Spring shearing has long been, not only a tradition on the Price outfit, but a profitable part of the ranch production ‘mix’ of our operation. Very few ranches in the area are still able to claim this annual event as a part of the ranching process, as the finewool industry has slowly succumbed to modern times of less labor-intensive processes, synthetic fibers and the aggressive coyote, resulting in very few operations still raising them. (Production of quality finewool is important to me as a consumer, as a large part of the winter is spent wearing wool ‘long johns’ light-warm-comfortable and not so hot when the weather warms, an awesome product.) As I participated in this year’s annual shearing event I found myself having a ‘moment’ of sad yet very gratifying reflection of a lifetime of shearing’s, marking’s, tagging’s, shipping’s, gatherings and all of those other ‘ings’ that the finewool business requires. Yes this ‘tradition’ may be coming to an end on the Price outfit, but not without seeing the ‘fight’ through to the end. (Hardheaded?) The past two years the finewool herd with its dual product of wool and lamb has proven to be more profitable than the hair sheep for us. Question is, will we run out of sheep to shear or shearers first? (Perhaps going the way of the ‘buggy whip’?)
As the China Virus grips the nation-world, the wool industry along with many other commodity markets are in a position of unknowns. With today’s virus struggle and the many ramifications it presents -not only health but mental and financial issues- one thing is inevitable, that being CHANGE. Some of those times that we cherish so dearly may pass into a new phase or era. Careful planning and clear judgment are essential through this process, both for the family and the business. (Not to mention our leaders, national-state-local) I fear that the financial aspect of this event will be perhaps the most lasting issue facing us all. Adapting CHANGE is a normal process for those working with the land. The changes that we are facing during this disaster will be no worse than what we and our forefathers have faced in the past. Adapt and never accept defeat, everyone should accept and adhere to the fact that: You are not ‘down’ until you accept that you are, refusing to accept that possibility is of utmost importance. It will get better and as with everyone else; I hope it to be soon.
Good health and prosperity to you all and remember FAITH HOPE AND LOVE are essential ingredients to our future.