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Which Way Did They Go?

Mar 17, 2015

What happened to all the sheep in South Dakota? As we travel about the state, it’s plain to see that we don’t have anywhere near the numbers of just a few years ago.
    Coyotes and mountain lions are probably partly to blame. Farmers and ranchers are, on average, getting grayer. And lamb prices aren’t often high enough to scratch the competitive itch.
    Our 2014 sheep count was just 255,000 head. That’s about one-sixth as many as we had in the 1960s.
    Sheep and wool were big industries, especially in certain West River counties. But most ranchers prefer to raise cattle these days. For better or worse, a colorful piece of our rural culture is slipping away.
    Maybe it’s topic we should explore in greater length in the main magazine. Let us know if you have any good sheep stories.


09:10 am - Wed, March 18 2015
Ed Goss said:
I have a train load of stories. My family first brought sheep to the colonies before they were real organized in the 1660's they had a band of 10 merino's and my family was in the business until two years ago when my sister and my Grandson sold the last sheep this family has had since then. We have a wool throw that has a note on it that was written by my Grandmother who died in 1960 and that note says this throw was made by my Grandmother, she sheared the sheep carded,spun, weaved and died this throw. My Grandmothers, Grandmothers name was Knapp and they came to the colonies as weavers as they got priority in acquiring land. The story goes on to where the reason for DeEtte and I left the farm in 1981was because of the wool business and DeEtte went to to become the National president of the ladies sheep organization. Also national make it your self with wool director. I'll forward by email the story that DeEttes has in the Goss history book that begins in the 1600's when the Gosses first came to the New world.
02:15 pm - Wed, March 18 2015
Bernie said:
Thanks Ed, I knew you were a sheepman from way back. If we put together an article on Where Did The Sheep Go? you'll be on our list of people to visit.
12:50 pm - Mon, March 23 2015
Marie Wollschlager said:
My dad, Keith Vojta, Sr.,had many sheep on our farm growing up!! I am sure he has plenty of stories for you!! He lives in Mobridge, SD now, but we had a farm rural Selby.
09:47 am - Tue, March 24 2015
Susan Holler said:
We have a project that could revitalize the sheep industry. Please look at our website and Facebook the shepherds gift: GM1 for HD. It is families (sheep producers) helping families (huntingtons disease).
04:31 am - Fri, March 27 2015
Rebecca Dykema said:
Here's our family's Facebook page. We raise Suffolk, Rhamboillet & cross bred sheep. We've had a flock for over 15 years & love it! Our children were & are avid 4H members and therefore we not only raise for market, we show our lambs as well. Even after all these years, our animals amaze us and are way more entertaining than anything on TV. We are a proud sheep producing family.
05:25 am - Fri, May 1 2015
Diana Glover said:
The Orwick family at Hoover are sheep people. Jim and Joyce, their son Jack and his family live on the ranch north of the Moreau River. Jim and Joyce's older son Peter lives in Denver and is head of a national sheep organization. I think this family could give you good insight into the sheep industry in SD.
I grew up on a Butte County ranch and consider that time some of the best days of my life. I loved, and still do love, sheep. My favorite time of year was lambing.

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