February 13, 2003
For Immediate Release, February 13, 2003
Laura Gerhard, Communications Manager, (303) 771-3500, ext. 30, firstname.lastname@example.org
Judy Malone, Information Officer, (303) 771-3500, ext. 35, email@example.com
? Approximately 230 U.S. sheep industry members from across the country convened in Washington, D.C, Feb. 6-8 for the American Sheep Industry?s (ASI) 2003 ?Capital Advantage? Convention.
Convention highlights included the presentation of the association?s annual Wool Performance Report to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service Administrator A.J. Yates, a panel discussion with several members of the recently seated American Lamb Board, and a presentation by Robert DuPree, vice president of government relations for the American Textile Manufacturers Institute (ATMI), regarding the challenges of the U.S. textile industry.
In his Feb. 7 presentation of the Wool Performance Report to Administrator Yates, outgoing ASI President and Wyoming sheep producer, Frank Moore, noted the association?s many accomplishments, and the important role USDA played in helping ASI achieve its goals.
?We highlighted the strong partnership of ASI and the U.S. Department of Agriculture on behalf of the nation?s sheep industry during this meeting and worked on existing and new programs,? said Moore. ?The board also discussed the Farm Service Agency programs with Deputy Under Secretary of Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Dr. Jim Butler and USDA/Animal Plant Health Inspection Service?s scrapie control and Wildlife Services programs with Under Secretary of Agriculture Bill Hawks.?
The Wool Trust Report is the second such document prepared by ASI for members of Congress. It details the activities conducted by ASI through the annual expenditure of $2.25 million in Wool Research, Development and Promotion Trust Funds in the areas of wool quality improvement, market development, promotion and information dissemination. The most recent report covers activities conducted between Oct. 1, 2001, and Sept. 30, 2002. According to ASI Executive Director, Peter Orwick, ?2002 marked the first full year of wool programming, and the programs are regarded by the industry as being the best ever produced by ASI.?
In his February 7th presentation at the ASI Information Session, ATMI Vice President of Government Relations, Robert DuPree, gave an overview of the numerous trade issues facing the U.S. textile industry. DuPree also spoke about ATMI?s 8-Point Textile Action Plan for Growth. The plan addresses issues related to the Doha Round of global trade negotiations, the overvalued U.S. dollar, the need to reject further non-reciprocal trade expansion, imposition of quotas in response to recent surges in imports from China, the need for strong textile protection provisions in future trade agreements, negotiation of a textile bilateral agreement with Vietnam, action to ensure that the U.S. textile industry is not used as a bargaining chip to support allies in the war on terrorism, and a variety of customs enforcement and intellectual protection matters.
SHEEP PRODUCERS CONVENE IN NATION?S CAPITAL FOR 2003 ASI CONVENTION
DuPree emphasized how important it is for the entire textile industry complex to stand together to insist that other nations lower their textile and apparel tariffs to U.S. levels before any move is made to cut U.S. tariffs. He further noted ATMI?s role this year in once again coordinating the private sector coalition opposed to any weakening of the Berry/Hefner Amendment ? the ?Buy American? law for military purchases of textiles and certain other products.
On Feb. 8, American Lamb Board (ALB) Chairman and Colorado sheep producer, Tom Kourlis, told Board of Directors meeting attendees that he and the board want to engage in a dialogue with the industry to ensure the best possible outcomes for the $1.9 million he estimates will be available, after administration, for lamb promotion.
?We want to determine how we can best impact and influence the market for the benefit of the lamb industry,? he said.
The ALB, which so far has collected around $1.2 million from producer check-off payments, is currently working on strategic planning and expects to launch programs in March for Easter and early summer promotions. However, he warned against inflated expectations, saying the program should be judged successful in the short-term if promotional efforts can boost the price of lamb, for example, from 50 cents a pound to 53 cents a pound.
Other actions taken by the ASI board of directors included:
- the setting of dues for fiscal year 2004 at 3 cents per stock sheep and $6 per member;
- approval of a major consolidation of association policies across the animal health, lamb, wool and resource management areas;
- approval of new directives to seek a meeting with foreign interests to discuss upcoming trade negotiations;
- approval to seek an extension of the Lamb Meat Adjustment Assistance Programs at USDA;
- approval of an associate membership and seat on the ASI board of directors for the National Lamb Feeders Association (NLFA) and an associate membership for the Northeast Sheep and Goat Marketing Advisory Board (NESGM);
- election of ASI officers for 2003 -- President Guy Flora, Cardington, Ohio; Vice President Paul Frischknecht, Manti, Utah; and Secretary/Treasurer Burdell Johnson, Tuttle, N.D.;
- election of two new representatives to ASI?s executive board ? Region VIII (Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington) representative Richard Hamilton of Rio Vista, Calif., and Region IV (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota) representative Dr. Lyndon Irwin of Bois D?Arc, Mo.; and
- the re-election of ASI executive board members Janet Mawhinney, Waynesburg, Pa., Region I; David Greene, White Hall, Md., Region II; and David Trotter, Marysville, Ind., Region III.
In other convention news, Doris Haby of Texas was elected president of the ASI Women. She succeeds Pat Hamilton of Rio Vista, Calif.
ASI is a national organization supported by 42 state sheep organizations, benefiting the interests of nearly 64,000 American sheep and goat producers.