Tuesday – Sept 11 – Colorado

The Rocky Mountain state – and we can make them out on the distant horizon, but to begin with, we find ourselves in the midst of corn fields or subdivisions. Our ‘home’ is a luxury bus driven by super accommodating Mark.

Club lamb producer Jason Simpson at Ault explained what the high stakes business end of club lamb production looks like using embryo transplants and AI plus intensely selected rams.

The next morning finds us in a very different arm of the sheep industry. Harper Feedlots showed us where thousands mountain lambs from Colorado, Wyoming and Idaho go when they make their way off the summer range. They feed approximately 150,000 lambs and 10,000 cattle per year in a family run operation. Mary Harper adeptly toured us around, answering our many questions as husband Mike was busy unloading trucks delivering lambs to the feedlot. 13 full time employees help to keep the lambs fed, monitored, sorted and crops harvested.

Weld County, CO – largest concentration of lamb feedlots AND home to the largest lamb packing plant in the US – Mountain States Lamb. A member owned entity, they kill 25% of the US lamb kill per year. About half their lambs, 100 – 125,000, are supplied by the members. With their electronic grading system they are changing the way producers are paid for their lambs and influencing the industry’s mindset about lamb supply, quality and consistency.

After an information filled morning, we’re off to get a close up of the Rockies and see the lambs as they make their way off summer range.

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