Towards the end of the 19th century, both the United States and Canada were opening up the West. And with western expansion, came a rise in wool production. Cotton might have been king on the East Coast, but in the West wool was an important part of the economy. “Wool production was vital,” says Jeanne Carver, who runs Imperial Stock Ranch in Oregon with her husband, Dan. “In the early days of Oregon’s settlement, Oregon was the second leading state for wool production in America.” Sheep-raising had changed as people moved westward, and was being done on a much larger scale than before. Sheep ranches like Carver’s, founded in 1871, were much larger than anything back East. “At one point Imperial Stock Ranch was the largest wool producer in Oregon, with 85,000 head of sheep,” says Carver.
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