News in Brief

News in Brief

Need a Wool Baler?

Are you looking to purchase a wool baler? This may be your opportunity.

ASI’s American Wool Council has been asked to look into purchasing wool balers from Australia for resale in the United States. The order will be for vertical balers in either gas or electric and will cost approximately $12,000 to $13,000 (subject to exchange rate changes). Additionally, buyers will be responsible for any shipping charges from the warehouse in Houston, to the buyer’s delivery point.

ASI will coordinate bringing a container to the United States and will cover the cost of international freight, as well as the port and handling fees.

To make this purchase most cost effective, there must be sufficient interest to order a full container of balers. Anyone interested in purchasing a wool baler through this process should contact Christa Rochford at christa@sheepusa.org to reserve a baler.

USDA Announces Second Lamb Buy

In early September, the U.S. Department of Agriculture published an invitation to purchase lamb for use in federal food nutrition assistance programs. This is the second offer toward the up to $10 million commitment made by the department to purchase lamb products. Offers to sell were due on Sept. 16. Delivery of the product was scheduled to be made between Oct. 1, 2015, and
June 15, 2016.

Lamb products requested for this buy included leg and shoulder roasts, as well as a first-time invitation for shanks. Products may be produced from previously frozen commercial stockpiles of lamb cuts and/or current fresh chilled lamb cuts.

According to ASI Executive Director Peter Orwick, “The strength of the U.S. dollar against the Australian dollar for the foreseeable future suggests that the availability of large amounts of cheap lamb imports coming in to the U.S. market is likely. Programs like the Section 32 lamb purchase are key to countering this influx of cheap product into our market and to supporting lamb prices at the farm and ranch gate.”

The July offer of lamb resulted in the purchase of 480,000 pounds of lamb leg roasts valued at nearly $2.7 million.

Ag Training Available for Service Members

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden and Dr. Susan Kelly, Director of the Department of Defense’s Transition to Veterans Program Office, recently announced the integration of agriculture into the career training and counseling programs service members receive as they transition out of the military. Information about USDA resources and programs will now reach 200,000 transitioning service members every year.

“Rural America disproportionately sends its sons and daughters to serve in the military. When service members return home, we want them to know that rural America has a place for them – no matter where they’re from,” said Harden. “This expanded collaboration between USDA and DOD will help to ensure that returning service members know that there are a wide variety of loans, grants, training and technical assistance for veterans who are passionate about a career in agriculture, no matter their experience level.”

Every year, approximately 200,000 service members complete the Transition Assistance Program as they prepare for civilian life. This partnership will help to ensure that returning service members know about the incentives for military veterans in USDA programs, and the many ways USDA can support military veterans and their families, from farm loans to conservation programs to nutrition assistance to rural rental housing and homeownership opportunities. Veterans can also visit USDA.gov/veterans, a website designed specifically to educate them about USDA programs.

Since 2009, USDA has provided $438 million in farm loans to help more than 6,482 veterans purchase farmland, buy equipment and make repairs and upgrades. Microloans, which offer smaller amounts of support to meet the needs of small- or niche-type farm operations, have also grown in popularity among veterans. Since launching in January 2013, USDA’s microloan program has provided more than $22.6 million in support to help 1,083 veterans grow their farming businesses.

Safety Net Programs Can Help

The USDA reminds farmers and ranchers affected by the recent wildfires in Alaska, California, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington state that there are programs to assist with recovery efforts.

The Farm Service Agency can assist farmers and ranchers who lost livestock, grazing land, fences or eligible trees, bushes and vines as a result of a natural disaster. FSA administers a suite of safety-net programs to help producers recover from eligible losses, including the Livestock Indemnity Program, the Livestock Forage Disaster Program, the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program, and the Tree Assistance Program.

In addition, the FSA Emergency Conservation Program provides funding and technical assistance for farmers and ranchers to rehabilitate farmland damaged by natural disasters and for carrying out emergency water conservation measures in periods of severe drought.

“Wildfires have caused devastating losses for many farmers and ranchers,” said FSA Administrator Val Dolcini. “Over the past several years, wildfires have increased in severity, intensity and cost as the fire season has grown longer, and drought and increased temperatures contribute to dangerous conditions. Natural disasters such as wildfires are unavoidable, but USDA has strong safety-net programs to help producers get back on their feet.”

Visit https://go.usa.gov/3eDeF to learn more about USDA disaster preparedness and response.

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