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ASI Offers Resource List for Sheep Producers

The American Sheep Industry Association has created two new postcards that include a QR code to take sheep producers directly to a list of available resources. The postcards will be distributed at industry events.

From the farm flock grower to the large producer, you can now find a list of resources on raising sheep, growing quality wool, wool education, contacts for sheep and wool, and ways to stay connected.

Click Here to access the list of resources.


Trade Associations Oppose OFF Act

The American Sheep Industry Association joined a coalition of agricultural trade associations this week in opposing the deceptively titled Opportunities for Fairness in Farming Act, which would substantially undermine the group’s ability to promote American agriculture- and natural resource-based commodity products.

“The Trade Associations represent American farmers, ranchers, foresters and processors of raw materials. Each of these industries plays a critical and irreplaceable role in the U.S. economy through the production of food, fiber and other essential goods – all while creating jobs, stewarding resources and supporting local communities across the country,” read a letter to leaders of the U.S. Senate and House ag committees.

“The OFF Act targets commodity research and promotion boards, better known as checkoff programs. Checkoffs were established at the urging of the producers of their respective products. While each individual program operates in a manner uniquely crafted to suit the needs of that specific commodity, generally, a small portion of the sales receipts of that commodity is allocated to a research and promotion board overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Research and promotion boards exist to develop new markets and strengthen existing channels for specific commodities while conducting important research and promotional activities. They also work to educate consumers on behalf of a particular commodity to expand total demand to the benefit of all producers. Using the pooled resources and stakeholder investments obtained through checkoff assessments, they promote the product as a whole to create an industry-wide benefit through increased sales, consumer awareness and higher overall demand. For every dollar invested into a commodity checkoff, producers see several more in return.

“Proponents of the bill argue this legislation would increase transparency and close perceived loopholes in the statutes enabling checkoff programs. This is an inaccurate assessment. In fact, the bill would not create any new checks and balances to ensure compliance and fairness. Checkoffs are already subjected to rigorous compliance protocols, both internally and by USDA. Rather, the bill would stymie research collaboration, undermine producer direction of these programs and unnecessarily restrict implementation of critical checkoff functions.

“Importantly, you will note that none of the federally authorized research and promotion boards are signatories to this letter. This is not a coincidence. Contrary to claims made by supporters of the OFF Act, checkoffs are prohibited from using their resources to influence public policy. The Trade Associations are organizations which our members voluntarily elect to join. Each is one of the numerous individuals who pay checkoff assessments. We oppose this misguided legislation because these same members understand the value of checkoff programs and have seen firsthand the return on their investments over the years.”

The American Sheep Industry Association led the design and implementation of the American lamb checkoff. Established in 2002, the checkoff is one of the few that assesses packing companies in addition to producers and feeders. ASI led two subsequent nationwide referendums that overwhelmingly voted in support of American lamb promotion.

“Now more than ever, American lamb has to fight for consumer recognition. Without it, all of the podcasts, food shows and events would be imported lamb promotion as they were in the late 1990s” said ASI President Brad Boner.


Australian Market Records Increase

After two successive weeks of losses and three without an overall increase, the Australian wool market recorded an overall rise in this series. The national offering reduced after last week’s sizeable sale and there were 38,505 bales available to the trade – 14,446 fewer bales than the previous sale.

With vegetable matter levels rising as the calendar year progresses, wool carrying less than 1 percent vm became hot property as these types become less available. Strong buyer interest in these free or nearly free types were the driving force in the increases across the Individual Micron Price Guides for Merino fleece, whose movements in Sydney and Melbourne ranged between unchanged and +55 cents.

The crossbred and skirting markets in the East recorded little change for the week, while the oddments eased slightly. The net result was a 13-cent increase in the AWEX Eastern Market Indicator, which closed at 1,302 Australian cents.

For the second week in a row, the Western region had a robust performance. In Fremantle, the Merino fleece MPGs added between 22 and 60 cents. These gains helped push the Western Indicator up by 30 cents. Only mediocre results in the skirtings and oddment markets prevented a larger increase.

Although often remarked on, currency must again be mentioned, as it played an influential role in this series. As the Australian dollar fell by nearly a full cent compared to the U.S. dollar, when viewed in U.S. terms, the EMI fell. The EMI lost 3 U.S. cents, closing the week at 860 U.S. cents.

Next week’s offering is forecast to rise and although three selling days are available, only two are needed. There are currently 44,257 bales on offer.

Click Here for the Full Australian Wool Market Report.

Source: AWEX


LMIC Offers Lamb Update

Weekly sheep and lamb slaughter has tracked above year ago levels since late January and now started to move seasonally lower following the Easter holiday.

In the five weeks leading up to Easter on April 9, weekly sheep and lamb slaughter followed a seasonally higher pattern. The week of Feb. 20 saw sheep and lamb slaughter at 33,404 head, which was near the weekly average that has occurred since the start of the year. Over the next four weeks, slaughter levels steadily climbed each week to a peak level of 43,941 head the week of March 20. In just over a months’ time, weekly sheep and lamb slaughter jumped 32 percent – or about 10,500 head – which is similar to the seasonal increase that occurred last year. Since the peak, weekly slaughter levels have moved seasonally lower.

While slaughter levels were climbing, sheep and lamb dressed weights began to fall. The week of Feb. 20 saw dressed weights at 69 pounds then gradually decline to the low-60-pound range – similar to last year’s seasonal trend. The rise in weekly slaughter helped pull lambs through the supply chain, which drew down dressed weights.

While slaughter levels increased, weekly lamb production began to climb from 2.3 billion pounds the last week of February to a peak of 2.8 million pounds the week of March 26. Peak lamb production occurred about two weeks prior to the Easter holiday, which allowed the wholesale and retail sectors time to position product in anticipation of higher holiday demand.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service releases a weekly report called the National Retail Report – Lamb/Veal and it contains information on lamb feature rate at retail stores. The feature rate – as defined by USDA/AMS – is “the amount of sampled stores advertising any reported lamb/veal item during the current week, expressed as a percentage of the total sample.”

Typically, the feature rate during the first quarter of the year is below 10 percent. For the two weeks prior to Easter, the feature rate rose to 17.9 percent and 20.3 percent, respectively, which is similar to prior years. The feature rate for the week after Easter fell to 13.7 percent, which usually occurs as retailers look to feature other items in the meat case.

Source: Livestock Marketing Information Center 


ALB’s Lamb Jam Set for Month-Long Experience

What started more than a decade ago as a tasty tour showcasing local chefs and innovative lamb dishes to lamb lovers in six target markets has broadened its scope to a month-long dine around celebration. The American Lamb Board’s Lamb Jam restaurant program will take place in Austin, Boston, Washington, D.C., Denver, San Francisco and Seattle during the month of May.

Eight chefs in each market will create an American lamb special to win over the palates of lamb enthusiasts. The lamb dishes will all feature either boneless leg, boneless shoulder or ground lamb. Live near Austin? Stop by Lenoir for Lamb Pastrami. What about Seattle? Book a table at Spinasse for Breaded and Fried Lamb Lollipop on a Stick. And if you live in Boston, do not miss out on the Lamb Birria Tacos at Sub Rosa.

“The American Lamb Jam Restaurant Month is an epic chef competition and culinary experience that brings together the most talented chefs to celebrate family-operated farms and ranches raising sheep in the U.S.,” says Peter Camino, ALB chairman from Buffalo, Wyo.

As Lamb Jam takes on the dine-around format, diners will decide the People’s Choice Award. The chef/restaurant with the highest number of votes for favorite American lamb dish will receive a donation to the charity of their choice. Participating diners who cast a vote will receive an exclusive Lamb Jam T-shirt and have a chance to win a $250 gift card to the participating restaurant of their choice.

In each market, three foodie influencers will serve as secret dining judges. They will visit all eight participating restaurants and evaluate each dish for presentation, taste and creativity. The winning chefs will be considered Lamb Jam Masters and receive a trip to Napa, Calif., where they will cook and enjoy an American lamb lunch at the Culinary Institute of America and visit a nearby regenerative agriculture sheep ranch.

Lamb Jam promotions will appear through ALB’s social channels, paid social posts, brand collaborations and Google ads. A breakdown of participating cities, chefs and restaurants is available at

Funded through the national American Lamb Checkoff, ALB invests the industry’s valuable resources to foster profitability and create opportunities for all sectors involved in producing American lamb. All segments of the American lamb industry contribute to building the demand for American lamb through mandatory checkoff payments. Unlike other United States livestock checkoffs, funding is only collected from domestic lamb, not imported lamb. This allows ALB to focus all its efforts on increasing demand for American lamb.

Click Here for more information.

Source: ALB


NDSU To Host Local Meats Webinar Series

North Dakota State University Extension is planning a series of webinars on local meats. The webinars will provide an opportunity for participants to interact with the panelists, asking questions related to marketing meat products locally.

“Panelists this year are a diverse collection of producers and representatives from organizations that work with local meat producers and have valuable insight for livestock producers,” says Isaac Brunkow, NDSU Extension graduate research assistant and organizer of the webinar series.

All webinars begin at 7 p.m. central time. Dates, topics and panelists are:

  • May 2: Regulations
    • Nathan Kroh, North Dakota Department of Agriculture
  • May 9: Building a Contractual Relationship with a Locker
    • Ron and Beth Wolff, Wolff Suffolks
    • Trish Feiring, Feiring Cattle Company
    • John Roswech, South Forty Beef
  • May 16: Finding Your Niche Market/Starting a Farmers Market
    • Simone Wai, Red River Farmers Market
    • Ron and Beth Wolff, Wolff Suffolks
    • Kelsey Krapp, The Bison Ranch
    • Ashley Bruner, Dakota Angus Beef
  • May 23: Inventory Management
    • James Maiocco, Barn2Door
    • Glenn Brunkow, Brunkow Family Lamb
    • Shane Wendel, Wendel Livestock
    • Bjorn Solberg, Red River Harvest Cooperative

After registering, you will receive an email with information and a link to join the live webinars. If you are unable to join live, you will be able to view the content later on NDSU Extension’s YouTube page.

Source: NDSU Extension


Texas Plans Youth Sheep & Goat Tour

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension is planning a Youth Sheep and Goat Tour for high school-age students to engage with leaders in the state’s sheep and goat industry.

The program is set for June 26-29 and students will be able to engage with industry leaders, learn the business side of the industry and tour some of the many facilities in addition to the having the opportunity to gain valuable educational experiences.

The deadline to apply is May 15 and the cost to participate is $100.

Click Here for more information.

Source: Texas A&M AgriLife


USDA Celebrates Climate-Smart Project Kick-off

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced this week the official kick-off of the implementation phase for projects funded through the $3.1 billion Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities effort.

Project partners are beginning work on formal implementation of the climate-smart production practices, marketing, and quantification, monitoring, reporting and verification of greenhouse gas benefits that are funded through the effort as agreements are finalized on a rolling basis. As projects get underway, USDA is launching the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities Learning Network (Partnerships Network), a collaboration of all the project partners, which will generate key lessons-learned as projects are implemented.

“Farmers, ranchers and forest landowners are on the front lines of climate change. At the same time, they are uniquely positioned to deliver climate solutions through climate-smart production that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and sequesters carbon,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Through these projects, our partners are working to create new markets for climate-smart commodities, while developing the tools needed to quantify impacts and help producers implement climate-smart practices on their land. We’re excited these projects are getting underway and look forward to achieving meaningful results for producers, agriculture and forestry economies and our climate.”

In the coming weeks and months, partners will be opening sign-up under their projects for producer participation. Producers interested in participating in projects are invited to visit the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities Active Projects Dashboard to find projects in their areas. This dashboard will be updated periodically with newly active projects and links to their project websites when available.

Look for more on one such project that involves the American sheep and wool industry in the June issue of the Sheep Industry News.

Source: USDA


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.

House Republicans Pass Debt Limit Bill

Last week, House Republican leadership released text for the Limit, Save, Grow Act of 2023 (H.R. 2811). This bill centers on raising the debt limit and reducing spending across federal agencies.

Of note to food and agriculture were changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. For SNAP, the bill would impose work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents for individuals aged 18 to 55. Currently, work requirements apply for individuals aged 18-49. It would also prevent states from carrying over work requirement waivers from one year to the next.

In addition, the bill would update the baseline year for the Caseload Reduction Credit, which provides states a credit for reducing individuals participating in TANF. It also directs states to tighten their TANF eligibility requirements as well as collect data on employment outcome metrics for TANF recipients.

Notably missing from the proposal were changes to U.S. Department of Agriculture conservation programs, which received an increase in funding in the Inflation Reduction Act. On Wednesday, a vote for the bill was held on the House floor and passed with a count of 217-215. Now H.R. 2811 heads to a Democrat-controlled Senate.

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