DLGC Message from President Riley Braaten

Greetings to my fellow ranchers and shepherds. For most producers, you are probably nearing the end of another lambing season and some are already preparing to wean lambs. I hope that this year was better than 2019 weather wise. We experienced a little bit more mild spring and not so much snow here in northeast South Dakota.
As we entered into a new year we were watching market ready lamb prices steadily climb. As these prices were rising, little did we know that Covid-19 would be sneaking up behind us, and would economically change the way consumers eat lamb. We soon would find the cash market going from $1.70 on March 1st to $1.01 by April 1st. Suddenly restaurants and hotels are closed and lamb consumption going way down. People would find themselves temporarily laid off and facing tough financial decisions on essential spending.
As to where this market is going to go is anyone’s guess. I would hope producers would stay current with marketing lambs as they reach selling weight. Delivering overweight lambs is something this suppressed market can’t handle. Our wool industry is experiencing the same thing. All wool trade has come to a halt and some producers may experience a wool value of $0.00. Many producers are storing their wool in the barn for better days to come.
I believe this economy will turn around and become great again. When you ask? That I don’t know. We are survivors and ask God for the strength and wisdom we need to get through these trying times. I ask that each producer find another producer or multiple producers to reach out to and share your time with whether it’s just to listen, or to lend a hand where help is needed. May God bless each and every one of my fellow lamb producers. Take care and enjoy your spring.

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