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Registration Opens Next Week for Lamb Summit

Producers, feeders, educators, packers, processors and direct marketers are all encouraged to attend the second American Lamb Summit this summer in East Lansing, Mich. Registration for the Aug. 8-9 event opens on Tuesday, April 5. The American Lamb Summit is limited to 250 industry members.

Attendees will identify strategies to increase the value of American lamb while networking with progressive industry leaders and producers. The purpose of the event is to “inspire the next level of change and collaboration among all segments of the U.S. lamb industry to improve our competitiveness, product quality and productivity through increased use of the most efficient, progressive management tools.”

Click Here for a detailed schedule for the two-day summit and optional tour day, as well as to register to attend. The American Lamb Summit is sponsored by the American Lamb Board and Premier 1 Supplies.


USDA Providing Drought, Wildfire Payments to Livestock Producers

The U.S Department of Agriculture announced this week that ranchers who have approved applications through the 2021 Livestock Forage Disaster Program for forage losses due to severe drought or wildfire in 2021 will soon begin receiving emergency relief payments for increases in supplemental feed costs in 2021 through the Farm Service Agency’s new Emergency Livestock Relief Program.

“Producers of grazing livestock experienced catastrophic losses of available forage as well as higher costs for supplemental feed in 2021. Unfortunately, the conditions driving these losses have not improved for many and have even worsened for some, as drought spreads across the U.S.,” said Agriculture Sec. Tom Vilsack. “In order to deliver much-needed assistance as efficiently as possible, phase one of the ELRP will use certain data from the Livestock Forage Disaster Program, allowing USDA to distribute payments within days to livestock producers.”

Due to the persistent drought conditions in the Great Plains and West, FSA will be offering additional relief through the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-raised Fish Program to help ranchers cover above normal costs of hauling livestock to forage. This policy enhancement complements previously announced ELAP compensation for hauling feed to livestock. Soon after FSA announced the assistance for hauling feed to livestock, stakeholders were quick to point out that producers also were hauling livestock to the feed source, as well, and encouraged this additional flexibility.

It is important to note that, unlike ELRP emergency relief benefits which are only applicable for eligible losses incurred in the 2021 calendar year, this ELAP livestock and feed hauling compensation will not only be retroactive for 2021 but will also be available for losses in 2022 and subsequent years.

“The American Sheep Industry Association is pleased with the announcement on livestock hauling flexibility as we hit this topic consistently in correspondence – virtual and in person – with USDA,” said ASI Executive Director Peter Orwick.

To calculate ELAP program benefits, an online tool is currently available to help producers document and estimate payments to cover feed transportation cost increases caused by drought and will soon be updated to assist producers with calculations associated with drought related costs incurred for hauling livestock to forage.

Additional USDA disaster assistance information can be found on, including USDA resources specifically for producer impacted by drought and wildfire and the Disaster Assistance Discovery Tool, Disaster-at-a-Glance fact sheet and Farm Loan Discovery Tool. For FSA and Natural Resources Conservation Service programs, producers should contact their local USDA Service Center. For assistance with a crop insurance claim, producers and landowners should contact their crop insurance agent.

Click Here to read the full story.

Source: USDA


FWS Director Seeks Common Ground with Ranchers

Fish and Wildlife Service Director Martha Williams showed two facets of her agenda this week, taking endangered species action and pitching cooperation with ranchers and other public land users.

In a presentation before a virtual meeting of the Public Lands Council, Williams repeatedly stressed the benefits of building good working relationships with those affected by her agency’s sometimes controversial actions.

“I want to be very strong on building within the Fish and Wildlife Service a culture where our partnerships in this coordinated effort [come] first and foremost, so that we’re not seen, as I think is so often the case, as being [just] a regulator,” Williams said.

The Public Lands Council represents cattle and sheep producers who hold public land grazing permits, many of whom have chafed, in particular, under the federal agency’s application of the Endangered Species Act.

“A lot of our producers are frustrated with the durability of [ESA] delisting rules,” noted Kaitlynn Glover, executive director of the Public Lands Council, noting the example of litigation that’s shifted the listing status of the gray wolf.

Last month, a federal judge court reversed a Fish and Wildlife Service decision made during the Trump Administration that removed the gray wolf’s population in the lower 48 states from ESA protections (E&E News PM, Feb. 10).

The decision again designated the gray wolf as a threatened species in the lower 48 states with the exception of the Northern Rockies population, for which wolf protections were removed by Congress in 2011. In Montana, Idaho and Wyoming, state governments manage the wolf populations.

“While they’re listed, we’re fully committed to see what tools we can bring to bear and how we can help landowners and ranchers have some flexibility in ending their depredations,” Williams said, adding without additional details that she “just had a long call last night” touching on the gray wolf issue.

Click Here for the full story.

Source: E&E News


Australian Market Down for Third Straight Week

The Australian wool market continued to trend lower this week, recording an overall loss for the third consecutive series. Although the market retracted slightly, there were positive signs throughout the series – particularly on the final selling days in the three selling centers.

The market opened cautiously and from the opening lot in the East through to the final hammer in the West, the prices achieved for good style Merino fleece types slowly but noticeably reduced as buyers looked for value in the softening market. By the end of the first day, the price reductions were reflected in the individual Merino fleece Micron Price Guides, which across the country fell by between 1 and 37 cents with Melbourne recording the heaviest falls.

These losses – combined with falls in all other sectors – pushed the AWEX Eastern Market Indicator down by 14 cents for the day. The second day of selling, there was an increase in buyer confidence. This in turn resulted in widespread spirited bidding which helped push prices generally higher for the day. The Merino fleece MPGs for 20 micron and finer rose by between 1 and 25 cents. There were small losses in some other pockets of the market, but the increases were enough to push the market higher overall as the EMI added 4 cents for the day.

On the final day – with only Melbourne in operation – the Merino fleece market continued to strengthen. The MPGs rebounded another 1 to 12 cents and the EMI managed the smallest of increases, again held back from a larger rise by selected weak pockets in the market. By the end of the series, the EMI had fallen by 9 cents to close the week at 1,375 Australian cents.

Next week’s national offering increases. There are currently 49,206 bales on offer in Sydney, Fremantle and Melbourne, which will accommodate the offering over two selling days.

Source: AWEX


Lamb Holds Ground with American Consumers

The U.S. Quarterly Lamb Retail Sales Report for the fourth quarter of 2021 shows lamb performed better during 2021 than 2020. The report was compiled by Midan Marketing LLC for the American Lamb Board using retail scanner data from IRI representing all lamb retail sales (American and imported).

Lamb has seen tremendous retail sales growth in the past two years. Lamb and exotics were the only meat categories to grow volume in 2021 compared to 2020. Compared to 2019 (a more normal year/pre-covid) rather than 2020, volume sales of lamb are up 19.3 percent in 2021.

In 2021, dollar sales increased 9.6 percent, and while inflation had an impact, retailers still moved/sold more lamb with volume sales increasing by 1.4 percent compared to 2020. The average price per pound for lamb rose 8.2 percent, from $8.25/lb. in 2020 to $8.92/lb. in 2021.

Sales were exceptionally strong during the traditional peak times of the year for lamb – namely Easter and Christmas. American lamb consumers purchased 13.7 percent more pounds of lamb for Easter than in 2020, creating a 17.8 percent increase in dollar sales. Christmas demand also caused a surge with consumers purchasing 11.7 percent more lamb in pounds, a 21 percent jump in dollars spent. These strong holiday lamb sales helped balance out the inconsistency in lamb purchases during the past two years, including a summer 2021 dip.

Preference for cuts of lamb has changed, according to the report. Loins were the most popular just a year ago. But it is the rack (ribeye in this report) that took center stage in 2021, surpassing loin by $1 million in sales. Rack volume sales in 2021 topped 2020 sales by 1 million pounds. Loins experienced the most extreme price hike of any cut with more than a full dollar per pound increase.

The Northeast remains the highest lamb selling region in the United States and is likely to stay so, yet the South-Central region saw an explosion of dollar sales, especially at the end of the year. The Baltimore/Washington, D.C., area saw a significant increase in lamb popularity with an 8.1 percent increase in volume sales. The Plains saw the largest percent increase in volume sales of any region, growing 21.6 percent between 2020 and 2021. Houston is a growing lamb market with volume sales increasing 14.6 percent in 2021 compared to 2020 (even as it hit the top mark for price at an average of $9.59/lb.)

For a copy of the report please email

Source: ALB


PSU Extension Plans Parasite Workshops

Penn State Extension will hold a workshop titled It’s a Wormy Deal at three locations this spring for sheep and goat producers.

The first will take place on April 18 at the Oberholtzer Farm in East Earl, Penn. The second workshop will be held on April 19 at the Dotterer Farm in Mill Hall, Penn. The third is set for April 30 at the Wherry Farm in Scenery Hill, Penn.

“The workshop is named the way it is because it’s a wormy deal for sheep and goat producers throughout the grazing season in Pennsylvania,” said Melanie Barkley, senior extension educator based in Bedford County, who is coordinating the workshops. “Wet weather leads to ideal conditions for internal parasites to flourish in pasture systems and leads to infected animals. Producers can learn how to better manage internal parasites at these workshops.”

Featured topics include an overview of the internal parasite life cycle and techniques to prevent parasite infection, according to Barkley. The workshop also will include information on how to use FAMACHA to assess anemia levels in sheep and goats. The FAMACHA score allows producers to determine the need to treat individual animals. Producers will demonstrate the procedure as part of the workshop.

The cost to attend one of the workshops is $25 and includes handout materials, refreshments and a FAMACHA card. Registration is requested by April 15. To register for a workshop, call 877-345-0691 or go to Registration is limited to 50 people for each workshop.

For more information about the workshops, contact Barkley at 814-623-4800 or Camren Maierle at 724-662-3141.

Source: Penn State Extension


USDA Offers Resources to Expand Meat Processing

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced late last week the launch of the Meat and Poultry Processing Capacity Technical Assistance Program to provide technical assistance to meat and poultry grant applicants and grant-funded projects.

Processors and applicants involved with the Meat and Poultry Inspection Readiness Grant program and the Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program can access this technical assistance. USDA also announced it is now accepting applications for $23.6 million in competitive grant funding available through the MPIRG program.

Click Here for more information.

Source: USDA


Video of the Week

Each year, the Helle family’s sheep flock must traverse dozens of miles of rugged alpine terrain in the pursuit of lush summer pasture. The success of Duckworth’s entire Montana-grown Merino business hinges on the success of the journey, and this summer’s Sheep Trail proved an unprecedented challenge due to a severe drought punishing the entire western United States. Check out the company’s latest film, chronicling this epic tale and the persistence needed to notch a critical win high in the mountains.

Click Here to watch the video.

Source: Duckworth


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