A Timeline of Interesting Facts

1880: 385,000 sheep in Montana

1882: President Cleveland repeals wool tariff; most sheep men broke by 1883

1883: Montana Wool Growers established in Fort Benton, MT

1884: Montana Stock Growers established in Helena, MT

1886/7: “Last of 5,000” winter made famous by Charlie Russell

1889: Montana became 4st state.

1890: 2,228,000

1891: Forest Reserves set aside.

1893: Montana State University and Montana Ag Experiment Station established.

1899: First MAES Bulletin published on sheep research.

1900: 4,504,000

1908: Sweetgrass Wool Pool established.

1908: Beginning of 10 year homestead boom

1909: Linfield Hall at MSU Bozeman completed

1910: 5,279,000

1918 :WWI ends

1920-2: 450,000

1922: US Sheep Experiment Station established in Dubious, ID.

1923: Dr. Marsh first isolates Ovine Progressive Pneumonia in MT.

1924: Fort Keogh established for agriculture research.

1925: Eastern Montana Ram Sale Started (Montana Ram Sale).

1926: First wool research published in MT.

1928: Sheep research in Bridger Mountains begins.


1930: Fort Ellis dedicated for range sheep investigation.

1931: National Animal Damage Control Act

1932: Miles City banks foreclose on 250,000 head of sheep

1934: Taylor Grazing Act

1940-3: 747,000

1941: America enters WWII

1941: Columbia breed released.

1941: Fort Keogh sheep sent to Dubious.

1942: Sheep numbers peak in America-56,000,000

1946: WWII over

1947: Wool Lab building dedicated at MSU.

1948: First ram performance test at Ft. Ellis.

1950: 1,584,000

1950: Sheep advisory committee established.

1950: Montana Nutrition Conference started.

1950: Organization of numerous wool pools and lamb pools

1951: Targhee breed released.

1954: Wool Act.

1956: Red Bluff Research Station established, ending research in Bridgers.



1972: Widespread use of 1080 banned.

1973: Endangered species act passed.

1975: Grizzly bears listed.

1980: 574,000

1981: Central Ram Performance Test re-established.

1984: First Choteau Sheep Expo

1986: National Sheep Improvement Program established.

1990: 663,000

1995: OFDA 100

1995: Wool Act phased out.

1995: Grey wolf reintroduced to MT.

2000: 370,000

2000s: Development of numerous source verified, local lamb companies.

2001: OFDA 2000

2001: Montana Sheep Institute established.

2002: Eastern Montana Consolidated Wool Pool started.

2005: Wool Pool Corinator trailer first used.

2008: Miles City Ram Sale Catalog on-line.

2008: Montana’s wolf hunting allowed again.

2010: 255,000

2010s: Development of numerous source verified, local wool companies.

2010: New Animal Bioscience building dedicated at MSU.

2012: Montana Ram Sale’s first live video sale on the internet.

2018: Wool prices at historic highs on a non-inflation adjusted basis.

2020: 200,000

2025: New Wool Research Lab completed at MSU


Research topics by decade

1940s: Fattening lambs, Wool coring and shrinkage

1950s: Winter range ewe nutrition, Wool classing and skirting,

            Wool and lamb pools

1960s: Winter range ewe nutrition, Wool classing and skirting,

            Grass palatability and production, Production records


1980s: High and low line reproductive efficiency, Central Ram Test,


1990s: Lamb survivability, Sources of variation in fiber diameter,

            Noxious weed control, OFDA 100

2000s: Sheep in farming systems, Noxious weed control, Ultrasound,

            OFDA 2000 wool line building

2010s: Residual Feed Intake, Ribeye, Mineral Deficiency, Mastitis

2020s: Sustainability, genetics and microbial profile of wool