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Sheep Economics and Marketing

Overview of the Sheep Market                                                                                                                             

California is the second largest sheep producing state.
California is the second largest sheep producing state.
Over the last decade the demand for lamb in the U.S. has remained steady with the per capita consumption of lamb at approximately one pound per person per year. In 2015, lamb demand was up 7 percent compared to 2014 and increased again in 2016 by 2.5 percent. (American Lamb Bored, 2019). 

California is the second largest sheep producing state with a population of 315,000 breeding sheep and lambs and 255,000 market sheep and lambs (USDA, 2020).  Not only is California one of the largest sheep producing states, with its large ethnic populations and many faith-based consumers, California has great potential for niche marketing. For basic information on niche sheep marketing and economics please view the resources below.


Sheep Marketing 101                                                                                                                                        

Before starting a niche marketing sheep operation the USDA Extension services recommends performing a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threat (SWOT) analysis. The SWOT analysis can help provide both a direction and foundation for your intended sheep business.  For more information on how to perform a SWOT analysis click here

After a SWOT analysis is performed it is recommended to start developing a marketing plan.  A marketing plan is an essential part of any business. In essence, a marketing plan presents your business strategies in a way that allows you to sell your business venture to both your customers and your potential investors and/ or bankers. For more information on developing a marketing plan visit the click on the PDFs below. 

                                                                                                                ♦ A Niche Marketing GUide for Lamb Cooperatives (USDA)
                                                                                                                ♦ Lamb Marketing 101(Sheep 201 webpage)
                                                                                                                ♦ Lamb Marketing Plan (Penn State Extension)
Lamb Associations                                                                                                                                                

Associations can be a great resource to learn more about lamb and mutton marketing, genetics, and nutrition. Below are a list of state and federal sheep associations. 

Sheep Cost Studies and Business Management Videos                                                                                   
Cost studies help provide an outlook for the associated costs and profits of producing a commodity. For the most up to date sheep cost study click below. 

For informative videos on the economics of running a sheep operation click on the informative videos below. 

To help determine your sheep production costs use the Michigan State Extension Profit Calculator or the Penn State Cost of Production Calculator below.