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Innovations Panel Set for ASI Convention

Celebrating this year’s ASI Annual Convention theme of Reverence for the Past, Innovation for the Future will begin in earnest on Thursday, Jan. 23, when four storied sheep producers take the stage to discuss how they led their family-run operations through bold new challenges that will secure their legacies for decades to come.

The ASI Annual Convention Opening Session – scheduled for 4 to 5:30 p.m. in Ballrooms C & D at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort – will bring together Reed Anderson, David Fisher, John Helle and Ryan Mahoney as they look back at the decisions they’ve made to push their respective businesses toward a secure future in a shrinking industry.

The moderated panel discussion will begin with Fisher, followed by Helle, Anderson and Mahoney. The session is open to all convention participants and will lead into the Industry Welcome Reception that begins at 6 p.m.

“With our convention theme, we designed the opening session to address innovation within the industry,” said ASI Executive Director Peter Orwick. “Two of the panelists – John Helle and now Reed Anderson (in 2020) are winners of the ASI Industry Innovation Award, which we began in 2018. I believe the panel will generate some great discussion about the ways our industry can innovate to tackle the challenges that we face.

“With the four participants that we have, there will be discussion on production operations, wool operations, lamb operations and production systems. It should be interesting for a wide range of sheep producers and industry supporters.”

If you’d like to join the sheep industry in Scottsdale, online registration for the ASI Annual Convention is open through the weekend. After that, you’ll have to register onsite at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort.

Click Here to register.


SheepCast Takes Closer Look at 2020 ASI Annual Convention

This week’s SheepCast talks with American Sheep Industry Association President Benny Cox about why sheep producers from across the nation should be making plans to join the industry Jan. 22-25 in sunny Scottsdale, Ariz.

Click Here to listen to the podcast.


Administration Releases Proposed Rule to Modernize NEPA

On Thursday, the Council on Environmental Quality released a notice of proposed rulemaking to update the National Environmental Policy Act. Signed into law in 1970, NEPA requires federal agencies to assess the environmental impacts of proposed major federal actions.

Since that time, NEPA analysis has grown, with the average environmental impact statement ballooning to more than 600 pages and taking four and half years to complete. ASI President Benny Cox said this modernization represents a tremendous step in the right direction.

“Those operating on federal grazing permits and those who rely on USDA Wildlife Services predator management are familiar with the cumbersome and prolonged NEPA process, which has become an all too frequent toehold for frivolous litigation,” said Cox. “ASI has long had policy urging federal land management agencies to reduce unnecessary burdens and delays through the use of categorical exclusions, and that is a key element of this proposed rule.”

In addition to the use of efficient reviews using categorical exclusions and environmental assessments where appropriate, the proposed rule sets a presumptive timeline of two years for the completion of an environmental impact statement. Through these actions, the goal is to reduce paperwork and delays, promoting better decision making by federal agencies.

The proposed rule will be open for public comment at, Docket ID No. CEQ-2019-0003 through March 10. Sheep producers are encouraged to comment before the deadline.


Save the Date for ASI Spring Trip

The American Sheep Industry Association Spring Trip to Washington, D.C., is scheduled for March 10-11, and the Courtyard by Marriott Washington Capitol Hill/Navy Yard will once again serve as the host hotel.

The ASI Executive Board will meet on March 9 as part of the trip to determine council and committee assignments for the coming year. Tuesday, March 10, will include an ASI briefing for all participants and meetings with several government agencies followed by the Lamb Reception BBQ that evening. Wednesday, March 11, will be devoted to visiting congressional delegations on Capitol Hill.

More information will be released as it becomes available.


Wednesday is the Deadline to Apply for ASI Wool Press Grants

The deadline to apply for the American Sheep Industry Association’s $5,000 Wool Press Grant Program – now in its second year – has been extended until Wednesday, Jan. 15.

ASI is looking to assist five shearers, warehouses or individuals with the purchase of a wool press in 2020. The grant recipients will cover the bulk of the costs associated with their purchase, but ASI seeks to assist as much as possible with the grant.

As freight costs are a significant expense to the American wool industry, the ASI Wool Council developed the program to incentivize the domestic production and purchase of wool presses. This project aims to encourage the use of presses that can be maintained and repaired in the United States, produce bales that are a standard size and emphasize the importance of proper wool bale weights to producers, shearers, warehouseman, pools and co-ops.

While assisting shearers and others directly, the program supports American sheep producers by allowing them to generate better returns on their wool clips. Producers will also benefit as the new presses will replace older presses that are prone to delay-causing breakdowns.

Recipients of the baler grants in the program’s first year ranged from small to large operations, and applications are once again encouraged from anyone within the American wool industry.

Grant recipients will be required to submit a final report – including photos or videos – and documentation that the baler meets all program requirements. Requirements include: the baler must be made in the United States, it must produce an average bale weight of between 400 and 500 pounds, produce a uniform bale size of 32 inches by 52 inches, and come equipped with all necessary safety features.

Click Here for more information.




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