While sheep and rabbits are part of the imagery of spring, they are also part of the U.S. livestock industry.
When you think of the livestock industry, you likely envision cattle and hogs, but there are many other variations of livestock with rich histories of animal husbandry of their own. If you’re considering a livestock land loan, know that your options go beyond cattle ranching. Explore statistics for both sheep and rabbit farming businesses in the U.S. below.
Livestock Industry Focus: Sheep Rearing
Though not as common as cattle ranching, sheep farming is an important sector of the livestock industry. Sheep can be raised for food and a variety of fiber options. According to the 2012 Census of Agriculture, there are 88,338 sheep farms in the U.S. The majority of sheep rearing operations are small—having less than 100 head—and they are located all over the country, but they only account for 17% of the country’s sheep. Large sheep farming operations—those owning over 80% of the country’s sheep—are located out West. Texas, California, and Colorado have the highest number of sheep.
Livestock Industry Focus: Rabbit Farming Business
There are a variety of rabbit breeders as rabbits can be bred for pets or to show, for the laboratory industry, for fiber, and for food. While the USDA does not keep track of rabbit numbers annually like it does for cattle or hogs, a 2002 USDA report on the entire rabbit industry put the total number of rabbits at approximately 9.3 to 9.7 million. While rabbit is much more common in European and Asian diets, many believe the trend will increase in the U.S. because rabbits are easy and inexpensive to raise, and rabbit meat is lower in calories, fat, and cholesterol than beef, pork, or chicken, according to a ModernFarmer.com article.
If you’re considering an agricultural land loan for everything from sheep farming to cattle ranching, contact us now to discuss livestock loans with a team member today.