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Public Lands Grazing Guidance During Disease Outbreak Released

Managing livestock grazing on federal public lands in a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak will pose unique challenges for ranchers and animal health officials. That is why the American Sheep Industry Association received U.S. Department of Agriculture National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program funding to work with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and other stakeholders to develop movement decision criteria guidance that addresses the unique scenarios that would arise for federal lands grazers.

Resources are now available at the and websites under the Public Land Grazing pages.

“With about half of the U.S. ewe inventory that seasonally graze on permitted federal grazing lands, this project provides needed information for ranchers and decisionmakers. The rancher’s and other stakeholder involvement on the advisory group is greatly appreciated. Their input helped ensure the guidance created represented the realities and capabilities of this important sector of our industry,” said ASI President Brad Boner.

“Having raised cattle on both public and private land for almost my entire life, I know firsthand how important Western cattle production is to the national industry, and how complicated disease preparedness can be when we start talking about federal grazing allotments. For the first time, there are now resources that specifically consider those unique challenges and give detailed guidance to producers ranching on federal lands,” said NCBA President Mark Eisele.

An effective FMD response involving federal public lands will require interagency collaboration. Together, ASI and NCBA assembled an advisory group of federal public land grazing stakeholders. Guidance that is now posted on the websites above was developed through two years of virtual and in-person meetings with sheep and cattle producers who hold federal grazing permits, the Public Lands Council, state animal health officials, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Wildlife Services, and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

This guidance provides resources to livestock producers to voluntarily prepare before an FMD outbreak. Using “real time” scenario exercises, guidance was improved to provide decisionmakers with necessary information to ensure animal needs and response goals are met. Some decision criteria include assessing adequate feed/water, mitigating interactions with wildlife and implementing just-in-time biosecurity. More information is available in the Movement Decision Criteria for Industry and Regulatory Officials Managing Cattle and Sheep Grazing Federal Public Lands during an FMD Outbreak document on

A webinar, hosted by USDA, will be held on May 13 at 2 p.m. eastern time with presentations by ASI and NCBA describing this project and resources.

Click Here to register for the webinar.

ASI and NCBA appreciate the time and effort put in by the advisory group, as well as Dr. Danelle Bickett-Weddle – consultant with Preventalytics – in the creation of materials. ASI and NCBA each provide unique resources for sheep and cattle producers to prepare for, respond to and enhance their resiliency for a foreign animal disease event. This collaboration across the sheep and cattle industries with state and federal partners demonstrates impactful results to secure business continuity and a safe food supply.

The United States is currently free of the FMD virus. The Secure Sheep and Wool Supply Plan and Secure Beef Supply Plan for continuity of business provide opportunities for industry partners to voluntarily prepare before an FMD outbreak. If FMD were found in domestic livestock, regulatory officials will limit the movement of animals and animal products to try and control the spread of this very contagious animal disease. During this time, control areas will be established around infected premises and movement restrictions will be implemented.

Given the nature of federal lands grazing, containment of livestock and mitigation of risk will require different strategies than private land containment measures. When the control areas encompass part or all of a public land grazing allotment – in one or more states – there are unique challenges for sheep and cattle producers to mitigate disease exposure risks. FMD is not a threat to public health or food safety.


Wool Testing, LDPs Available to Producers

Whether testing wool for commercial sales or for genetic improvement, several laboratories within the United States are here to help.

Core testing determines average fiber diameter, wool base and vegetable matter base required for commercial wool sales. Standardized sampling procedures must be followed.

Core samples can be sent to the Bill Sims Wool & Mohair Research Laboratory at 7887 U.S. Highway 87 North, San Angelo, TX 76901-9714. You can call the lab at 325-657-7348 or send emails to

Click Here to visit the lab online.

Individual testing determines the average fiber diameter and/or yield – among other calculations – of an individual fleece. Data can be used for selection and genetic improvement, sorting fleeces or to simply better understand one’s wool.

Testing is available through several entities throughout the United States.

Click Here for a complete list of testing facilities.

With shearing underway in much of the country, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Marketing Assistance Loan and Loan Deficiency Payment programs can provide welcome assistance to wool growers. Now is a good time for producers to sign up with their local Farm Service Agency office for these programs.

Whether the wool will be sold, delivered to a wool pool or kept in storage, growers may be eligible for an LDP. However, growers must sign up with their FSA office while they have beneficial interest – before selling, delivering to a wool pool or disposing of the wool. Wool must be in storable condition through the date when the LDP is requested.

Currently, the ungraded LDP program – which is used most by producers – offers a 40-cent (per pound greasy) LDP. Marketing Assistance Loans are also available at various rates.

Click Here for current rates and to learn more.


Australian Wool Market Unchanged This Week

The Australian wool market recorded an overall unchanged result this week, with the series fluctuations heavily influenced by currency movement across the three selling days.

Sales resumed after the one-week Easter recess, and understandably the national quantity rose. There was a total of 50,184 bales available to the trade. The original quantity was higher before 7 percent of the offering was withdrawn prior to sale. This was the largest offering since the opening sale of the calendar year.

After the Australian dollar strengthened in U.S. dollar terms since the close of the previous sale, buyers who trade using this currency had their purchase power reduced. This was reflected in the market when it opened, resulting in general losses across the Merino fleece sector. The AWEX Eastern Market Indicator dropped by 6 cents for the day, but when viewed in USD terms, the market was dearer with the EMI adding 5 U.S. cents.

On the second day, currency movement was limited. The EMI recorded a 2- and 4-cent rise in AUD and USD, respectively. On the third day only Melbourne was in operation, and an overnight fall in the AUD of more than 1 U.S. cent assisted in a dramatic turn around. Strong rises in Merino fleece types helped push the EMI up by 4 cents. In contrast to the opening day, when viewed in USD terms the EMI dropped by 10 cents. The EMI closed the week unchanged at 1,142 Australian cents, while finishing 1 U.S. cent lower at 744 cents.

The finer microns have been more heavily affected by the falling market this season. This is best highlighted when viewing the 17- and 21-micron MPGs in the South. The 17-micron MPG opened the season at 1,842 cents, the 21-micron at 1,247 cents – a difference of 595 cents. Currently, these two MPGs now sit at 1,690 and 1,306 cents respectively – a difference of just 384 cents.

Click Here for the Australian Wool Report Prices in US Dollars Per Pound.

Source: AWEX


Florida Plans Fall Small Ruminant Short Course

Save the date for the third University of Florida Small Ruminant Short Course, to be held on Sept. 20-21 in Gainesville, Fla.

The event is a collaboration among UF/IFAS Extension, the UF College of Veterinary Medicine, the UF/IFAS Agronomy Department, Florida A&M University Cooperative Extension and the UF/IFAS Department of Animal Sciences. Producers, extension specialists and agents, researchers, students and allied industry members are welcome to attend this in-person, educational event.

The program will include lectures and demonstrations from industry experts and UF faculty members, and will be held in conjunction with the UF Ram Test & Sale and new UF Buck Test & Sale

Click Here for more information.

Source: University of Florida


Research Assistant Needed in Montana

The Department of Animal and Range Sciences at Montana State University is looking for a highly motivated professional to assist with a collaborative research project evaluating contact risk between wild and domestic sheep in Montana.

This is a full-time research assistant position for up to approximately 3.5 years that will involve field work across southwest and central Montana. The purpose of this project is to identify factors that influence the probability of wild and domestic sheep contact, and to use that information to expand the development and implementation of tools that mitigate the likelihood of contact and potential pathogen spillover. The project will be co-directed by Jared Beaver and Brent Roeder at Montana State University and Emily Almberg at Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Research activities will be led by Smith Wells, research associate at Montana State University.

Click Here for the full job description.

Source: Montana State University


Promote American Lamb With The ALB Store

The American Lamb Board shop has been updated, and dozens of items are available to help you promote American lamb at local events.

The site features recipe booklets perfect for sharing with new customers when selling lamb locally or attending local events. Each booklet has a theme to help consumers cook delicious cuts of American lamb at home. Outdoor Cooking Adventures is great for summer grilling, while Nutritious Meets Delicious is perfect for customers looking for nutritious menu options. You can order these recipe booklets – along with a time and temp chart and a lamb cuts guide – for free, up to 25 copies at

The most popular recipe booklet – Home Grown Flavor – can be ordered in quantities up to 100. This booklet is an all-in-one piece with recipes, cooking recommendations and nutrition information. It’s your go-to brochure for sharing delicious American lamb.

In addition to free booklets, the ALB Store offers several SWAG items that can be purchased. Items such as grocery bags, mugs and aprons can be purchased and used as prizes or dress your team in ALB hats and sweatshirts by visiting

Take advantage of our BOGO sale on the American Lamb Crew and Hoodie for a limited time. Buy one and get a second for FREE. Don’t miss this chance to stock up on apparel for your next event.

Source: ALB


Ag Leaders Push for Tax Relief

The American Sheep Industry Association joined three dozen agriculture and livestock associations in calling on U.S. Senate leaders to pass H.R. 7024 – the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act that passed through the House with bipartisan support earlier this year.

“This legislation is critically important to the entire American food and agriculture industry. As detailed in the 2024 Feeding the Economy report, American food and agriculture directly supports nearly 24 million jobs (over 15 percent of U.S. employment) and is responsible for more than $9.6 trillion of the country’s economic activity – 20 percent of total U.S. output,” read the letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“This legislation is especially important for America’s farmers, ranchers, growers and landowners. With low commodity prices, America’s agricultural producers are struggling to make ends meet. Unfortunately, they are also facing a series of tax increases as provisions in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act have either already expired or are set to expire at the end of 2025.

“Ninety-eight percent of farms and ranches in this country are operated as pass-through businesses, meaning the business income passes through the business entity and is reported on the individual business owner’s tax returns. Unfortunately, many of the individual tax reform provisions that were changed to help pass-throughs in TCJA have either already expired or are set to expire at the end of 2025. We support making all these expiring provisions permanent.

“In the interim, we must immediately restore the already expired and slimmed-down business provisions to help these families and to stimulate economic growth.

“Bonus depreciation incentivizes businesses to make capital expenditures and frees up cash to allow the business to re-invest in their business to grow and create jobs, which in turn creates economic growth. This provision became even more important to farmers, ranchers, growers and landowners after the TCJA for two reasons: first, with its expanded application to used property; second, due to the removal of personal property as property eligible for a tax-free Section 1031 like-kind exchange. Agriculture is a capital-intensive business. Without the ability to fully deduct equipment purchases, farmers, ranchers, growers and landowners are facing tax increases on their 2023 and 2024 tax returns.

“Raising the maximum deduction level for Sec. 179 expensing would also be helpful in those instances where it makes more sense for producers to utilize this provision, especially given the inflationary pressures the agriculture sector has been dealing with on the equipment side.

“We also urge you to pass this legislation to remove the TCJA requirement that research and development costs must be capitalized and amortized over five years rather than being deducted in the year in which they are incurred. This is hurting many feedyards, biofuels companies and food processing companies that rely on research and development to improve efficiency and compete with foreign businesses. This provision has artificially increased the taxable income of these companies, leaving many with massively increased tax bills, without the income necessary to make those tax payments.

“Finally, we also support the provisions in H.R. 7024 that restore the treatment of business income under 163(j). While most production agriculture falls under the revenue threshold for the small business exemption under 163(j), there are an increasing number of operations whose gross receipts push them above the threshold. Qualified farming businesses may elect out of the limitation, but the election requires making an irrevocable decision in an unpredictable industry given the cyclical nature of farm income and requires losing favorable depreciation and bonus depreciation provisions. These considerations can present serious challenges to a production agriculture operation trying to stabilize its farm income year-over-year.”


Legislative Update from Washington, D.C.

The American Sheep Industry Association’s lobbying firm – Cornerstone Government Affairs – offered an update this week on legislative issues in our nation’s capital.

Cole Tapped as Next Appropriations Committee Chair

On Wednesday, Rep. Tom Cole (Okla.) was officially conferred by the House Republican conference to serve as the next House Appropriations Committee chairman. This comes after Rep. Kay Granger’s (Texas) announcement in late March that she will step down from her current leadership role as top Republican on the committee prior to her retirement the end of this Congress.

This leaves the new chairman in the driver seat for navigating the Fiscal Year 2025 appropriations process. Rep. Cole previously served as chair of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Subcommittee and with his new role within the full committee, his leadership position will need to be backfilled – which typically gets decided based on seniority.

While Rep. Andy Harris (Md.) is the current Agriculture-FDA Subcommittee chairman, the reshuffling of gavels could result in a new chair, although it is unlikely in the eyes of most for Harris to opt out to lead a different subcommittee. Due to this new leadership role, Cole will have to give up his chairmanship of the House Rules Committee, where Rep. Michael Burgess (Texas) is expected to succeed him.

Thompson Projected to Markup Farm Bill by Memorial Day

Over the last few weeks, House Agriculture Committee Chair Rep. G.T. Thompson (Penn.) has been publicly projecting and making plans to markup a Farm Bill in committee by Memorial Day. This comes after little movement has been made on the massive piece of legislation since the one-year extension of the 2018 Farm Bill back in November of 2023.

Thompson and his team have reportedly been in active discussions with their Democratic counterparts regarding an updated budget proposal for paying for the long list of bipartisan priorities in the Farm Bill, including a boost to Title I reference prices. There is still much disagreement and uncertainty among House Democrats surrounding the proposed idea to repurpose conservation funds from the Inflation Reduction Act and suggested guard rails to the Thrifty Food Plan under the Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program.

This is not the first time Chairman Thompson has been in the press toting the line of getting a Farm Bill out the door, although that does not seem to stop House Republicans from being keen on getting a House draft out by spring. Until an actual markup is scheduled on the books, the fate of the upcoming Farm Bill remains undecided.

On the Senate side, Farm Bill talks seem to remain stalled as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) notably left the Farm Bill off a recent list of his most pertinent legislative priorities for the upcoming months.


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