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Wool Press Grant Applications Now Available

The American Sheep Industry Association is again offering a grant program of $5,000 to five shearers, warehouses or individuals to assist with the purchase of a wool press in 2020. The shearers will cover the bulk of the costs associated with their press purchase, but ASI seeks to assist as much as possible. Grant applications are due by Nov. 30.

As freight costs are a significant expense to the American wool industry, the ASI Wool Council developed the Wool Baler 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.

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 the grant application form.


 Sheep Center Awarded Grant Funds

The National Sheep Industry Improvement Center was recently approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service to administer the 2019 Sheep Production and Marketing Grant.

This $1.9 million award is authorized in the Farm Bill approved by Congress and signed into law last winter. The American Sheep Industry Association designed the request of Congress to increase the funds beyond the $1.5 million of the prior Farm Bill in order to drive additional funding support of key initiatives. ASI was key to the legislative process to deliver the funds and believes the center is the best entity to administer the funds.

ASI congratulates NSIIC Chair Marsha Spykerman – a sheep producer from Iowa and longtime industry volunteer – on the approval and looks forward to working with her and the center staff and directors as these funds are distributed for the betterment of the American sheep industry.


ASI Supports Proposed Livestock Hauling Legislation

The American Sheep Industry Association supports new livestock trucking legislation introduced this week by U.S. House members Angie Craig (Minn.) and Lloyd Smucker (Penn.) that would make it easier for livestock haulers to deliver their precious cargo in a timely manner.

“ASI is working hard – through Congress and with the administration – to ensure sheep producers have access to livestock hauling,” said ASI President Benny Cox of Texas. “While we continue to push to resolve issues with the Hours of Service regulation, we appreciate the leadership of Reps. Craig and Smucker to ensure sheep producers can continue to move livestock safely and humanely without unnecessary delay.”

The Responsible & Efficient Agriculture Destination Act would give farmers and ranchers more flexibility when transporting live animals and perishable goods.

“I’ve heard about the unique challenges farmers in my district face when transporting livestock, and the burdensome regulations that stand in the way of their businesses,” said Craig. “This common-sense bill would allow agricultural haulers bringing livestock back to their farms to drive the hours and distances that make sense for them and their farms, and I’m proud to be leading this effort that is so critical to so many Minnesota farmers.”

“This legislation is a big win for Pennsylvania and its sprawling agriculture community, especially our dairy sector which moves milk over long distances. For too long, haulers have been at the mercy of an overly burdensome hours of service requirement,” said Smucker. “That’s why I’m introducing this bipartisan legislation with Rep. Craig that will bring necessary relief to our farmers. As a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, it is my hope that this commonsense legislation is brought up for a vote and adopted.”

Agriculture haulers often travel on rural, unpaved roads with low-speed limits and run out of Hours of Service despite being just a short distance from where they need to go. This bipartisan bill would make it possible for drivers hauling live animals and perishable goods to finish their routes if they are within 150 air miles of their destination. The bill additionally allows this exemption to be utilized year-round rather than only during harvesting seasons.


Made in the USA From Head to Toe

Despite the fact that most apparel comes from offshore, there are still thriving apparel companies manufacturing here in the United States. As fashion grows faster, customers more demanding and personalization more popular (and trade more uncertain), you can expect to see an uptick in Made-in-the-USA manufacturing. recently offered an insider’s look at two United States-based companies – Wigwam and Bollman – which have been manufacturing socks and hats in the United States for 265 years collectively.


Click Here to read the full story.


Australian Market Continues Recent Rally

The Australian wool market continued to track upward in Week 19. The price rises experienced in the previous week encouraged more sellers to the market, pushing the national quantity up to 37,381 bales. Despite the increased offering, compared to this time last year there have been 89,408 less bales offered for sale – a reduction of 16.1 percent.

From the opening lots in the Eastern markets, it was apparent that price rises were the order of the day as strong widespread competition helped push price levels slowly but noticeably higher. As the Northern region did not sell on the second selling day of last week, that region missed out on the gains recorded that day. As a result, Sydney posted the largest gains on the first day of this series. The Northern Micron Price Guides added 50 to 72 cents for the day. The large rises in the North helped to push the AWEX Eastern Market Indicator up by a healthy 49 cents.

The second day of selling saw a steadying of the market. The individual MPGs in the East recorded very little change. This was reflected in the EMI, which remained unchanged. The EMI finished the week 49 cents up, closing at 1,594 Australian cents. Worth noting, toward the end of the second selling day the market softened. The MPGs in the Fremantle region – selling last – dropped by 10 to 22 cents.

After being the poorest performing sector in the past month, the crossbreds this week recorded the largest increases. Strong buyer interest pushed prices up by 35 to 70 cents. The oddments also posted large rises – a 50- to 100-cent increase in locks, stains and crutchings helped push the three regional carding indicators up by an average of 65 cents.

Source: AWEX


Two Weeks Left to Submit ASI Award Nominations

Once again, it’s time to submit nominations for ASI Awards, which will be presented during the 2020 ASI Annual Convention on Jan. 22-25 in Scottsdale, Ariz.

The deadline for all award nominations is Nov. 15.

There are five awards open for nominations: The McClure Silver Ram Award, the Camptender Award, the Distinguished Producer Award, the Industry Innovation Award and the Shepherd’s Voice Award.

Nominations must be submitted to ASI by Nov. 15, and past recipients of these awards are not eligible. To receive an application, call 303-771-3500 or email

Click Here for the nomination form.


Shearing Schools Announce 2019-2020 Dates

Several shearing schools have announced dates for the coming season.

In addition to learning to shear in a hands-on manner, the schools offer teaching on equipment, animal welfare and staying in shape for the physically demanding task. Equipment is usually supplied, but students are encouraged to bring any equipment they have, as well.

These schools offer training for a wide variety of students – from hobby farmers looking to shear their own flocks to those with aspirations of shearing professionally. For more information, contact organizers of the school directly.

More schools will be added to this list as information becomes available.

North Dakota Shearing School and North Dakota Wool Classing School – Nov. 23-25 in Hettinger, N.D. Contact Dr. Christopher Schauer at or 701-567-4323.

Montana State University Wool Harvesting School – Dec. 12-14 in Rockport Colony. Email Brent Roeder at or visit their website here.

Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center Shearing School – Jan. 6-9, 2020, in San Angelo, Texas. Email Reid Redden at or visit their website here.

Utah State University Shearing School – Jan. 16-18, 2020, at the USU Animal Science Farm in Wellsville, Utah. Visit their website here.

Missouri Shearing School – March 4-5, 2020, at Lincoln University’s Carver Farm in Jefferson City, Mo. Email Erin Brindisi at or call 573-681-5859.

Indiana Sheep Association Shearing School – March 7, 2020, at Purdue University. Visit their website here.

Maryland Shearing School – March 13-14, 2020, in Fairplay, Md. Email Aaron Geiman at or visit their website here.

Moffat County Shearing School – March 20-22, 2020, at the Moffat County Fairgrounds in Craig, Colo. Visit their website here.

Washington State Shearing School – April 6-10, 2020, at the Grant County Fairgrounds in Moses Lake, Wash. Email Sarah Smith at or visit their website here.

Washington State Advanced Shearing School – April 11, 2020, at the Grant County Fairgrounds in Moses Lake, Wash. Email Sarah Smith at or visit their website here.

Tennessee Shearing School – Mid-April, 2020, at the Tennessee Livestock Center in Murfreesboro, Tenn. Email Mark Powell at or call 615-519-7796.

Oregon Shearing School – May 14-17, 2020, in Roseburg, Ore. Email John Fine at or visit their website here.


Video of the Week

Studies show that wearing superfine Merino wool baselayers can help ease the symptoms of sensitive skin conditions such as eczema, aka atopic dermatitis. Eczema causes the skin to be itchy and inflamed, and even skin which is seemingly unaffected can be prone to flares and relapses. If superfine Merino wool is worn for more than 6 hours per day, this can help alleviate symptoms.

Dr. John Su discusses his studies on wool and eczema in this recent video from the International Wool Textile Organization.

Source: IWTO

Click Here for the video.

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