Saffronsheepranch wrote:Creating a more uniform American lamb product by having target weights/ages does not stop anyone from direct marketing their own lamb in whichever condition they see fit. What we are talking about does not even affect you. Go do what you do happily.
I think letting the whole of the infrastructure of the sheep industry go down the tubes because a few of you can sell every lamb you produce without ever seeing a sale barn or station buyer is insane......
Direct marketers should not strive to destroy a ready market for the rest of us. I don't say the heck with you. Why do you get to say the heck with us?
And the rest of us should come up with a plan so that we have a bright future in sheep raising.
Yes what the big folks do DOES affect us. The push for monolithic absolutely the same product is the root cause of the problem not its salvation! Getting bigger is the problem not a fix. Anyone with even a modicum of sense understands that large systems without redundancy have single points of failure that can cripple them. The sheep industry as it is now is like that, dependency on a few large packers who have big producers by the short hairs means that if they pull out or change you are all screwed. In the mean time the small folks like us are hit with increasing regulations on small slaughter plants, caused by contamination issues that are a function of huge plants operating at warp speed, new rules and regulations that limit our ability to market, fewer places to get our animals processed in a way we feel is good and ultimately the loss of the industry.
What we need for food safety and increased consumption is a network of small distributed systems for the processing, marketing etc of our product.
What the sheep industry has been doing for the last 20+ years isn't working. Time to wake up and look at places it IS working and see what makes those work and support them.
I'm saying the big operations are what is causing the industry to be in trouble and so yes, I do think you need to change. But then I'm far more radical and less diplomatic than Janet, or Bill or some of the others on this forum.
Janet is right about the paleo and primal diets. Already I have former vegetarian customers who will eat our meat because of how it's raised. Sheep are perfect for the paleo diet because sheep, better than other red meat species, can finish to a good tasty carcass on forages alone. We need to promote that not bemoan a lack of standardization. That is our strength not our weakness!