Iraqi sheep raisers will spend summer in Logan

Spending the summer in Logan means full-time employment and late night bonfires for some, but for three Iraqi citizens it means an opportunity to come to USU and learn about how to revive Iraq’s sheep-raising industry.On June 1, the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) will bring two Iraqi sheep-raisers and a veterinarian to USU to help them acquire knowledge and skills that will help establish a stronger sheep economy in Iraq, said Lyle McNeal, a professor in the animal, dairy and veterinary sciences (ADVS) department.McNeal said he was asked by the FAS to lead the two-month project, which consists of holistic instruction about sheep-raising, covering topics such as veterinary care, health, reproduction, grazing techniques and genetics.”Sheep originally came from that part of the world,” McNeal said. “It’s exciting to help these people restore what was a big part of their life.” He said this project could bring the industry in Iraq back to the level it was before Saddam Hussein took power.Kristin Sittner, a senior in animal science, who is working on the project, said the sheep industry has been essentially demolished several times in Iraq. “The sheep are being ignored more than they should be. Their potential is not being explored, so we’re going to help them with that,” said Tara Roche, a senior in biotechnology, who is also involved in the project.Sittner said sheep are a low-upkeep animal that can produce a lot of meat for the amount of feed they consume.

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