BILLINGS – The sheep industry of Montana is grateful to have, after several years without a new specialist in sheep farming at Montana State University. The selected man looks forward to building a new legacy for the next generation of sheep manufacturers.
"The sheep industry has proven to be very good, both personally and academically, over the years," said Brent Roeder, sheep grazing specialist at MSU. "Well, some of them reach you at a time in your life when you do not see anyone who is committed to a position that will help build that heritage for the next generation."
Roeder is no stranger to the lamb and wool industry in Montana. Prior to joining MSU in November, he worked as a consultant on agriculture and natural resource development in Teton County. He says he recognizes the crucial role his position plays for the sheep industry of Montana.
"We are at a crossroads in the sheep industry," Roeder said. "We definitely have a resurgence in the wool industry and definitely more people interested in a US-certified product with proof of origin. So that's good for the value-added products for which Montana is really known. That is and we know that lamb consumption will change demographically. "
Sheep producers such as Mike Green from Cohagen say that Roeder brings together MSU's sheep and wool program both academically and in practice.
"I was really excited that Brent got the job," said Green. "He has his master there, and although he's from Texas, we'll give him a run. But he will do a great job. "
Roeder hopes that his knowledge, expertise and relationships are just the right ingredients to help ranchers raise their sheep numbers in Montana.
"So if we move forward, we just have to educate people and try to boost our production numbers," said Roeder. "We have been standing on lambs produced in the state for almost 20 years. It would be nice to try to move this number a bit. "
Undoubtedly, Roeder's background in production, research and expansion is beneficial to everyone involved in the Montana sheep industry.
One of Roeder's key priorities for 2019 is working with organizations such as the Montana Wool Growers Association to ensure funding for the MSU Wool Lab at the 2019 Legislative Session in Helena.
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