The USDA needs to step in to help sheep ranchers in the West following the bankruptcy of the second-largest U.S. sheep processor, said leaders of the House Agriculture Committee on Wednesday.
Last year, the USDA’s Wildlife Services killed 76,859 coyotes, in large part to protect livestock, especially sheep and calves. But killing coyotes may actually make the problem worse, says New Food Economy.
The Forest Service is wading through public comments on its proposal to continue to allow ranchers to graze up to 5,600 sheep in the largest wilderness area in Colorado, which is three-quarters of the size of Rhode Island, says The Associated Press. Despite hopes that a decision on the year-old proposal would be announced this winter, it could be months before that happens, according to a Forest Service spokeswoman.
As the gray wolf population rises in the West, "states are trying to walk the line between the ranchers, who view the animals as an economic and physical menace, and environmentalists, who see their reintroduction as a success story," says a Stateline story reprinted by Route Fifty. The issue is drawn most starkly in Washington State, which allotted $3.3 million and invested thousands of hours of staff time in wolf management.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled against the Idaho Wool Growers Association and others in a case that could have implications for grazing rules across the west.
More than 1,600 foreign-born sheepherders in the western U.S. are finally getting a pay raise, says High Country News. Brought to the U.S. under the H-2A visa program, the workers are allowed in the country for three years at a time.
There are about 1,500 Black Welsh Mountain sheep, a small and completely black sheep breed, in the United States and possibly 10,000 worldwide, says a story at Harvest Public Media.
Niche marketing to nearby customers is a practical outlet for thousands of smaller-scale farmers. In northwestern Colorado, yarn is being woven into the fabric of local entrepreneurship, says Harvest Public Media.