Farming Though there has never been mush farming on the island, both dairy farming and sheep raising used to be practiced on a small scale, in order the supplement the fishing as a source of food for the islanders. The hay from the island was considered as good, and it made sense to make use of it. Hay was also gathered on the outer islands and this hay was thought to be especially richin in minerals and vitamins.
After the eruption in 1973, dairy farming was discontinued but sheep raising is still practiced. No one depends on this anymore for their livelihood, so today it is considered more of a hobby. Raising sheep on the island is more difficult than on the mainland because the sheep have to be grazed on the outer islands.
The sheep must therefore be transported out to the islands in the spring, and then home again before winter arrives. This is often entails climbing up the cliffs with the sheep, or pulling them up, but in spite of all the difficulty this often involves, it is still considered an an enjoyable sport.
The meat from the island flocks is darker in colour and considered much more tasty. The Westman Island sheep are hardy, surefooted and more gentle than those found anywhere else in Iceland, and there is little danger of contagious diseases being transmitted from the mainland because the island are so far from the coast.