Micky Burch of Coon Rapids and Jeremy and Tracy Geske of New Prague hosted the Minnesota event. A number of producers also attended each event to share their Let’s Grow story and why they are dedicated to implementing management practices to increase their flock.
The Let’s Grow initiative is a two-prong approach to increasing the size of the national flock. The first part - Let’s Grow with twoPLUS - focuses on current producers and encourages them to increase their flock based on three goals: increase each flock by two ewes or two ewes per 100 head, increase the average birthrate per ewe to two lambs per year and increase the national harvested lamb crop by 2 percent, taking it from 108 to 110 percent. This initiative will result in 315,000 more lambs and 2 million more pounds of wool for the industry to market.
The second part of the initiative is to encourage new producers into the industry. Sheep make a great addition to already existing livestock operations and can help “clean up” harvested fields, whether row crops or hay acres, through managed grazing. In order to encourage new producers to the industry, ASI has established a mentor program designed to teach new producers about the production of safe and wholesome food and fiber, the well being of sheep, general farm and food safety and the concepts of sustainable agriculture.