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Sheep farmers raise sheep for meat and wool. This requires a large amount of grassy grazing land. Start up costs, as well, as, annual profit or salary, depend on the amount of land and livestock purchased. Most sheep farmers work part-time on the farm and have a primary, full-time job outside the farm.
Modern sheep farmers hold an Associates’ or Bachelor’s degree in agriculture, animal husbandry or business. Practical experience is important, too. Some successful farmers gain this by growing up on a farm, others through clubs like 4-H and Future Farmers of America or by working on a farm as a hired hand.
Since sheep farmers are self-employed, they set their own salary by raising an appropriate sized flock. The number of sheep needed will vary depending on the desired standard of living, debts, production efficiency, market prices and production costs. A farm can fall short of its profit goals due to feed costs, market prices, production levels and available family labor.
According to the 2003 Ohio Business Summary of farms, the average family farm income is $46,752, while economic analysis found the average living costs for a farm family fall between $42,000 and $48,000. According to the Ohio State University Sheep Team, it takes $300,000 of gross revenue to generate an income of $50,000 with 74 percent of revenue devoted to costs and 26 percent for debt service, growth, capital replacement and salary. Assuming gross sales per ewe of $168.75 (1.5, 125 pound lambs per ewe at a $90/cwt), you would need a flock of 1,778 ewes.
Self-employed farmers provide their own benefits packages, including insurance and retirement savings. Farm hands on larger farms may get insurance benefits. Most farmers draw a second income from non-farm employment and may receive benefits through it.
Carlie Lawson is a hazards consultant, writer, and model living in Oklahoma. Her articles have appeared in "Keysian," "Movitly," "Weather and Society Watch," "Journal of Regional Studies," "Oklahoma College Press," and "JollyJo.tv." She holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in journalism and mass communications, and in film and video studies, and a Master of Regional and City Planning from the University of Oklahoma.