Lab Gearing Up for 2022 Wool Testing
The Texas A&M AgriLife Bill Sims Wool and Mohair Research Laboratory is ready with new capacities as expansion work continues and the lab receives new high-capacity commercial testing equipment. After shipping delays, new equipment from Australia was expected to arrive by ship in Houston this week.
The newly expanded laboratory will utilize state-of-the-art machinery and technology – obtained through a cooperative agreement with the American Sheep Industry Association’s Sheep Venture Company – in its service to American wool and mohair producers. It will also continue to provide innovative research and testing services for cashmere and alpaca fibers. Although the lab is in full swing with renovations as new high-capacity commercial testing equipment arrives, individual fleece-testing services continue to be offered to growers.
The lab was established in 1985 to address the needs of national wool and mohair research programs. The wool lab, originally located on the Texas A&M campus, is now in a region of Texas that supports approximately 20 percent of the American sheep population and 90 percent of the Angora goats in the nation.
Scientists at the wool lab conduct key high-priority research projects for sheep and goat raisers throughout the country. Research on objective measurement of fiber, for example, has been critical in developing improved flocks of fine-wool producing sheep, as well as ensuring domestic wool meets the required international testing specifications for commercial trade.
Housed at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in San Angelo, the lab offers a nationwide service analyzing fiber samples for quality and yield. San Angelo is one of only two research laboratories that provide those services in the United States and the only one to offer — as a result of its current expansion — large-scale commercial testing required for the global trade of wool.
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Full Senate Approves USDA Under Secretary Moffitt
In action Wednesday, the full U.S. Senate confirmed by a voice vote the nomination of Jenny Lester Moffitt to serve as USDA under secretary for marketing and regulatory programs. When nominated, Moffitt was serving as the under secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture and her nomination had the support of more than 90 agricultural groups.
The Senate Agriculture Committee held a hearing on Moffitt’s nomination on July 15 and voted to advance her out of the committee with bipartisan support on July 26.
“Under Secretary Moffitt brings a wealth of experience and a unique perspective as both a farmer and a policymaker,” says Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (Mich.). “I look forward to working with her to help our farm families and food businesses along the supply chain recover from the pandemic, tackle the climate crisis, keep pests and diseases out of the U.S., and thrive well into the future.”
Growing up and working on the farm, Moffitt learned first-hand the importance of taking care of the land and the people who farm it, the Biden administration said in announcing her nomination. Additionally, she served on the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board from 2012-15 and worked for American Farmland Trust from 2002-05.
In a letter of support regarding Moffitt’s nomination to Stabenow and Ranking Member John Boozman (Ark.), leading agricultural groups said, “As you continue your efforts to work to engage our industry on challenges our food supply chain faces, it will be important to have a voice like Under Secretary Moffitt who knows the vast array of issues our members deal with on a daily basis. Her leadership at the California state level and ability to address a wide variety of challenges while engaging stakeholders, is exactly the approach and leadership our industry needs in the Marketing and Regulatory Program space.”
“Through her expertise on issues related to pest management, both from her personal and professional experience and her experience with dealing with issues related to COVID-19, water quality or farmworker housing and safety, Mrs. Moffit has a proven record of always bringing affected parties together to find a solution,” the groups wrote.
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Source: Western Farmer-Stockman
Apply Now for ALB’s Promotional Funding Programs
The American Lamb Board’s end of fiscal year 2021 is approaching on Sept. 30, however there is still time to submit an application through the Promotional Funding Program. This year, ALB has already supported the following programs:
- Montana Wool Growers – Range Days Lamb Lunch
- Johnson County Fair Lamb Feed
- Meeker SheepDog Championship – 2021 Jammin Lamb Festival
- The Original S.D. BBQ Championships
- 35th Southern Illinois Sheep and Craft Festival
- North East Youth Sheep Show
- Missouri State Fair Consumer Showcase Cooking Demo
- Wisconsin State Fair Baa Booth
- Trailing of the Sheep Festival
ALB has combined its two-industry funding/support programs – the Local Lamb Promotional Funds Program and the Supplier Cooperative Funds Program. The new program – the Promotional Partnership Program – is designed to create more flexibility for industry partners. Applications can be made year-round, so there is no longer a deadline. This allows the industry to apply as opportunities arise.
There are four categories of funding/support available:
- Cash sponsorships for events or educational conferences.This category is primarily meant for industry organizations who have existing, successful events or conferences that they host regularly with existing sponsorship packages available.
- Donation requests for promotional materialsthat are sold on LambResourceCenter.com, such as spice tins, reusable grocery bags, hats, aprons and socks, up to $100 value. Materials need to be used for non-industry events.
- Donation requests for lamb productsto sample at local events or conferences (cannot be industry related). Requests cannot exceed $1,000 and if the partner is providing the lamb, an invoice is required which reflects reasonable wholesale pricing.
- Branded promotional partnerships.This category is designed for lamb suppliers and direct marketers to help offset the cost of branded marketing and promotional activities. These activities could include, but are not limited to, participation at events or conferences, development of point-of-sale materials and/or packaging, website design, digital marketing and in-store sampling. This category requires the partner to invest at least 50 percent of the total cost of the project, and provide documentation.
All applicants are required to acknowledge ALB support and provide a written report detailing the results. ALB staff is happy to provide consulting/guidance to industry members who are interested in tapping into its expertise, such as event execution, social media campaigns and website development.
To request an application, contact Rae@AmericanLamb.com.
Australian Market Falters in Recess Return
The Australian wool market suffered large losses in its return from the annual three-week, mid-year recess. Wool accumulated during the break pushed the national offering up to 49,181 bales. The scheduled offering was much higher as 7.3 percent of the original selection was withdrawn prior to sale.
As the market opened in the Eastern centers, it was immediately apparent that the prices on offer were well below those achieved during the previous series. As price levels fell, so too did buyer confidence, causing prices to continually deteriorate as the week progressed. By the end of the series, the individual Micron Price Guides across the country had fallen by between 31 and 136 cents.
As Melbourne was the only center operating for three days, the largest falls were experienced there. The EMI lost 56 cents for the series, closing the week at 1,372 Australian cents, which equated to a 3.9 percent reduction. Due to a softening of the Australian dollar – the AUD lost nearly a full cent compared to the previous selling week – the fall in USD terms was even higher as the EMI dropped by 55 U.S. cents. The series closed at 1,010 U.S. cents – a fall of 5.2 percent.
No sector was immune to the falling market. The skirtings followed a similar path to the fleece as general losses of between 50 and 150 cents were felt. The finer microns were the most affected. In percentage terms, the drop in the crossbreds MPGs was again similar to the Merinos. Understandably, the sharp reduction in prices resulted in a higher than normal passed-in rate as nationally 33.2 percent of the offering failed to meet seller reserve.
Next week’s national offering reduces, due in part from the drop in the market as 41,284 bales are currently expected to be offered. Sydney and Melbourne will sell for two days. Fremantle only requires only one day of selling (Tuesday).
Video of the Week
Take a look at the natural, wool-based sleep products from Holy Lamb Organics in the latest offering of the Unrivaled video series from Experience Wool.
Click Here to watch the video.
- PRODUCER EDUCATION