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. McNeal said sheep give humanity three important products: wool, milk and meat, all of which can help improve the economic situation in Iraq. McNeal said he has led projects similar to this one before, helping revive flocks among the Navajo people, the Tarahumara tribe of Chihuahua, Mexico, and the people of Armenia. He said he plans on using the Navajo…

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