It is said that Michigan has more sheep farms than any other state. We aren't sure if this is true, but what we do know is that Michigan's shepherds are diverse and plentiful, managing an impressive diversity in sheep breeds. There are long family lineages of production, and a large population of young or new producers wanting to continue and expand the industry. Many producers both large and small are working diligently on breed preservation and expansion, improving grazing and foraging systems, creatively accessing markets, and networking together to learn and grow - for both meat and wool. But what does all this really look like? And what does it mean?
The Michigan Flock Survey has never been done before and is being conducted to gather data on a variety of aspects of sheep production in the state of Michigan. Foremost is the exploration of breed diversity of our state flock. The survey will help determine exactly what this diversity is, where our sheep are coming from, where they are going, how they perform in the market, who are the shepherds, and why do they choose to produce sheep. Many shepherds in the state have gone to great lengths to introduce and preserve a vast amount of diversity of both production and heritage breeds, but no one really knows what is out there. The survey will provide valuable data to improve understanding of the needs of the shepherds in Michigan, and health of our Michigan flock. Responses will also provide a better understanding of how our markets work in the state - from meat production, to fiber, to breeding stock. Are Michigan shepherds able to sustain production with the current and changing markets, what are the challenges or barriers to better market access, what do our shepherds need to be sustainable and resilient? Respondents will also have the ability to tell stories and histories important to their experiences with sheep production.
5 THINGS YOU WANT TO KNOW, and 3 THINGS THAT ARE HELPFUL:
It's quick - this important survey will only take approximately 15 minutes!
It's anonymous - all information provided is done so anonymously.
It's untraceable - no information provided by you will be traceable to you or your farm.
you will have the option to provide your contact information for survey related activities such as: followup interviews, participation in a documentary project, and/or to receive a direct copy of the survey results and resulting publications. This information will never be distributed, and will be kept confidentially - coded only for the survey administrator.
It's unbiased - this is not an industry or government sponsored survey.
It's non-regulatory - we don't want to know how you produce, just what and why. We won't be asking for your farm address, or information about registrations, disease, vaccinations, feed, breeding schedules, who you do business with, how you process, or any other potentially regulatory-leading questions.
this survey will be approved by and will strictly adhere to Michigan State University Institutional Review Board regulations.
the accuracy of your responses are crucial to the success of the survey.
the statistical results of the survey will be made public, and will be utilized for scholarly publications.
The survey is being conducted by Aimee Swenson Buckley, a PhD student in the Department of Community Sustainability at Michigan State University. This survey is the basis for her doctoral dissertation research exploring the breed diversity and market access of sheep in the state of Michigan. Her dissertation committee is comprised of an amazing team of people dedicated to improving the knowledge, network, market access, and welfare of livestock production systems: Dr. Jennifer Hodbod, chair; Dr. Richard Ehrhardt; Dr. Paul Thompson; Dr. Judith Barry; Dr. Phil Howard
Aimee is a long-time shearer, and a small flock producer of lamb and wool in Southwest Michigan. She has spent several years traveling the world researching small scale and rare breed sheep production systems, often in very remote regions. You may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Michigan State University IRB Protocol: You must be at least 18 years old to participate in this research. Participation in this research project is completely voluntary. You have the right to say no. You may change your mind at any time and withdraw. You may choose not to answer specific questions or to stop participating at any time. If you have concerns or questions about this study, such as scientific issues, how to do any part of it, or to report an injury, please contact: Dr. Jennifer Hodbod Department of Community Sustainability Natural Resources Building 480 Wilson Road Room 310B East Lansing, MI 48824 Ph: +1 517 355 0312 Email: email@example.com