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From left, Mark Martinez, his employee Fermin Salomon, and his son Mitch Martinez, load sheep into a truck near Moxee, Wash., Tuesday, May 31, 2016. The lamb and wool business has been in the Martinez family for nearly a century. Now, it is the last remaining large-scale operation in Washington state where sheep are allowed to graze on U.S. Forest Service allotments.
Shepherd Fermin Salomon corrals sheep while loading them into trucks at the Martinez’s lambing camp in Mabton, Wash., Friday, May 13, 2016. The camp, which the family has used for decades, is home to about 4,000 sheep during the winter months.
From left, Rhett Martinez, his brother Mitch, and his father Mark load sheep into a truck while hauling them out to forest land near Moxee, Wash., Tuesday, May 31, 2016. The sheep operation is a labor-intensive year-round process that spans hundreds of miles across the eastern side of Washington state.
Mark Martinez, left, and his son Mitch Martinez unravel barbwire fences while building corrals for sheep near Othello, Wash., Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016. “It means a lot to be part of it, especially since it’s family,” Mitch said. “I feel incredibly lucky that I get to experience this life.”
Sheep file into a grazing area on National Forest land after being transported by truck near Nile, Wash., Tuesday, May 31, 2016. The Martinez family uses nine grazing allotments in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest for sheep grazing.
Shepherd Hector Camayo fills a water trough while working in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest near Leavenworth, Wash., Friday, June 24, 2016. Camayo, who is from Peru, comes to the United States to work for the Martinez family under the H-2A visa program. The Martinez family has been working with Peruvian shepherds for decades.
Carol Martinez, 77, feeds a lamb at her home in Moxee, Wash., Friday, July 15, 2016. Carol, mother of Mark, takes care of the lambs that need extra attention.
Carol Martinez, 77, feeds a lamb at her home in Moxee, Wash., Friday, July 15, 2016. Carol takes care of the lambs that need extra attention. “We think that lamb is a very good meat. There are no chemicals involved. With range sheep they are on good feed and it’s renewable. What better source of protein than that,” said Martinez.
A newly born lamb is illuminated by a shaft of light at the Martinez lambing camp in Mabton, Wash., Friday, Feb. 24, 2017. Each winter hundreds of babies are born.
In this picture taken in 1969 by a Yakima Herald-Republic photographer, Simon Martinez Sr., top, holds his twin 6-month-old grandchildren, Simon Martinez, left, and Mark Martinez, right, at the Martinez lambing camp. The boys’ mother, Carol Martinez, said, “As kids they were all part of it, from the time I packed them on my back.”
Mark Martinez and his dog Pippy, take in the view while delivering supplies to herders in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest near Peshastin, Wash., Friday, June 24, 2016. When asked why he persists with the sheep business, Martinez said, “I guess it’s in your blood.”