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Serving the Sheep Industry Has Been A PleasureMike Corn, ASI President
Technically, I’m no longer the president of ASI. I handed over those duties on Jan. 26 at the ASI Convention in New Orleans. But since this issue of the magazine went to press before the convention, I get one more month in this space.
I’d like to take just a few minutes to look back on what a whirlwind the past two years has been. First, serving as ASI president has been a great honor for me, and I certainly want to thank everyone in the American sheep industry for allowing me to sit in this position.
I hope and pray that the industry is in a better place now than it was when I took the reins two years ago. I had some big shoes to fill following in the footsteps of Burton Pfliger. I’ve made many friends across the country and around the world, and along the way worked hard to help improve the sheep industry. Among other things in the last two years, we’ve:
• Saved the use of M-44’s for coyote control. This was an uphill battle given the huge media storm around an incident in Idaho.
• Garnered funding for minor use, minor species pharmaceutical development in the new Farm Bill. This is the type of development that will touch nearly every sheep producer in the country in the years to come.
• Opened two new export markets for American lamb in Japan and Taiwan. This was a top priority in my letter to President Donald J. Trump’s transition team shortly after he was elected.
My main goal was to address the imported lamb that continually hampers our domestic meat market in the United States. We had face-to-face meetings with Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and USDA Under Secretary for Trade and Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney, as well as many senators and representatives across the country. President Trump has said as soon as he gets the trade war with China resolved he will turn his attention to the World Trade Organization, and that my friends is where we can really do some good in addressing imports.
In closing, I want to thank the entire ASI staff for all they do to keep our association running in such a smooth manner. The staff made my job much easier and sometimes made me look better than I deserved.
I have said many times that my dream is to see sheep rule the range again, and I believe that what we have done during my decade of service at ASI will prove in time to grow our industry to dominance once again.
Remember, the largest predator to the sheep industry isn’t coyotes, cougars or bears, it’s tradition. We must find new ways to grow and adapt our industry in an ever-changing world. Resting on past achievements is a bad trap for anyone or any industry to fall into, and I feel that ASI has worked hard to address this in recent years. I’m thankful for the Let’s Grow Program and the National Sheep Industry Improvement Center – both established by ASI – for the innovation these programs spurred through grant money infused into our industry.
Of course, some things never change. My time as president has come to an end, but I take comfort in returning home to my family. I now plan on spending a little more time dancing with my bride, Jennifer, who along with my son, Bronson, made my term as president possible.