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ASI, NLFA Ask USDA to Reconsider Payment Limits

The American Sheep Industry Association, its state affiliates and the National Lamb Feeders Association wrote Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today asking that the U.S. Department of Agriculture reconsider payment limits through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.

The COVID-19 pandemic has already led to an estimated $353 million in losses for the American sheep industry, and USDA is working to establish the parameters surrounding direct assistance to agriculture – including America’s lamb, wool and sheepskin producers. ASI is working with USDA to establish such a program as it applies to the American sheep industry.

“The lamb industry supply chain is very tightly connected and the loss in any segment has a negative impact up and down the line,” read the letter. “Therefore, we would request USDA reconsider the payment limits mentioned in initial reports. Specifically, $125,000 per commodity, and $250,000 per individual. This limitation would severely restrict the effectiveness of CFAP for many family-owned farms, ranches and feedlots across the nation.  We have already seen many of our producers, feeders and processors incur staggering losses reaching far beyond the payment limits contemplated.

“Additionally, we would ask that the USDA evaluate options to consider losses incurred after April 15th, as a prescriptive timeframe would leave producers who will suffer a loss without assistance. The lamb market was strong going into our peak demand season around Passover and Easter, but fell off precipitously once COVID restrictions were implemented widely in late-March. The backup of product throughout the supply chain and the losses incurred in each sector of our industry are going to take considerable time to work through the system. While we hope markets rebound quickly, we know many producers will experience significant losses outside the currently contemplated window and ask that the USDA ensure equitable assistance industry-wide.

“We fully understand the budget constraints the department is under and applaud you for working to cover the needs of many diverse agricultural industries. The sheep industry looks forward to working with the administration and Congress to support USDA’s efforts under CFAP and other livestock programs as it recovers from the impacts of COVID-19.”

Click Here for more information.


SheepCast: Consumer Preferences at the Meat Case

In this special edition of the American Sheep Industry Association SheepCast, Anne-Marie Roerinks, president of 210 Analytics, provides an outlook on consumer meat purchasing decisions with an emphasis on lamb.

Click Here to listen to the SheepCast.


Webinars Continue to Offer Information, Education

With large gatherings still limited in most states, online webinars continue to offer insightful information and education on topics ranging from the lamb and wool markets to sheep production and health.

Here’s a look at a few upcoming (or recently held) webinars:

  • Traditional Lamb Market Considerations in the Midst of a Pandemic – Hosted by Dr. Whit Stewart and Bridger Feuz of the University of Wyoming. This program will highlight recent factors influencing the commercial lamb industry.
    Email to participate.
  • Weekly Worm Webinars – Sponsored by cooperative extension in Delaware, Georgia, Maryland and Virginia, this series of webinars is available each Tuesday (April 28 – June 9) at noon eastern time. Each webinar will cover a specific topic related to internal parasite control in small ruminants.
    Click Here for the webinars.
  • Design Considerations for Modern Sheep and Goat Farming Infrastructure – Hosted by the University of Georgia, this webinar was conducted on April 20 and features Dr. Richard Ehrhardt of Michigan State University.
    Click Here to watch the archived webinar.
  • COVID-19 Sheep and Goat Market Update – Texas A&M AgriLife Extension hosted its second webinar looking at the pandemic effect on the lamb market on April 17.
    Click Here to view the archived webinar.


Ramblers Way Develops Wool Mask

In response to the global pandemic, Ramblers Way has developed a stylish wool/cotton mask from repurposed materials.

The outside is made of 100 percent Rambouillet Merino wool, woven tightly in a lightweight gabardine fabric of the company’s yarns from American wool. This fabric was used primarily for men’s shirts. The inside is made of 100 percent Pima Cotton grown in the San Joaquin Valley of California. The ¼-inch elastic band used in the company’s Wool Off the Shoulder Blouse is used to affix the mask to your face.

Click Here to learn more.


Australian Wool Market Continues Slide

The Australian wool market continued to retract this week, with general overall losses recorded across the country. The national offering was only 24,874 bales. Overall, numbers continue to be well down on the previous season. When compared to the same time last year, there have been 152,758 fewer bales put through the auction system – a drop of 10.9 percent.

The smaller offering helped increase buyer demand, although main buyer focus was on the better-style wools and those with favorable additional measurement results. These better-style wools recorded minimal movements. However, the large selection of lesser-style wools and those with poor additional measurement results were not as well supported and lost ground as the sale progressed.

The losses in these types was the impetus behind the reductions in the individual Micron Price Guides, which generally fell across the country by 2 to 50 cents. The only exceptions were the finest MPGs in each center, which record modest upward movements.

The crossbreds also recorded overall losses. The MPGs for 26.0 to 28.0 micron lost between 13 and 34 cents, and these falls pushed the AWEX Eastern Market Indicator down 20 cents for the series, closing the week at 1,272 Australian cents. Due to currency movements, when viewed in USD terms, the fall in the EMI was marginally higher, a 26 USc reduction.

When compared to the corresponding sale of the previous season, the EMI has fallen by 671 cents – a reduction of 34.5 percent. Next week’s national offering increases slightly as there are currently 25,554 bales on offer. Due to reduced quantity, Sydney only requires a one-day sale on Wednesday. Melbourne and Fremantle will sell on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Source: AWEX


Free, Online Marketplace Available to Fiber Producers

In response to the 2020 cancelled wool festivals and shows, Fiber Artist Market is offering a free online marketplace to farmers, ranchers, fiber producers, FFA/4-H students and independent fiber artists through the fall shearing season.

“We have all been hit hard by this pandemic and we need to stand together and support each other,” read a release from the group. “This is our small way of supporting our fiber producers and artists. We will make the online marketplace free of all charges through the fall for all vendors. Sign up today and set up your own store and sell direct trade to your customers. We manage the SEO, advertising, secure payment pathway and stable bandwidth. You can link to your own website as well.”

Click Here to learn more.


Video of the Week

An estimated 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment – a grim reflection of the coronavirus pandemic’s toll on the United States economy. However, a few businesses – including Brooklyn Tweed – are thriving and even hiring as certain industries see booming sales, according to a recent report from CBS News.

The yarn company is an avid user of American wool and has seen an increase in business as many Americans stuck at home turn to knitting and other handicrafts.

Click Here to watch the video.




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