President's Notes

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Make Plans to Join Us In Denver

Burton Pfliger, ASI President

Earlier this year, the American Wool Council adopted a new look with the creation of a modern logo that will soon adorn the tags of products made with American wool and made in America.

We will celebrate this rebranding of American Wool at the 2017 ASI Annual Convention in Denver on Jan. 25-28, and we hope that you are taking some time during this holiday season to finalize plans to join us. This is the first time since 2000 that we’ve held the convention in Denver – the year-round home of the ASI office and staff.

Those of you unfamiliar with the Rocky Mountain region should know that January in Denver can bring anything from blizzards to warm, sunny days. Average highs in the area in January are between 40 and 50 degrees. That same week in 2016, Denver saw several days with highs in the 60s. So, we’ll hope for the best. But bring your winter coat along, too.

We’ll officially kick things off with an opening session headlined by Colorado State University’s Dr. Temple Grandin on Thursday afternoon, Jan. 26. Dr. Grandin is a world renowned designer of livestock handling facilities, an author and a professor of animal science. She was also a key contributor in the production of the Sheep Animal Handling Video Series produced earlier this year by ASI.

Speaking on the importance of awareness of animal welfare at all stages of the sheep production process, Dr. Grandin’s session is a can’t miss event for anyone in our industry.

When I say that all facets of the sheep industry come together at the ASI convention, I truly mean it. There’s no other time during the year when you’ll find every aspect of our industry represented in one place. Along with the ASI councils and committees, we’ll be meeting alongside the American Lamb Board, ASI Women, Food and Fiber Risk Managers, Make It With Wool National Contestants, Mountain States Lamb Co-op, National Lamb Feeders Association, National Livestock Producers Association, National Sheep Improvement Program, National Sheep Industry Improvement Center, Sheep Venture Company, Superior Farms and Western Range Association.

This is truly an industry-wide gathering, and one that any member of the sheep industry will find value in attending.

The work we do in the various meetings throughout the week is important, but often the highlight of the convention is the industry tour that takes place on Wednesday, Jan. 25. This year, we’re offering two such tours. The downside is you’ll have to choose one.

The first option offers a behind the scenes look at a lamb processing facility. You’ll have the chance to see USDA-graded carcasses move down the production line. Then it’s off to the feedlots. The tour will also include a stop at Nugget International, where pelts are received, graded, salted, dried and readied for shipping.
The second tour option on Wednesday includes a rare look at the National Wildlife Research Center – home of Wildlife Services. The 43-acre NWRC headquarters campus includes chemistry and disease laboratories, outdoor animal holding pens, tropical and temperate simulated natural environments and a Biosafety Level 3 suite.

Those on the second tour will then head to the feedlots before making a stop at an ethanol plant that produces a feed supplement used at the feedlots.
Throw in a lamb lunch on both tours and you can’t go wrong, regardless of which one you choose to attend. During the week, we’ll also offer tours of the Yocom-McColl Testing Laboratory and the Superior Farms processing plant, both in Denver.

If you’re looking for something outside the industry, we’ve got you covered there, too. Tours of the Denver Mint and Molly Brown House Museum, as well as afternoon tea at the Brown Palace are all on the agenda during the week. The ASI Board of Directors will meet for most of the day on Saturday, Jan. 28, but those with an open schedule might choose to take in the Coors Brewing tour that afternoon. I’m told the 30-minute tour in Golden, Colo., finishes with a cold sample fresh from the tap.

Be sure to select each event you’d like to attend when registering for the convention.

Also, remember our RAMS PAC Reception and Auction on Friday night, which gives us an opportunity to support the sheep industry with unrestricted funds that are so essential as we begin to work with a new Congress and President, and looking long range toward a new Farm Bill and Wool Trust. And you won’t want to miss the Make It With Wool Banquet and Fashion Show to close out the week on Saturday night.

As for registering, things are a little different this year. We’ve partnered with Cvent to create an online registration system that should streamline the process for the ASI office staff. You can find the registration link and other important convention information at You can also go directly to registration at

I look forward to seeing each of you in Denver. Until then, I wish you all the best this holiday season.

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