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Montana Ag: Montana woolgrowers optimistic about 2018 - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Montana Ag: Montana woolgrowers optimistic about 2018

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The sheep and wool industry plays a big part in the overall success of Montana's economy.

Montana producers met in Texas last week to discuss important issues impacting operations.

"Our wool is some of the best wool in the United States," said Kevin Halverson, president of the Montana Woolgrowers Association. "It's long, bright, and white and that's what wool buyers like."

During the American Sheep Industry Association Convention last week in San Antonio, Halverson said consumers are playing a big role in driving demand and higher wool prices.

"The consumer is coming back to natural stuff, too," he said. "I mean, all that is playing into our hand at the right times. Good quality wool is important to the mills and to the consumer."

Halverson added that there's optimism in the United States sheep industry and they're keeping a close eye on lamb imports, which could drive prices lower for lamb producers like himself.

"When 60 percent of the lamb that's consumed in the United States is imported, we aren't producing enough," he said. "We produce lambs too much at one time to extend that market to have a less volatile price fluctuation."

But wildlife is still the number one issue threatening their way of life.

"We've got wolves, we've got grizzly bears, and they're both big numbers anymore," Halverson said. "And we're also working on bighorn sheep issues. People keep suing us off of public lands so bighorn sheep can graze there without co-mingling." 

These issues and more will also be discussed at the ASI's Spring Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C.

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