‘It’s killing us’: Nebraska rescue struggling to feed sheep and goats amid rising prices

PICKRELL, Neb. (KLKN) – Jen Schurman, the founder of Shepherd’s Rest Goat and Sheep Rescue, considers the goats and sheep her family.

She has spent the last five years rescuing them from disabled or terminally ill people.

The rescue started with eight goats but now has 70 sitting on the property in Pickrell, a village about 25 miles south of Lincoln.

But the more goats the farm has, the harder it is to feed them all amid record high prices.

Schurman said the cost of feed and hay has doubled for the farm.

“When I go from $460 a month in feed to over $800 a month in feed, it’s killing us,” she said. “And the cost of hay, I just brought in a load of 50 bales of hay that normally would have cost me $250 and it was $530.”

And because of the cost, she has even turned some animals away.

“It absolutely breaks my heart to tell somebody that I can’t help them, but I can’t help them if I can’t be sure, If I can’t assure them that that animal is going to be cared for and fed,” Schurman said. “And right now with pricing, we are so close, I can’t tell you. Even when we started, we weren’t this close to the breaking point.”

The farm also offers camping, but Schurman said because of fuel prices, the lot is empty.

Last year by this time, the rescue had 60 campers on the property. This year, only seven.

Inflation has the rescue concerned for its future.

In order to survive, it needs grant funding, which it currently doesn’t qualify for.

Schurman doesn’t receive any federal grants because she is not considered a female farmer because she doesn’t sell the animals. She only rescues them.

“Someone’s definition and box of what is a farmer is preventing me from getting grants that I need to be able to run the rescue right,” Schurman said.

There is no humane society for goats and sheep. Shepherd’s Rest is it.

Schurman said they’re no less worthy of care and grace.

“If you spent any time with these animals, you’ll realize they’re every bit as intelligent, every bit as compassionate, every bit as caring, as any other pet,” she said.

For now, the rescue is pushing through inflation as best it can to support the animals.

It will continue to bring awareness to the farm and keep up with corporate events, goat yoga and animal-assisted therapy.

The rescue is asking for donations to keep the goats fed and the gates open.

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