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Big Win for Sheep Grazing in Washington State

Earlier this week, a federal district court judge in Washington denied a request for a preliminary injunction to halt domestic sheep grazing on several allotments in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest over alleged concerns of disease transmission from domestic sheep to bighorn sheep.

“Despite an exemplary record by Martinez Livestock and the upward trend of bighorn sheep populations in the area, plaintiffs sought to halt Martinez Livestock from turning out domestic sheep onto Forest Service lands that it has grazed for decades relying on what is known as the ‘Risk of Contact’ model, which is often used by environmental plaintiffs as a weapon to halt domestic sheep grazing on certain public lands,” wrote Caroline Lobdell of the Western Resources Legal Center. “In representing Martinez Livestock, WRLC argued, in part, that the alleged risks to bighorn sheep were highly speculative and mitigated successfully through the use of extensive Best Management Practices to reduce the likelihood of bighorn sheep/domestic sheep interactions and outbreaks. Further, WRLC argued that the Forest Service’s Risk of Contact model cannot be exclusively relied on to determine the risk of disease transmission.

“Judge Peterson of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington agreed. She held that the Risk of Contact model is only one piece of the puzzle when assessing disease transmission risks between bighorn and domestic sheep. While sheep ranchers have argued the limited value of the Risk of Contact model for many years, this judicial recognition of the limits of the model serves as a beacon of hope.

“In weighing the public interests at stake, Judge Peterson also recognized the benefits of a community-oriented business and the derivative local and community benefits such as employment opportunities and research to support state universities. While plaintiffs have the option to appeal this decision to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, WRLC is optimistic that this initial victory will ultimately stand.

“We would be remiss not to mention the widespread community outreach and help from so many stakeholders across the West. Each of your phone calls and stories helped WRLC shape this case and reach this initial success and we are forever grateful.”

Click Here for the full court ruling.


Video of the Week

The Hawai’i Sheep and Goat Association teamed up with the Men of PA’A to stage and produce a unique imu demonstration video. Filmed on location in Puna District, Big Island, the video includes a step-by-step on how to build and utilize an imu. The video also highlights the use of local lamb cooked in the imu.

“In order to promote the production of local food and cooking techniques, we wanted to spotlight the use of Hawai’i grown, grass-fed lamb, using this ancient Hawaiian way of cooking,” said Julie LaTendresse, HSGA vice president. “The video illustrates that all different types of food can be cooked in an imu.”

The Hawai’i Sheep & Goat Association is a nonprofit whose mission is to support, improve and strengthen Hawaii’s sheep and goat community. The association provides networking opportunities, coordinates educational and promotional events and serves as a unified voice to represent island sheep and goat producers.

The organization received a promotional grant from the Hawai’i Department of Agriculture. With this grant, the association was able to produce a local cookbook including recipes for cooking lamb and goat, as well as recipes utilizing milk, cheese and many local ingredients.

The video was filmed during three days and also highlights important Hawaiian knowledge and culture passed down from the ancient Hawaiians.

The video premiered on the Hawai’i Sheep and Goat Association’s YouTube channel on Thursday evening.

Click Here to watch the video.


ASI SheepCast: Victory in Grazing Suit and Climate Solutions Introduced

This week’s American Sheep Industry Association SheepCast takes a deeper look into a pending lawsuit against grazing in a national forest in Washington State and what the Growing Climate Solutions Act means for sheep producers.

Click Here to listen to the podcast.


Ag, Environmental Groups Support Growing Climate Solutions Act

This week, U.S. Sens. Mike Braun (Ind.), Debbie Stabenow (Mich.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.) reintroduced the bipartisan Growing Climate Solutions Act, which will break down barriers for farmers and foresters interested in participating in carbon markets so they can be rewarded for climate-smart practices. The bill has broad, bipartisan support from 42 Senators and more than 70 agricultural and environmental organizations.

“America’s sheep producers have long supported healthy ranges and good stewardship of our nation’s vast natural resources,” said American Sheep Industry Association President Susan Shultz of Ohio. “Sheep grazing and wool production sequester carbon, manage vegetation, improve wildlife habitat and enhance rangeland systems. The Growing Climate Solutions Act provides a framework to recognize our producers’ efforts, while reducing barriers for them to participate in new and innovative markets. We greatly appreciate the bipartisan approach and the broad support that Senators Stabenow and Braun have been able to get behind this initiative.”

Click Here for more information on the act.


ASI Research Update: Controlling Internal Parasites – Coccidiosis

The April ASI Research Update Podcast features Rosie Busch, DVM, of the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine on the topic of Controlling Internal Parasites – Coccidiosis.

“Most anyone who has been around sheep is going to have some level of familiarity with this month’s topic,” said podcast host Jake Thorne. “Coccidiosis is widespread in North America and is one of the usual suspects when sheep performance declines and death occurs on the farm, especially this time of year.”

Click Here to listen to the podcast.


Lee Wants States to Manage Federal Lands Grazing

Sen. Mike Lee (Utah) has introduced the State Grazing Management Authority Act, a bill to allow states to manage grazing programs on federal allotments.

In public lands states, the agricultural community – particularly livestock producers – face unique problems in legally accessing and using the federal public lands within their domain. While many states have been able to streamline their grazing processes and work on the state and local level to make their lands more productive, grazers in public lands states are instead forced to navigate layers of bureaucracy and regulation from federal agencies like the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service, which are far removed and often unresponsive to their needs.

“These inefficient federal grazing requirements neither increase grazers’ interest in using federal lands, nor result in better land management,” said Lee. “My bill would instead allow grazers to partner with states – who are both more accountable and responsive to them – to create a more productive and thriving range.”

Specifically, the bill would allow states to enter into cooperative agreements with federal agencies to manage federal grazing allotments. With the increased flexibility and maintenance of range-health standards under the bill, states could take ailing public lands and help them to thrive.



Animal Ag Alliance Releases Sustainability Impact Report

The Animal Agriculture Alliance released its updated Sustainability Impact Report in celebration of Earth Day on Thursday and it highlights the animal agriculture community’s commitment to continuous improvement.

“Earth Day is a great opportunity to appreciate our planet and our environment, but for farmers and ranchers, every day is like Earth Day,” said Kay Johnson Smith, Alliance president and chief executive officer. “As showcased in our updated Sustainability Impact Report, the animal agriculture community continues to make advancements in ongoing efforts to reduce its environmental footprint while continuing to safely, efficiently and affordably produce the nutrients our bodies need to function and feel our best.”

The 33-page report includes three pages on sheep, lamb and wool touching on topics ranging from animal care to environmental stewardship to nutrition and food safety. The report highlights the role sheep play in preventing wildfires through the use of targeted grazing, improving land quality by recycling nutrients back into the soil, enhancing wildlife habitats and reducing waste through the consumption of organic substances that might otherwise end up in landfills.

Click Here for the full report.


Texas A&M AgriLife Offers Digital Education

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service has launched a new digital education course, Sheep and Goat Ranching 101. The series of 12 videos cost $25 and allows participants to learn at their own pace.

“This online course is for people new to the sheep and goat industry,” said Reid Redden, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension sheep and goat specialist and director of the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Service Center at San Angelo. “This course covers the basics of what people need to know, everything from how much animals typically cost to the type of facilities you’ll need to have to raise sheep and goats.”

This online course is geared toward beginners and taught by AgriLife Extension specialists, agents and graduate students. Using instructional videos, the experts walk viewers through the first steps to getting an operation started. They also provide viewers with the basic knowledge needed to maintain an operation.

Redden said the course provides essential information for small farms or ranches with less than 100 acres, new landowners or managers, and retirees moving back to the homestead who might be thinking of raising small ruminants.

An Advanced Sheep and Goat Ranching online course is currently being developed and will also be available at the Texas A&M AgriLife Learn website,, when completed.

Texas A&M AgriLife Learn offers online courses and flexible digital solutions to meet the training and educational needs for learners in Texas and beyond. AgriLife Learn serves adult and youth learners of every type and offers a catalog of courses over a broad range of topics and skills, including Texas Department of Agriculture continuing education unit courses, professional development courses and free educational courses.

Source: Texas A&M AgriLife


Australian Market Continues to Rise

The Australian wool market recorded overall positive movement this week, although not all sectors of the market managed price rises. The national offering fell by 5,854 bales to 40,402 bales. Despite the smaller offering this series, compared to the previous season there have been 79,700 more bales put through the auction system – an increase of 6.2 percent.

Strongest buyer demand continued to be in the finer microns. As a result, 18.0 micron and finer recorded solid price increases for the series. This was reflected in the individual Micron Price Guides for 18.5 micron and finer, which gained between 34 and 126 cents. The movements in the MPGs for 19.0 and coarser ranged between -47 and +49 cents. The gains in most Merino MPGs combined with gains in other sectors, helped push the AWEX Eastern Market Indicator up by 21 cents. This was the largest weekly rise in the EMI since February. The EMI closed the week at 1,312 Australian cents.

The 17.0-micron MPG in the South rose by 91 cents to close at 2,263 cents, while the 21.0-micron MPG fell by 6 cents. The difference between the Southern 17.0 and 21.0 MPGs has now grown to 1,024 cents, compared to last week’s difference of 927 cents. The crossbreds recorded very little change for the week. Movements in the crossbred MPGs in Sydney and Melbourne ranged between -6 and +6 cents.

The oddments posted overall positive results for the second consecutive week. General gains of between 15 and 30 cents in locks, stains and crutchings pushed the three Merino Carding Indicators up by an average of 20 cents. The large rise in the finer Merino microns has, in part, contributed to a significant increase in next week’s offering. There are currently 50,821 bales on offer in Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle.

Source: AWEX

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