July 15, 2004
For more information:
Peter Orwick, (303) 771-3500, ext. 33
Judy Malone (303) 771-3500, ext. 35
Laura Gerhard (303) 771-3500, ext. 30
DENVER, Colo. ? Members of the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) Executive Council July 10, 2004, unanimously approved the association?s FY 2004-2005 Wool Trust Budget of $3,090,000.
The budget includes a first-time line item for a Certified U.S. Wool Clip Program, aimed at highlighting to the wool trade clip that has been properly prepared, thereby increasing both the reputation of U.S. wool and its value to end users.
The program will highlight warehouses as well as producers and shearing crews who actively participate in producing and marketing a quality U.S. wool product. The initial focus of the program will be that of reducing the amount of contamination of colored fibers and polypropylene in clip. Subsequent focus will be on improving the processing predictability of U.S. wool through the use of wool classing, wool descriptions and objective measurement testing. Also included is a self-certification process through which shearing crews can demonstrate their commitment to improving the quality and reputation of U.S. wool.
ASI also plans to continue working on the international program for wool exports and military/new product programs for domestic wool mills. To aid with ASI?s wool and pelt international programs, more than $800,000 of ASI?s budget will be received from the U.S. Department of Agriculture?s invaluable Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) program to promote American wool internationally. The FAS program has played a vital role in increasing exports of U.S. wools.
The executive board was pleased to learn that ASI programs aimed at providing more competition in the U.S. wool market have played a role in narrowing the price margin. Although the ultimate effect on pricing is multi-faceted, increased competition has played an important role the past few years. The price differential between U.S. wool and Australian wool is the smallest since World War II. And, in some cases this past wool season, U.S. wools brought the same price as similar wool types in Australia.
Other activities for which funding was approved include:
- wool market research/promotion, which includes items such as market and product development, international marketing and wooled pelt activities;
- quality improvement, including the areas of new technology, market accessibility, market information, raw wool quality improvement, wool product and quality assurance; and
- producer communications, with items such as print and electronic communications with industry members, media, educators, agri-business leaders, educators and legislators.
The FY 2005 budget was first reviewed and approved on July 9 by ASI?s 14-member American Wool Council and then by ASI Exective Board members.
The budget is now awaiting approval by ASI?s Board of Directors, who will be mailed the recommended Executive Board budgets and ballots the week beginning July 19.
Other actions approved by the ASI Executive Board include:
- Support to the Congressional Agriculture Committees for reauthorization of Mandatory Price Reporting, which expires October 2004;
- Approval of dues assessment for FY 2005 at the same rates as those of FY 2004 -- $.03 per stock sheep and $6 per member;
- Continued participation in the Commodity Roundtable Public Relations Working Group, to preserve the integrity and funding of the 2002 Farm Bill; and
- Continued communication with the U.S. Department of Agriculture?s National Agricultural Statistics Service, regarding annual sheep inventory numbers.
Executive Board and Wool Council members met jointly the afternoon of July 9, for presentations by three international speakers: Dr. Scott Champion, New Zealand Merino Co. Ltd.; Eric Durand, Lempriere USA; and G?tz Giebel of S?dwolle. Watch for coverage of these presentations in upcoming editions of ASI?s monthly tabloid, Sheep Industry News.
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