President's Notes

To View the December 2013 Digial Issue — Click Here

Working Our Way Through Changes

Clint Krebs, ASI President

With Christmas just around the corner, it looks like we as an industry have made it through another year. It is also the time of year when a number of states have their annual conventions. Producers are getting together and I am receiving more feedback on industry issues, which is a good thing.
This last year has shown us we cannot fix all of our problems overnight, but if we keep working together we can make progress. I hope people will carry over the “spirit of Christmas” into the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) annual convention and continue to work together so we can make additional progress on the issues facing the sheep industry.

Speaking of changes, during the Washington State Sheep Producers meeting, one of the stops was to an old railroad depot that was pretty much restored to original condition. It had the telegraph machine and the old phone systems. It made me remember that our phone ring was three longs and one short. It really didn’t make any difference, though, because most people on the party line would pick up the phone just so they could hear the gossip.

As I was reflecting on the changes, it occurred to me that in some ways communication between people has gone back to where we were. E-mail and texting in short sentences – and with no emotion – is just like sending telegrams. Facebook and Twitter are just like listening in on the party line to find out what everyone else is doing. Cell phones are with us all the time, although a large majority of people let them ring into voice mail instead of answering.
I really am not sure the communication systems we use today are superior to what we left behind.

Just like the telephone industry, the sheep industry has made some changes – sometimes for the better but sometimes in a manner that makes the old way of doing things seem not as bad as we thought.

As I travel, I am realizing more and more producers are becoming involved in niche marketing of both lamb and wool. My neighbor was recently awarded the contract for the yarn to make the USA Winter Olympic uniforms. Another Oregon producer built his own lamb harvest facility. When you see and hear these stories from coast to coast, you soon realize a tremendous amount of the lamb and wool is being sold in nontraditional channels.

I think the nontraditional channels are good for our industry; however, at times it creates competition between producers, which can lead to people not wanting to work together. I am trying to represent all producers, regardless of how they market their products and I know everyone at ASI wants to do the same. We would have a stronger industry if more people would become part of the team.

From all of us here at Krebs Livestock we would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Let’s hope this lamb market continues to hold where we can be profitable and be sure to make plans to attend the annual convention in Charleston.

To wrap things up, one good travel story for you: I once went into my hotel room bathroom to take my shower and even though I was alone, I closed the bathroom door.

Apparently this door had never been closed because the door knob fell completely off. This would not have been a problem but it fell to the outside.
If any of you would like to know how to pick a lock with a bar of soap and a toothbrush just let me know.

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