Sheep are second largest livestock industry in U.S.

Dec 27, 2013
by WLJ

According to the 2012 USDA report, there are 79,500 sheep operations in the U.S., making it the second largest livestock industry in the U.S., explained Jeff Held, SDSU Extension Sheep Specialist.

South Dakota’s sheep industry accounted for about $30 million in meat and wool sales in 2012.

Break it down

In South Dakota there are 2,000 sheep operations that produce more than 225,000 lambs and approximately 1.9 million pounds of wool.

Each year, about 255,000 of South Dakota’s sheep are shorn. On average each fleece weighs 7.4 pounds resulting in state-wide production of about 1.9 million pounds of wool. This represents about 6.6 percent of total wool production in the U.S. and accounts for about $3.2 million for South Dakota’s sheep producers.

Support your local sheep industry and Land Grant University

As the weather turns cold, we are reminded of the warmth from wool products that sheep producers help provide.

If you are looking for gift ideas for cold weather, consider shopping the South Dakota State University Signature Wool product line found at the University Bookstore, South Dakota Agriculture Heritage Museum, or the South Dakota Art Museum.

To learn more visit, or contact Jeff Held, SDSU Sheep Specialist, or Dave Ollila, SDSU Sheep Field Specialist, — WLJ