Washington State Sheep Producers
To keep state producers informed about research, marketing and promotion, flock health and best management practices.
To provide representation of state producer issues and needs in Washington D.C. and within Washington State through affiliation with sheep and agricultural organizations at the state, regional and national levels.
Washington Grown showcases sheep farms from around the state in this episode.
History of WSSP, by Board Member, Jerry Richardson:
In 1893, the year that the Washington Wool Growers Association was formed, the country was on hard times. (The name of the association was changed in the late 1990’s to the Washington State Sheep Producers). The price of lambs had dropped 50%, wool was not worth the cost to shear and the congress has just opened the door to “free trade” which allowed foreign wool to enter the country. In the early 1800’s, times were tough, and the country was in a depression, low prices, battles with conservationists over grazing on federal lands, tramp sheep men invading areas that were formerly used by old-timers, etc. It was decided by a number of prominent sheep men to organize and send a delegation to the National Association to gain support by lobbying Congress to protect the rights of the established owners, set up grazing procedures that were fair, protect the industry by protective tariffs on imports, and generally look out for the interests of the sheep man. They felt that by joining forces, they would have more clout than as individuals. The organizers of the State Association are unknown to this author, however, there may be information in the archives of Washington State University. According to Al C. Bright, author of Three Bags Full or Sheep Grazing in Eastern Washington those in the sheep business at the time of the formation of the WWGA are: Augustan Cleman, Charles Longmire, Jesse and Daniel Drumheller, Dan Goodman, Frank LaFayette, Mr. Cunningham, Arthur, Lester, and H. Stanley Coffin, Charles McAllister, Malcolm McClennan, Anderson Brothers, John Smithson, Merrit Longmire, Peter and John MacGregor, Mr. MacRae, J.W. Richardson, William McGuffie, Archie Prior, William Regan, Ernest Berg and Harder Bros. Several persons have contributed information to the University, including the State Association. The incorporators of the association are listed in the Custodians of the Land (1st & 2nd editions), a book about the history of some of the persons who were in the business in the formative years and later. This Booklet is for sale by the association. At this time, there are only a handful of range operations still active in the State of Washington, as most of the open range is no more. The majority of the operations are of the farm flock type from one or two 4-H projects to a few hundred head, usually on irrigated pasture.