January 30, 2004
Jan. 30, 2004 -- Approximately 300 U.S. sheep industry members from around the country convened in Sacramento, Calif., Jan 21-24 for the combined 2004 American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) / National Lamb Feeders Association (NLFA) Convention.
The joint ASI/NLFA convention was the second of its kind. However, two additional national organizations -- the American Lamb Board and National Sheep Industry Improvement Center -- met in conjunction with ASI and NLFA this year.
More than 150 attendees participated in pre-convention tours and workshops. Activities ranged from a comprehensive tour of Superior Farms, with a stop at the Hamilton?Sheep?Ranch, to?a California?agricultural tour to understanding the day-to-day activities of a?wool top buyer.
The board of directors held discussions on major topics such as country-of-origin labeling, animal identification and mandatory price reporting. They approved efforts by ASI?s Strategic Planning Task Force to update/establish a foundation for industry education, research and information programs.??
In the international arena, Steve Shnitzler, deputy director of dairy, livestock and poultry, U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), reported that, ?Last year FAS allocated more than $550,000 to the sheep industry. We?re really pleased with the work ASI has done with this funding -- both in maintaining markets and establishing new ones.?
Also providing international input?at the convention was a panel of sheep industry representatives from Canada, New Zealand and Australia. Each reviewed the state-of-the-industry in their respective countries for the board of directors.
?The attitude and optimism in the U.S. sheep industry was very apparent in the large attendance and the positive announcements and decisions that were made at this industry-wide convention,? commented ASI President and Ohio sheep producer Guy Flora.
The complete press release can be found at: sheepusa.org
Staff contact: Peter Orwick, ext. 33