Sheep producers hold on to hope the industry will turn around - KOTA Territory News

Sheep producers hold on to hope the industry will turn around


Sheep producers say with the drought and falling market prices, it's no surprise their industry is struggling.

But producers are fighting through the tough times, as they hope for a better year ahead.

Producers say during these past few years it's been like the perfect storm of problems.

"Well that's ranching for ya," said Gerald Bunney, a Rancher out of Aladdin, Wyoming.

Sheep are selling for less:

"This last year the prices are about a third of what they were the year before," said Wyatt Sabbo, a Sheep Rancher from Reva, South Dakota.

Feed prices are skyrocketing:

"The price of the hay has probably tripled," said Sabbo.

The numbers are declining:

"We are losing a lot of producers with the too much up and down with the prices and stuff," said Sabbo.

And of course the constant threat of predators:

"They put me out of business once and when I got my guard dogs I got back in again," said Bunney.

Add last year's drought to the mix and producers say the combination of those problems cut into their bottom line.

"But not as bad as it was a year ago, it went from the top to the very bottom about as far as it could go down, said Bunney.

"This isn't tremendously bad, but everything else, like expenses keep going up and the price kind of stays the same," said Sabbo.

The only problem that can be controlled with the government's help is predators.

"It would be a good thing if they could, there are a lot of people that rely on that and you can't afford to have that kind of a loss," said Sabbo.

While help from the government can't come soon enough; ranchers are optimistic about the future of the sheep industry.

"I think they are going to go up, I don't know how far and I don't know if it's going to stay or not but I think they are on the up right now and they are going to go for a while," said Bunney.

"You've always got to be optimistic and hope this year is going to be a better one," said Sabbo.

Representative Betty Olson is the prime sponsor on House Bill 1168 that would help bring more funding from the government to help trap and kill coyotes. Ranchers say it would provide help that they desperately need.


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