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Apply Now for ASI’s Sheep Heritage Scholarship

Applications are open for the American Sheep Industry Association’s annual Sheep Heritage Foundation Scholarship. The deadline to apply is May 31 and the recipient will be announced in June or July.

The $3,000 scholarship will be awarded to one graduate level (MS or Ph.D.) student who is attending school in the United States.

The scholarship was developed to drive advancement in the American sheep industry, through either wool or lamb research. Applicants must be a graduate student involved in sheep and/or wool research in such areas as animal science, agriculture economics or veterinary medicine with proof of graduate school acceptance. Applicants must also be a United States citizen, present two letters of reference and complete the application.

Click Here for more information and to apply.

In addition, the Sheep Heritage Foundation accepts donations throughout the year to provide funding for the scholarship. Memorial contributions in the name of loved ones who have passed away are a common way of supporting the foundation.

Click Here to learn more about donating.


Good Time to Check Wool LDP Rates

Notice to growers with wool 18.6 micron and finer, a 79 cents per pound clean Loan Deficiency Payment is available for wool in this category from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency this week.

Graded LDPs range from 3 cents per pound to 79 cents per pound based on the micron range of the wool. A wool test report must be supplied to show micron and yield.

Other wools may be eligible for a 40 cents per pound greasy Ungraged LDP with no test report needed. Talk with your local FSA office to apply.

Click Here for more information and updated rates.


Australian Market Records Positive Movement

For the first series since the beginning of March (week 36), the Australian wool market recorded an overall positive movement this week. The series was heavily influenced by currency movement once again.

Of interest this week, the annual International Wool Textile Organization Congress was held in Adelaide – with representatives from the American Sheep Industry Association in attendance. The IWTO Congress is “the annual gathering of the entire wool industry, connecting farm and fashion and attracting the most influential players within the global wool and textile industry.”

The national offering fell by 6,468 bales, with 43,680 bales available to the trade. This smaller offering pushed the year-on-year total below last season for the first time since September. There have been 7,614 fewer bales put through the auction system compared to the previous season.

The market was driven by solid increases in the Merino fleece types. This was reflected in the Micron Price Guides across the country, which rose by between 8 and 53 cents with the largest rises felt in the North and West. These centers were yet to realize the gains recorded in the stand-alone Melbourne sale of last week. With positive movements also recorded in the skirting, crossbred and oddment sectors, the AWEX Eastern Market Indicator added 16 cents for the series and closed at 1,158 Australian cents.

As mentioned earlier, a weaker Australian dollar – the AUD lost 0.98 cents since the close of the previous series – meant when viewed in U.S. dollar terms, the EMI closed marginally lower. The EMI fell by 1 U.S. cent for the week, closing at 743 cents.

The higher prices on offer were welcomed by most sellers, resulting in just 3.4 percent of the national offering being passed in. This was the lowest passed-in rate for the season.

Next week’s offering is of a similar size. There are currently 44,356 bales on offer in Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle.

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

Source: AWEX


Deadline Approaching for ALB Cooperative Funding

The American Lamb Board allocates funds through the Cooperative Funding Program for local sheep producer groups, lamb suppliers and direct marketers to cost-share marketing efforts that align with ALB’s mission to grow awareness and demand for American lamb. Applications can be submitted until April 30. Once the application process closes, no additional applications will be reviewed until Oct. 1.

“Previously, we accepted and reviewed applications year around, but by changing the program to review applications twice a year, we can more effectively and efficiently look at allocating funds to the programs that will have the greatest impact,” said ALB Chairman Jeff Ebert.

While the timing of the application process is changing, ALB will continue to allocate funds to assist efforts by state/local industry groups and American lamb suppliers and direct marketers as the budget allows. The program will continue supporting projects where applicants are prepared to share costs and provide additional resources to the funded project.

For the Cooperative Funding Program, ALB will prioritize funding opportunities designed to build consumer demand for American lamb and target consumers, chefs, retailers and other non-industry audiences.

Click Here for Supplier/Direct Marketer group application.

Source: ALB


Livestock Groups Offer NWRS Grazing Suggestions

The American Sheep Industry Association joined more than a dozen other livestock organizations this week in signing on to a letter offering suggestions for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposed rulemaking to ensure Biological Integrity, Diversity and Environmental Health on National Wildlife Refuge System lands.

“The proposed rule states that FWS shall ‘allow for and defer to natural processes on habitats within the Refuge System and promote conservation, restoration, and connectivity to meet refuge habitat objectives and landscape planning goals […] When natural processes cannot meet habitat objectives or facilitate adaptation to anthropogenic change, we will use science-based management techniques […].’ The undersigned organizations urge FWS consider managed livestock grazing as an optimal, science-backed management technique for promoting biodiversity and ecological health on NWRS landscapes. The numerous ecosystem services provided by grazing are a tested and proven contributor to building landscapes that are more resilient to invasive species, catastrophic fire, and changing climate conditions. With proper management, grazing is today – and can continue to be – a natural process that cultivates BIDEH on refuge lands.

“The organizations also note with concern the FWS’ language in the proposed policy revisions that ‘We prohibit the use of agricultural practices unless they are determined necessary to meet statutory requirements, fulfill refuge purposes, and ensure biological integrity, diversity, and environmental health, and where we cannot achieve refuge management objectives through natural processes.’ We strongly caution FWS against attempting to reinvent the wheel and swap livestock grazing out for other species in an attempt to achieve a more ‘natural’ process. Bison pose a particular concern to ranchers, due to the risk of brucellosis transmission to neighboring cattle herds on public and private lands. Additionally, livestock grazing on refuges is both highly regulated and closely managed. Displacement of livestock grazing for another purpose would inherently result in a less-managed landscape, to the detriment of refuge goals. We request that the final rule text include more explicit assurances that existing cooperative agriculture agreements will not be amended to preclude domestic livestock species like cattle or sheep; and that cattle and sheep will not indirectly be forced off grazing allotments due to the introduction of species with disease management concerns, such as bison or bighorn sheep.”

Click Here to read the full letter.

Click Here to learn more.

Source: Public Lands Council


UW Ranch Camp Registration Open

The University of Wyoming Extension is now accepting applications for the fourth annual Wyoming Ranch Camp, to be held at the Padlock Ranch on June 10-14.

Open to applicants ages 18 and older, Ranch Camp combines hands-on learning opportunities with team problem solving and practical lessons in ranching economics, diversification, soil and range science, livestock genetics and more. Workshops and activities are led by UW Extension educators, university faculty and local producers.

While the program is open to individuals of all backgrounds, it’s not just for those who are new to ranching. Past participants range from recent high school graduates who grew up on family ranches to UW students and mid-career professionals looking to start their own business. Current ag professionals – including ag teachers – are also encouraged to attend.

Ranch Camp graduates have gone on to launch their own businesses, diversify their family operations, and pursue careers in the ag industry, including as extension educators.

“In March of 2022, I started my own LLC and began my own farming business, mainly focused on quality hay production,” a 2021 participant reported. “I know it [Ranch Camp] for sure helped me prepare for all I am doing now.”

The program balances seminar-based learning and discussion with hands-on activities like cattle branding, sheep docking and ranch tours. Throughout the week, teams of participants collaborate to create business plans for their host ranch. On the last day of the program, each team presents their plan to ranch managers and educators.

“As an educational team, we feel like we have knocked this class and curriculum out of the park,” said Hudson Hill, UW Extension educator and co-founder of Ranch Camp. “The producer partners that we have worked with have been spectacular.”

Click Here to learn more and register for this year’s event. The cost is $200 per participant, with meals and lodging included. Scholarships are available.

Contact Hill at or 307-885-3132 with questions.

Source: University of Wyoming Extension


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.

Vilsack Testifies on FY 2025 USDA Budget

On Tuesday, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies held a hearing titled, A Review of the President’s Fiscal Year 2025 Budget Request for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which featured the testimony of USDA Secretary Thomas Vilsack.

In his review of the president’s agriculture budget request, he spoke to the broad scope of USDA’s work and its impact on rural America, and defended spending request increases. Republicans and Democrats highlighted the need to invest in agricultural research and rural communities and emphasized the importance of protecting small and medium-sized farms. Republicans expressed concern over the recent spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza to livestock and the agricultural trade deficit, whereas Democrats touted nutrition programs and spending for conservation programs as a top partisan priority.

Other topics discussed included USDA staffing challenges, farmland loss mitigation, and use of the Commodity Credit Corporation.

Click Here for a recording of the hearing.

$1 Billion Designated for Food Assistance

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture alongside the U.S. Agency for International Development announced it will deploy $1 billion in Commodity Credit Corporation funds to purchase U.S. grown commodities to provide emergency food assistance to people across the world in need.

“With many millions of people in dire need worldwide, the U.S. agricultural sector is well positioned to provide lifesaving food assistance,” said Sec. Vilsack.

An initial tranche of approximately $950 million will support the purchase, shipment and distribution of 11 different staple U.S. commodities that align with traditional USAID international food assistance programming. Into the future, USAID will determine where the available commodities will be most appropriate for programming without disrupting local markets. USDA will purchase the commodities and transfer them to USAID for distribution. For the initial rounds of support, USAID has selected 18 countries to be targeted recipients.


Western Caucus Blasts BLM Land Use Rule

Senate Western Caucus Chair Cynthia Lummis (Wyo.) and House Western Caucus Chair Dan Newhouse (Wash.) issued the following statements slamming the Bureau of Land Management’s Conservation and Landscape Health final rule, which erodes multiple use requirements on federal lands that are essential to local communities throughout the west. By making conservation an official use of federal lands, activities like grazing, energy development and tourism – which Wyoming’s economy relies on – could be banned to appease radical climate extremists.

“The people of Wyoming and throughout the west have once again been put on the backburner by this administration to score political points with climate change activists,” said Lummis. “The BLM’s new public lands rule is an egregious violation of its multiple-use mandate that immediately threatens public access and use of almost half of Wyoming’s land, delivering a nearly fatal blow to Wyoming’s ranching, energy and tourism industry. This policy will have devastating consequences for the state of Wyoming and the entire west, and I will support any effort to overturn this egregious overreach.”

“Once again, President Biden and Secretary Haaland are confusing ‘conservation’ for ‘preservation’ with this illegal final rule that violates the multiple-use mandate established by FLPMA,” said Newhouse. “Let’s be clear, this is just another way to lock up America’s abundant natural resources, end grazing on federal lands and limit public access to our public lands for the sake of climate alarmism. This is a direct assault on the Western way of life and the Congressional Western Caucus will support any and all efforts to overturn this blatant overreach from the Biden Administration.”

In 2023, Sen. Lummis joined Sen. John Barrasso (Wyo.) and eight of her colleagues in introducing legislation to block this rule and protect federal lands.

The new BLM rule upends this nearly 60-year public land policy by amending the definition of “conservation” to exclude multiple use. It also establishes obstructive “conservation leases” to take otherwise productive lands completely out of production for a decade or longer.

Source: Western Caucus


Video of the Week

Experience Wool takes a look behind the scenes at the Bill Sims Wool and Mohair Research Testing Laboratory in San Angelo, Texas.

Click Here to watch the video.


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