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Shepherd Editorial-Spring & Shearing 5/3/09

Dear Sheep Raisers,

Spring is here and we’ve finally had some rain. The recent hair sheep sales have been good and market reports are showing hair sheep are “in the money”! Please read below a recent editorial I sent to the Shepherd magazine concerning spring and shearing time. Also I’d like for you all to know I have a new email address and it is dorper@dorper.net so please send me an email and lets catch up.

Dear Shepherd,

As spring is upon us Clark BreDahl’s recent column on shearing time is both informative and timely. He points out the obvious problems facing many sheep raisers and that is the economics of wool and the labor involved in shearing. Like many other ranchers my sheep ranching ancestry goes back several generations here in Texas. My family owns land that was bought and paid for with Rambouillet sheep and my Grandfather was the first rancher to run sheep in Crane County in West Texas. Times have changed but sheep ranching has always been an extremely difficult enterprise.

For well over ten years now I have been a proponent of Dorper sheep and more recently representing all hair sheep breeds as president of the North American Hair Sheep Association. I have been praised for my efforts and then I’ve been accused of trying to destroy the sheep industry. The truth is hair sheep are an alternative that has come our way at a critical time in our history. They can produce a high quality meat product with very little inputs. A quality meat product for the American consumer produced efficiently equals a viable business enterprise.

For those that are happy farming and ranching with traditional wool breeds and the economics are working for them we have nothing but respect for you and your enterprise. What none of us want to see is producers quitting the sheep business because the old way is not working any more. We want them to stay in the sheep business and hair sheep are a real alternative that has been helping to keep the sheep industry moving. Most of the recent gains in sheep numbers have been due to hair sheep breeds increasing in number. This is because they are working and keeping our struggling industry alive.

Best Regards,

Philip Glass


North American Hair Sheep Association