USDA sheep and goat survey starts January 2011
This January, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will reach out to producers in 42 states, including Montana, for the annual Sheep and Goat Survey. The survey provides critical information on breeding and marketing herds, lamb and kid crops, and lamb losses to predators in Montana.
“NASS will contact approximately 650 sheep and goat producers in Montana during the first two weeks of January to obtain inventory and lamb and kid crop information,” said Steve Anderson, director of the NASS Montana Field Office. “Results of this survey will provide the latest information on conditions and trends in the U.S. sheep and goat industry for 2010.”
“The results of the Sheep and Goat Survey are primarily used by producers themselves to help determine their production and marketing strategies,” added Anderson. “This information also increases consumer understanding and awareness of the benefits of U.S. sheep and goats and their products.”
In addition to the inventory survey, approximately 250 sheep producers have also been selected to participate in this year’s National Animal Health Management Survey (NAHMS). “The NAHMS Sheep 2011 Study is a grass-roots effort to gather health data on America’s sheep operation,” said Anderson. “The results of this study will provide a detailed analysis of the top health and management issues now facing the U.S. sheep industry.”
The Sheep 2011 Study marks the first time in the past 10 years that a USDA study has focused on health management among sheep operations. Sheep producers will be asked to provide information on their flock management, breeding practices, biosecurity and sheep health management. The Sheep 2011 Study will identify practices and health measures that promote efficient production and improve product quality. In the spring, selected producers will also be contacted by veterinary medical officers or animal health technicians to explain and complete further phases of the study.
Anderson noted that, as is the case with all NASS surveys, information provided by respondents is confidential by law. NASS safeguards the privacy of all survey responses ensuring that no individual operation or producer can be identified.
Results from the Sheep and Goat Survey will be published in the Sheep and Goats Report, scheduled for release on Feb. 28. The report will provide current national-level estimates for the sheep and goat industry. This and all NASS reports are available online at: http://www.nass.usda.gov.
Many livestock producers are utilizing stockpiled pasture, hay regrowth and warm- or cool-season annuals to extend the grazing season this fall.