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Wool Marketing Loan Updated

The USDA Farm Services Agency posted wool prices this week better reflect the market conditions for wool, in particular the non-graded wools.

The 39-cent non-graded price this week (see rates below in this newsletter) would mean a penny per pound Loan Deficiency payment could be possible for producers that still own their 2019 wool clip. That rate would not generate much activity, obviously, but it is an encouraging signal that future wool price reporting might make the program attractive.

As a reminder, the loan option is available at county Farm Service Agency offices for producers interested in additional cash flow with loan proceeds available up to 9 months after the month the loan is made.


Three 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.

The McClure Silver Ram Award is dedicated to volunteer commitment and service and is presented to a sheep producer who has made substantial contributions to the sheep industry and its organizations in his/her state, region or nation. The award may recognize a lifetime of achievement or may recognize a noteworthy, shorter-term commitment and service to the industry.

The Camptender Award recognizes industry contributions from a professional in a position or field related to sheep production. Nominees should show a strong commitment and a significant contribution to the sheep industry, its organizations and its producers above and beyond what is called for in his/her professional capacity. Nominees should be well respected in their fields by their peers and by sheep producers.

The Distinguished Producer Award was launched in 2014 to recognize the 150th anniversary of the national organization – the oldest livestock association in the country. This award is a way to recognize an individual who has had a significant long-term impact on the industry, including involvement with the National Wool Growers Association or American Sheep Producers Council, the predecessor organizations to ASI.

The Industry Innovation Award recognizes the accomplishments of an individual or organization that improves the American sheep industry in a game-changing way, regardless of whether its impact is felt at the regional or national level.

The Shepherd’s Voice Award for Media recognizes outstanding year-long coverage of the sheep industry by either print or broadcast outlets. The award excludes all publications and affiliates related solely to the sheep industry, allowing for recognition of outlets with general coverage for excellence in covering sheep industry issues.

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.


Livestock Groups Offer Hauling Comments

The American Sheep Industry Association joined with more than 60 other livestock groups in submitting comments this week to the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on their Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

“Although the modifications proposed in the NPRM are generally positive for the trucking industry, they still do not address the unique needs of livestock haulers. However, certain changes proposed below would provide assistance to some of these drivers,” read the comments to Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao and FMCSA Administrator Raymond Martinez. “Below, we respond to two particular issues raised by the NPRM: the split sleeper berth program and the definition of an adverse driving condition.

“The key to safely hauling live animals, especially in times of great heat and humidity, is to stop as infrequently as possible and to keep the trailer moving to provide ventilation. The trailer environment has been identified as having the greatest effect on animal welfare during transport. (Mitchell and Kettlewell, 2008). In North America, livestock transport trailers are ventilated by perforations in the aluminum walls of the trailer as well as openings in the roof. Consequently, the potential to have poor welfare outcomes is significant if the trailer is not moving, especially under extreme weather conditions.

“Producers, marketers, and shippers of live animals are greatly interested in roadway safety and mitigating driver fatigue. We support a split sleeper berth program that would allow our haulers to break up their rest period in commonsense ways. The needs of livestock haulers are dictated not only by the rest needed by the driver, but also the needs of the live animals they haul. A split sleeper program as currently envisioned by the NPRM will not work for many of our haulers. Weather, type, age of livestock, and other environmental factors all play a role in determining when and how haulers move their livestock, which is why flexibility is so important.

Although a 10 hour stop with live animals onboard is almost never appropriate, allowing livestock haulers to use their professional judgment to determine when weather conditions are right to stop for a break of a few hours will allow drivers to use their rest periods more productively and safely. For some drivers, hauling certain animals in certain climates, the proposed 7 and 3 and 6 and 4 hour splits may prove to be helpful, however, for most haulers these long breaks may not be appropriate.

“We also encourage FMCSA to evaluate the definition of an ‘adverse driving condition’ in an expansive and useful way specific to livestock haulers. It seems logical that blizzards, hurricanes, and unexpected traffic accidents are adverse driving conditions. But to livestock haulers, humidity and hot weather can create equally detrimental adverse hauling conditions that force drivers to reconfigure their route and rest plans because they simply cannot stop with animals onboard. Defining ‘adverse driving conditions’ in a way that is broad enough that livestock haulers find it useful will encourage these drivers to maintain roadway safety and animal welfare.

“At the end of the day, the modifications proposed in the NPRM are a net positive for the trucking industry, but still do not address the unique needs of livestock haulers. However, the changes proposed by these comments would be a welcome first step toward the agency providing assistance to this subset of drivers.”


Center for Biological Diversity Sues Wildlife Services

This week, the Center for Biological Diversity filed suit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services concerning its operations in Washington state. The suit seeks an injunction on Wildlife Services’ lethal control activities in the state by challenging the agency’s current National Environmental Policy Act documents.

The plaintiff argues that new information is available and should be considered under NEPA on the effectiveness of lethal predator control overall. The suit specifically alleges that the NEPA documents should be updated as Wildlife Services activities used new methods and has targeted different species since the initial NEPA was filed, including opossums which went from 17 takes when they were added to the NEPA documents in 2010 to 43 in 2016. Should they prevail, the plaintiff not only requests Wildlife Services be prevented from continuing the program in the state, but also that they be awarded attorney’s fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act.

Wildlife Services activities – including lethal control of predators – are critical to livestock producers in Washington and across the country. While studies looking at overall predator numbers and trends may demonstrate that predator species numbers rebound when lethal control is used, judicious lethal control of predators at critical times such as lambing is the only way to prevent catastrophic losses for livestock producers.

Contrary to the plaintiff’s argument, the studies cited as evidence lethal control should no longer be used are in fact clear proof that lethal control does not diminish the plaintiff’s members’ ability to enjoy an environment filled with native predators. Unfortunately, should the plaintiffs prevail it will not benefit the species they seek to protect. It will result in higher losses to livestock, greater damage to urban infrastructure from nuisance species, greater conflict between domestic pets and wild predators, an increased threat to air travel from bird strikes, and other unintended consequences.

What’s more outrageous is that under the current abuse of the Equal Access to Justice Act, all this will come at taxpayer expense.


Australian Wool Market Makes Positive Swing

The Australian wool market managed a mini upward run, rising for three consecutive days going back to last week’s sale. On the final selling day of the previous series, the AWEX Eastern Market Indicator recorded the smallest of possible upward movements.

A 1-cent rise was prevented from being larger due to the softening of other sectors. The positive buyer sentiment evident toward the end of last week, carried forward into the first day of this series, resulting in price increases from the opening lot. The increases slowly but noticeably inched upward as the day progressed, continually strengthening all the way to final hammer in the Fremantle market, which sold last.

By day’s end, the individual Micron Price Guides rose by 10 to 31 cents in the East and by 35 to 49 cents in the West. As Sydney only sold on the first day, Melbourne opened in isolation on day two and the market continued to rise, albeit modestly when compared to the solid gains achieved on the first day. The Melbourne MPGs rose by 10 to 34 cents. On the back of these rises, the EMI added a further 14 cents to close the week 28 cents higher at 1,545 Australian cents. The Fremantle region continued to strengthen as the MPGs in the West added another 26 to 36 cents. In a rare turn of events, the Fremantle MPGs for 19.5 through to 21.0 micron are sitting above those of the Eastern centers.

The crossbreds performed better than in recent weeks. Solid gains on the second selling day in Melbourne saw the crossbred MPGs add 10 to 32 cents for the series. The large passed-in rates of the previous two months mean there is a growing stockpile of wool sitting in broker’s stores. The price rises of the past week have encouraged many sellers to market, increasing next week’s national offering to 39,446 bales.

Source: AWEX

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