USDA Conducts Sheep Health Study

This December through July 2024, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is partnering with other agencies to study sheep and lamb health in the U.S.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service and the National Animal Health Monitoring System are conducting the national study. It focuses on sheep and lamb health and management. This study, conducted approximately every 10 years, consists of two phases and includes biological sampling and two questionnaires.

“The data collected during this comprehensive survey will be instrumental for informing policy using real and accurate data,” says Dr. Natalie Urie, NAHMS 2024 study lead.

She says the data will identify the economic impacts of sheep diseases. It will also update Extension programs to target issues that sheep producers are facing. Finally, it will prioritize research to tackle the health and disease issues in the U.S. sheep industry.

Producers, industry stakeholders and policy makers will benefit from the benchmark data produced by this survey. Survey results will provide a greater understanding of sheep health status throughout the U.S. Results will also give insight into management practices and disease preparedness. And, results will identify educational needs and opportunities related to sheep health.

“Producers participating in the study will also have opportunities for free and confidential biological sampling of their sheep,” says Dr. Alyson Wiedenheft, NAHMS’ biologics coordinator. “This includes sampling fecal egg counts to identify internal parasite issues and swabs to detect pathogens that cause lameness.”

NASS has made survey response more convenient and accessible through their online Respondent Portal: On the website, producers can complete their NASS survey, view historical reports and access other resources.

NASS and NAHMS are required by law to keep all information confidential.

The results will be announced and published at the conclusion of the sheep study. Learn more about the study or see past results: