Sheep industry faces struggles of coronavirus pandemic


The sheep industry saw things change drastically in mid-March and like other meat markets, the sheep markets are taking a hit from this pandemic.

“For us, that overnight loss of foodservice represents 50 percent of all of our American lamb sales, so a huge impact with foodservice and restaurants shut down,” said Peter Orwick, Executive Director for the American Sheep Industry Association.

The shutdown also came at a large marketing period for the industry and like the other meat industries, this ripple effect causes backed-up supplies to remain on the farm.

“We’ve incurred a backup of lambs. I’m estimating at least 100,000 lambs that should have been gone over that Easter period, are still standing out there in the lots,” Orwick said. “We’re estimating a $125 million immediate damage at the farmgate level; $350 million dollars spread over this entire 2020 lamb crop.”

Wool prices have also dropped due to the decline in demand at the retail level.

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