BILLINGS — Like other segments of American agriculture, it has been a very challenging year for lamb and wool producers. But the U.S. sheep industry has received a much needed shot in the arm this fall.
That’s because the Hasbrouck Family of Ault, Colo., has purchased the old Ranchers’ Lamb of Texas processing plant near San Angelo and renamed it Double J Lamb of Texas.
Jeff Hasbrouck says with the loss of Mountain States Rosen in Greeley, Colo., they felt like they had to do something for their industry.
“In our mind, we had to make a decision,” said Hasbrouck. “Are we going to help the industry, help our customers, or are we just going to sit back and just, you know, let it ride and see what happens?”
Montana sheep producers like Ken McKamey of Great Falls are very grateful to have this opportunity especially as lambs head to market this fall.
“It's very important to us,” said McKamy, who is also the Montana Wool Growers Association president. “With the Mountain States Rosen plant, they were harvesting 350,000 lambs a year. That was a big loss. So to have this new plant coming on would certainly have a positive impact on the sheep industry.”
The old Ranchers’ Lamb of Texas plant hasn’t been operational since 2005 but the Hasbrouck family hopes to have it up and running in a couple of months. And in addition to harvesting lambs, they’ll be able to fabricate there which is one of the main reasons they reached out about buying the plant.
“Well for us, MSR was a harvest and fabrication facility,” said Hasbrouck. “They could do it all. The new plant coming online-Colorado Lamb Processors-that should be coming online any time soon, all they can do is harvest."
"So for us, we kind of saw that as a little bit of an issue just because of what MSR did and what we need to do going forward," Hasbrouck continued. "Yes, there's a new lamb plant coming online in Colorado but we just felt like we had to have the fabrication and that was the main reason that we pretty much reached out to the old Ranchers' Lamb facility and we want to get that up and running.”
“This is a bold, innovative step that the Hasbrouck family is taking in looking for a new way to support the American sheep industry,” said ASI Executive Director Peter Orwick. “I think the entire industry will applaud their efforts and wish them the best of luck in this new endeavor.”
The Hasbrouck family also owns Double J Meat Packing and Double J Lamb Feeders in Colorado.