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ASI Weekly – August 2, 2019


Market News App Gets Update

The American Sheep Industry Association Market News App has recently been updated to accommodate changes in reporting at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“During the past year USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service transitioned its livestock auction reporting system to a new platform, which required updating the ASI Market News App,” said ASI Consultant Erica Sanko. “During the update, the weekly LRP-Lamb report was added to the reports offered for users. These changes require users to update their ASI Market News App for both Android and iPhone users.”

Developed several years ago in conjunction with USDA, the ASI Market News App offers sheep producers a variety of market reports, including: Billings, Mont.; Bowling Green, Ky.; Columbia, Tenn.; Fort Collins, Colo.; Kalona, Iowa; New Holland, Penn.; Newell, S.D.; San Angelo, Texas; and Sioux Falls, S.D.

National reports available from USDA through the app include: five-day rolling average boxed lamb cuts – negotiated sales; national lamb carcass report; actual slaughter under federal inspection; national weekly slaughter sheep review; national wool review; LRP coverage numbers; cold storage; and USDA sheep inventory.

The app also offers three calculators for sheep producers: a wool calculator, a gestation calculator and a breakeven calculator.

The wool calculator helps producers calculate total price on a given day by entering micron and estimated yield of the clip. It provides updated international market prices relative to the type of preparation and type of wool in the United States for a specific micron. It also takes into account exchange rates and converts Australian prices to U.S. dollars per pound (instead of kilos).

Wool descriptions define the various preparation choices used in the United States and other relevant pricing factors such as length, strength and contamination levels that influence variance in prices for that specific micron diameter.

An estimated lambing date can be easily calculated by inputting the service date into the gestation calculator. It also identifies the estimated return date based on an average cycle of 17 days.

Don’t delay, download the app today.


Texas Rep. Mike Conaway Announces Retirement

Former chairman of the U.S. House Agriculture Committee Mike Conaway of Texas announced this week that he won’t seek reelection in 2020.

Conaway spearheaded the 2018 Farm Bill – which the American Sheep Industry Association called the best authored by the U.S. House of Representatives for sheep in three decades. ASI recognized his efforts in naming him the most recent recipient of the Joe Skeen Award at the 2019 ASI Annual Convention in New Orleans.

“I’m honored and flattered by this award,” he said as former ASI President Glen Fisher of Texas presented him with a bronze sculpture that accompanies the award. “There were lots of folks on my team who worked hard to make the Farm Bill happen, and I share this award with them.”

Previous award recipients included Skeen – the award’s namesake – and Kika de la Garza.

Conaway served eight terms representing Texas’ 11th congressional district, which includes the sheep country surrounding San Angelo, Texas.

“Representing the people of the 11th District of Texas has been an honor and privilege that I cannot adequately describe. Over the years, Suzanne and I have been blessed to work with the finest group of public servants. They have served unselfishly in an exemplary manner,” Conaway said in a press release announcing his retirement. “While serving in Congress, I have asked Suzanne and our family to make innumerable sacrifices. She and they have willingly made those necessary sacrifices, but they were still sacrifices. The time has come for me to put Suzanne, my children and my grandchildren first.”

The Texas Sheep and Goat Raisers’ Association honored Conaway with the Earwood Award in 2018 – the highest honor offered by the association.

“Congressman Conaway will be missed by the agriculture Industry. As chairman of the House ag committee, he led the fight that gave us the best Farm Bill in three decades for the sheep industry,” said ASI President Benny Cox of Texas. “His knowledge and grass roots logic, along with his integrity and strong moral values will indeed be missed. I will see you on down the road my friend.”


Sec. Perdue Announces Changes to Sage Grouse Plans

    U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue this week announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service proposed changes to how the agency manages greater sage grouse in Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, Wyoming and Utah after hearing concerns from states and land users. The changes strive to improve the clarity, efficiency, and implementation of the current sage grouse plans.

    “The Forest Service continues to promote our multiple use mission while ensuring conservation of greater sage grouse habitat,” Sec. Perdue said. “We are sharing the stewardship of the lands with western state governors – their extensive participation throughout this process was the key to landscape-scale conservation that aligns our policies and practices across local, state, and federal jurisdictions.”

    The Forest Service published the final environmental impact statement in the Federal Register, and the objection period will last 60 days from the date of the publication of the notice of availability. After considering objections, the Forest Service intends to continue the planning process by issuing a final decision document regarding the revised plan amendments in the fall of 2019.

    Greater sage grouse populations have been impacted by a variety of threats including the loss of habitat from wildfire and the spread of invasive weeds like cheat grass. In 2015, the Forest Service, along with the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management, amended land management plans in an attempt to address threats and improve habitat conservation for greater sage grouse.

    Stakeholders have since raised concerns that the 2015 plans would impact economic growth and did not align with conservation plans laid out by the states. To address these concerns, USDA engaged in an historic collaboration effort to build partnerships between state and local governments, ranchers, universities, non-profit groups and businesses in order to better align changes to the 2015 plans with stakeholder knowledge.

    USDA applied lessons-learned and concerns voiced by a diverse set of stakeholders, including grazers and other land users, in the 2019 proposed changes. The 2019 plans have been adapted to take into account site-specific conditions to ensure ranchers, permittees, and industry can adapt to their local conditions rather than be forced to conform to a one-size-fits-all, national approach.

Key changes include:

  • The 2019 plans allow for greater flexibility and local control of conservation and management actions related to sage grouse, ensuring that we can both conserve the habitat and enable grazers to maintain their livelihood. USDA has revised grazing guidelines to shift from rigid, prescriptive standards to common sense, locally-driven strategies.
  • The 2019 plans align state and federal conservation standards, so ranchers and other land users have one set of standards instead of dealing with multiple, complex layers of restrictions. The new changes also align mitigation options with state-based systems so mitigation strategies on how to ensure no net-loss of habitat are locally supported, not a one-size-fits-all standard.
  • The 2019 plans maintain the goal of preventing any net-loss to critical sage grouse habitat, but no longer require the unreasonable standard that every action increase conservation. This enables local stakeholders to determine what strategies to implement where and how while still conserving sage grouse habitat.

Source: USDA

UK Prime Minister Has Plan for English Lamb

    Boris Johnson’s government is working on a £500 million plan to support farmers by purchasing slaughtered lambs and other livestock in the event of a no-deal Brexit, according to reports.

    It comes after a farmers’ union in Wales warned the prime minister that leaving the European Union without a deal would cause “civil unrest” in rural areas. Many British farmers are heavily reliant on trade with the EU and would face very expensive tariffs in a no-deal scenario, meaning many could go out of business.

    For example, farmers would face a 40% tariff on lamb exports to the EU in a no-deal scenario.

    Johnson said in Wales that British farmers would be better off if the UK left the EU in October, which he has called a “do or die” policy. He said the government was working on “interventions” that are aimed to support farmers’ incomes and added: “We’ll make sure they have the support they need.”

    Michael Gove, who is in charge of the civil service’s no-deal planning, is understood to be finalizing the plan, which would cost an estimated £500 million a year. It would see the government buy any lamb and beef, and some crops, at a set price. The payments would go some way to replacing the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy, which subsidizes farmers.

Click Here to read the full story.

    Source: Business Insider


Video of the Week

    Unrivaled is a video series from the American Wool Council that shows what it takes to be the best of the best. The stories shine a spotlight on the who and why of American wool and are told from the perspective of those who live the life on a daily basis. Unrivaled in both form and function, wool is the spotlight star of the series. Be sure to stay tuned in to the American Wool social channels to see more of Unrivaled (@experiencewool).

Click Here to watch the video.


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