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Local ranchers discuss how raising sheep in the state has become challenging


By Christinna Bautista

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    BOISE, Idaho (KIVI) — Since the late 1800s Idahoans have been raising sheep, but recently local ranchers have been saying that raising sheep in the state has become challenging.

“We’ve experienced the ups and downs of the industry, and a big factor in the downs are the imports. That’s why we are here today,” said Henry Etcheverry, a Basque sheep rancher.

Ranchers Frank Shirts and Henry Etcheverry spoke today regarding some of the challenges they have been facing, saying it’s getting tougher to compete with meat producers from Australia.

Local sheep producers are hoping lawmakers place tariffs on lamb from the Australian markets, because currently “they come in here with no tariffs and any restriction whatsoever,” according to Etcheverry.

Both Frank and Henry recently shared their frustrations with Governor Little about the challenges posed to local ranchers by competition from down under.

“But I want to know why another county got the right to come in here and ruin this industry. They have just about already ruined it,” said Frank Shirts, a sheep rancher.

The two ranchers told Idaho News 6 that they are barely making ends meet and hope state and local lawmakers make changes before it is too late.

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