October 31, 2003
Oct. 31, 2003 -- The American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) Executive Board worked through an aggressive agenda in their Oct. 24-25 meeting in Colorado.
Industry and government officials joining the board on the first day included:
? Randy Eros, president of the Canadian Sheep Federation, explained the serious situation facing sheep producers due to loss of the U.S. market for 20 percent of their national lamb production. All live ruminant livestock trade was halted due to the BSE incident in cattle.
? Dr. Cindy Wolf asked the board for support of a federal grant and formation of the sheep working group regarding sheep identification. ASI has taken a leadership role in the creation of a sheep working group, and potential members who have an interest in sheep identification are being identified.
? Company and association representatives provided the sheep producer leaders with an extensive plan and proposal to develop an insurance product for the sheep industry. ASI is drafting a grant proposal to help fund development of a risk-management tool for sheep producers and feeders.
? Dan Borschke, executive director for the American Lamb Board (ALB), updated the group on the promotional campaigns the board is managing. He also reported the ALB will be meeting in Sacramento, Calif., during the joint convention of ASI and the National Lamb Feeders Association convention. The ALB has scheduled the check-off vote for the referendum for the first quarter of 2005.
? USDA official Dr. Dianne Sutton provided the latest status report on the progress of the scrapie program and the budgeting of the appropriations to implement this top sheep-health program.
? Discussion was generated when Fred Blauert presented the most recent information pertaining to the establishment of an ASI Foundation. The development of a foundation is a way to fund future association services and programs, hopefully beyond the current funding sources. Further work will be done toward this end.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that was drafted by the participants of the Tri Lamb Summit and broadly distributed among sheep leaders in this country was also discussed. The MOU is a non-binding agreement to improve the communications between the sheep industries of Australia, New Zealand and the United States. The board voted to accept and sign the MOU.
The next executive board meeting will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2004, during the ASI Annual Convention in Sacramento.
Staff contact: Peter Orwick, ext. 33