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Producers Watching California, Colorado Wage Battles

Planned wage increases for H-2A herders in California and Colorado in 2022 will certainly be felt by producers in those states. But they might simply be the first dominoes to fall in an economically challenging game for sheep producers throughout the West.

The most recent labor war involving sheepherders has left producers in each of those states contemplating the future of their farms and ranches. All isn’t lost just yet, however. California legislators appear open to a work-around option that would keep the sheep industry alive in the Golden State, while Colorado’s wage increase and other unreasonable regulations are headed into the state’s rulemaking process.

Regardless, producers who use H-2A herders are facing yet another challenge after major changes to the federal program in 2015 that saw a significant bump in wages mandated by the United States government. California has traditionally been the starting point for labor changes in the program and generally holds producers to a higher minimum wage than the federal requirements.

“That’s been a concern of ours all along,” said California producer Ryan Indart. “So much of what happens in other states is riding on what happens here in California. Andrée (Soares) and I are both on the board of Western Range, and we have friends scattered through other Western states who are watching this like a hawk. And they should be.”

Click Here to read the full story in the September issue of the Sheep Industry News.


Rams with EBVs Offered Today at Texas Sale

The 2021 Texas Performance Sheep and Goat Online Sale hosted by Texas A&M AgriLife Research and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in San Angelo is today.

Bidding opened at 7 a.m. and runs through 8 p.m. at Animals may be viewed in person throughout the day at the Texas Sheep and Goat Expo in San Angelo.

Approximately 15 to 20 rams consisting of Dorper, Katahdin and Rambouillet will be offered. The rams available all have National Sheep Improvement Program estimated breeding values for a variety of economically important traits such as growth, parasite resistance, prolificacy and wool quality.

“Estimated breeding values are the most useful tool available to sheep producers for making genetic selection decisions,” said Jake Thorne, AgriLife Extension sheep and goat program specialist. “We strongly encourage buyers with interest in this information to study the rams being offered in this sale because there are some bucks with really impressive information. Not every ram is right for everybody, but the EBVs allow us to better realize that, instead of being left in the dark about the true genetic value of these sheep if they didn’t have the data.”

This annual sale is an opportunity for producers to purchase sheep that fit their production scheme, based on the genetic information available. The data is front and center for potential buyers to view and use to make purchasing decisions.

“The scientific literature has clearly shown that this technology can be of great benefit to improving the genetic potential of sheep and goats,” said Reid Redden, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension sheep and goat specialist and Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center director. “To aid in the adoption of this technology, Texas A&M AgriLife personnel in San Angelo are actively conducting research and providing educational guidance to best utilize EBVs.”

The sale is strictly online this year and the format of the sale is “racehorse” style. Thorne said those unfamiliar with this format or wanting more information should visit the auction website.

“The online format worked really well for us last year as it allowed for buyers to bid on sheep even if they weren’t able to join us in person in San Angelo,” Thorne said. “We sold rams all over the U.S., but importantly many of the top bucks went to producers right here in Texas.”

Source: Texas A&M AgriLife


Newell Ram Sale Set for Mid-September

Western South Dakota has been known for its sheep flocks since the homesteading days, with many flocks providing needed income when crops and cattle failed. Still today, sheep play an important part in many farming and ranching operations.

The 76th Newell (S.D.) Ram Show & Sale on Sept. 16-17 will provide producers with an opportunity to purchase quality sheep genetics. Consignments from an eight-state region make the lineup with more than 50 consignors. For the 2021 event, 60 stud rams, 62 ewes, and 141 range rams have been consigned. Breeds include Rambouillet, Targhee, Columbia, Corriedale, Suffolk, Hampshire and Dorset.

The sheep show will kick off on Sept. 16 with the ewes at 9 a.m., followed by the rams. The wool show will begin at 10 a.m. and cash prizes will also be offered to the winning fleeces. Sheep growers are encouraged to bring their fleeces for the wool show.

Before the sale on Friday, Sept. 17, at 9:45 a.m. South Dakota State University Extension Sheep Field Specialist Jaelyn Quintana will present information on sheep genetics and selection. The public is invited to attend this free program. The sheep sale will then be held at 11 a.m. with the ewes selling first, followed by stud rams and range rams.

If buyers are unable to attend in person, they do have the option of phoning in bids on sale day. Please contact Ram Sale Secretary Christy Frerichs at 605-456-2941. The show and sale will both be streamed live on the Newell Ram Sale Facebook page, so check there for viewing options.

Find out more information and view the sale catalog online at To see present sale prospects and past show winners please visit

The Ram Sale Building is located on Third Street, adjacent to the Newell Rodeo Grounds.

Source: Newell Ram Sale


ALB Hosts Virtual BBQ Workshop

This week, the American Lamb Board hosted a virtual BBQ workshop for media and food bloggers featuring Chef Matt Abdoo of Pig Beach BBQ, the critically acclaimed barbecue restaurant located in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Abdoo first earned his BBQ chops during his time working on America’s highly competitive barbecue team, Salty Rinse, receiving second place for Whole Hog in 2015 and first place for Best Sauce at the annual Memphis in May World Championship. He is a frequent guest chef on The TODAY Show and has appeared on Food Network’s The Kitchen, and NBC’s The Chew.

As part of the ALB’s Outdoor Cooking Adventures campaign, the virtual gathering was designed to inspire food influencers to experiment with smoking lamb shoulders and to position American lamb as an ideal meat for outdoor cooking. The participants had direct access to Abdoo as he demonstrated smoking techniques with American lamb bone-in and boneless shoulder and prepared his signature dry rub and white sauce.

Click here for Chef Matt’s recipe: Lebanese Seasoned Smoked Lamb Shoulder with NYC White Sauce.

Each participant received a kit with both a bone-in and boneless shoulder to experiment with following the class, as well as ALB’s new Outdoor Adventures cookbook and apron.

Click here to purchase the apron which is now on special for $10.More details and results of the Outdoor Cooking Adventures Contest will be announced Sept. 2.

Source: ALB


Australian Market Falls Again This Week

The Australian wool market continued to trend downward, with losses experienced again this week. Last week’s market falls discouraged many sellers, pushing the national offering down to 34,425 bales.

From the outset, it was apparent that the market was tracking downward and further denting buyer confidence which pushed prices lower. The price reductions were mainly felt on the first day of selling. The individual Merino fleece Micron Price Guides dropped by 20 to 102 cents for the day. Fremantle only required the one day of selling as only 4,088 bales were on offer for the week. After 58.2 percent of the offering was passed in, only 1,707 bales were sold – the lowest weekly sold figure since AWEX records began (1997-98). The AWEX Eastern Market Indicator lost 40 cents for the day.

These large falls prompted many sellers to withdraw their wool from the second day, pushing the second day offering well below expected quantities. This combined with a high passed-in rate (24.2 percent nationally for the day) reduced supply, prompting an increased buyer demand on the wool that remained. As a result, the market steadied.

The movements in the MPGs in Sydney and Melbourne ranged between -10 and +20 cents. The EMI finished the day 3 cents higher. The EMI lost 37 cents for the series, closing at 1,335 Australian cents for a fall of 2.7 percent. As the AUD also tracked downward – the AUD lost a full U.S. cent when compared to last week – the loss in USD terms was 55 U.S. cents or 4 percent. As there is traditionally not a lot of shearing occurring in the West at this time of year, next week is a non-sale week in Fremantle. This fact – combined with the fall in prices in this series – pushed the national offering lower. With only Sydney and Melbourne in operation, 32,337 bales are currently on offer.

Source: AWEX

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