NWSAC Offers 22 Recommendations
The 20-member National Wildlife Services Advisory Committee (NWSAC), appointed by Secretary Ann M. Veneman, met the week of Aug. 16, 2004, to provide input on program activities and policies.
The committee discussed a variety of wildlife issues during the three-day meeting, which resulted in 22 recommendations on a number of items such as an increase in both funding and support for the resolution of problems caused by blackbirds, feral hogs and wolves.
The committee also asked for greater coordination with other Federal entities to address such issues as wildlife disease management, wildlife conflicts at airports and problems associated with obtaining migratory bird permits.
The Secretary and Wildlife Services are reviewing the committee?s recommendations.
Representing the interests of the American Sheep Industry Association and the U.S. sheep industry on the committee are Nina Baucus, Montana; Dr. Maurice Shelton, Texas; Patti Strand, Oregon; and Joseph Harper, West Virginia.
The committee is comprised of agricultural, public health, public safety, animal welfare and wildlife experts.
Pasture, Rangeland & Forage Programs Funded
U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Dr. J. B. Penn announced Aug. 12, 2004, the awarding of four Risk Management Agency (RMA) contracts for the development of new risk management tools for pasture, rangeland and forage.
The Agriculture Risk Protection Act of 2000 (ARPA) authorized the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) to enter into contracts for research and development to increase participation in states, areas and agricultural commodities that are underserved by the federal crop insurance program. FCIC also was directed to establish the development of pasture, rangeland and forage programs as one of the highest research and development priorities.
Four RMA contracts, which are national in scope, emerged from this directive. The contracts range from a new plan for pasture/rangeland and dryland hay to seasonal growth constrained rainfall index and precipitation index studies.
Once the contract proposals are complete, the developers will provide their product to RMA for review. Upon completion of its review, RMA will submit the products to the FCIC Board of Directors for its consideration and final approval. The final approved products are planned for either 2006 or 2007 crop-year implementation.
Record New Zealand Lamb Exports in 2003/04
New Zealand lamb exports increased slightly more than 1 percent on the previous financial year to reach a record 302,442 tonnes sw in 2003/04. The result came despite the mixed fortunes that were experienced in New Zealand?s key export markets.
Shipments to the United States jumped 22 percent on 2002/03 levels to reach a record 25,858 tonnes sw, while exports to Japan rose 44 percent to reach 10,916 tonnes sw for the highest fiscal year total since 1998/99.
New Zealand?s key export markets for lamb are also large outlets for Australian lamb. Despite New Zealand?s expanding export volumes to these markets, Australian lamb has also performed well over 2003/04, emphasizing the strength of lamb demand in these export markets. Over 2003/04, Australian lamb exports to the European Union, the United States and Japan rose by 23 percent, 18 percent and 41 percent respectively on year-ago levels.
Exports Expected to Reach $62 Billion
The U.S. Department of Agriculture?s final forecast for fiscal year 2004 indicates that sales are expected to reach $62 billion, or $5.8 billion more than last year.
This represents the highest sales ever, eclipsing the old record of $59.8 billion set in fiscal year 1996. The forecast is up $500 million from May?s estimate due largely to stronger-than-expected cotton, beef and pork exports.
Canada remains the No. 1 market for U.S. agricultural products with exports estimated at $9.6 billion, followed by Japan at $8.9 billion and Mexico at $8.6 billion.
USDA also released its initial forecast for fiscal year 2005, placing exports for next year at $57.5 billion.
Goodlatte Attends Ohio County Fair
Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture, joined Congressman Michael Oxley (R-OH) in mid August at the Richland County Ohio Fair.
American Sheep Industry Association President and Ohio sheep producer Guy Flora had the opportunity to visit with Goodlatte, and complimented him on his leadership and support of U.S. agriculture -- particularly that of the sheep industry.
"The sheep industry is very supportive of addressing the USDA quality grading of foreign lamb carcasses due to the problems this current practice creates," acknowledged Flora to Chairman Goodlatte. "Working with the Agriculture Committee on this issue is important to the industry."
Flora also addressed the issue of the Mandatory Price Reporting system, which expires Oct. 1 of this year, and encouraged the continuation of the program to alleviate any serious price consequences for U.S. sheep producers.