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ASI Executive Board Meets in Idaho

The American Sheep Industry Association Executive Board conducted its summer meeting in Idaho Falls, Idaho, this week with a primary goal of approving the association budget that will now go before the full ASI Board of Directors for final approval. Members of the board will receive voting information and instructions by email next week.

While in Idaho, the Executive Board met with leaders at the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station, which ASI successfully fought to remove from a federal closure list. A group of ASI’s Young Entrepreneurs taking part in a summer tour of Eastern Idaho joined the Executive Board during its time at the station. In addition to lobbying congressional leaders to save the station from closure, ASI supported the hiring of additional research personnel at the station, as well as more than $4 million in infrastructure improvements to the actual facility. As part of the meeting, station personnel demonstrated lambing and handling procedures that are common throughout the Intermountain West.

The station’s Bret Taylor and Hailey Wilmer said that the unit is undertaking research to evaluate the effects of management actions, environmental and climate events on the ecosystem. This includes an evaluation of the grazing allotments that are no longer being used. Through science-based rangeland management and decision-making, they hope to help producers enhance sustainability and rangeland health, understand the benefits and tradeoffs of different management practices on multiple rangeland outcomes – including biodiversity conservation and production – and also enhance profitability and international competitiveness through production efficiency.

There was some discussion on collaborative work with the Animal Disease Research Unit in Pullman, Wash., which has resulted in identification of genomic regions associated with sheep nasal shedding of Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae. From that collaborative work, they have gathered a lot of genomic information, which they are using to discover markers associated with positive economic and ecological outcomes of sheep production. By the end of the project, they will have collected genotype and phenotype information from more than 2,400 sheep of various breeds, including Rambouillet, Polypay, Targhee, Columbia, Suffolk and Suffolk crossbreds.

Already, about 75 percent of the data has been collected and the remaining data is expected to be collected by 2024. Genome-wide association analyses studies will follow. They expect these studies will identify markers highly associated with traits linked to production efficiency, longevity, product quality and grazing behavior, including herbivory preference traits. Their research is integrated with efforts that universities across the country and other ARS units are doing in order to advance the discovery of unique traits and genetic markers associated with herbivory preferences of rangeland grazing sheep. By integrating these sheep genetic resources, management practices and rangeland environment, ARS is striving to enhance production efficiency, including increased lamb survivability and ewe longevity in a rangeland environment. The genetic markers that show a high degree of association will then be applied to breeding strategies in order to test functional outcomes in resulting offspring.

The station is one of three U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service stations building genetic reference flocks that will make it possible to develop new genetic selection tools for all users of National Sheep Improvement Program breeding stock. The station is working collaboratively with the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center, Neb., and the Dale Bumpers Small Farms Research Center in Booneville, Ark., on this project.

During its time in Idaho, the Executive Board also took part in a joint dinner with board members from the National Livestock Producers Association, which administers the Sheep and Goat Innovation Fund.


American Lamb Industry Adds Third Holiday Season

The American Lamb Board continues to work to increase usage of lamb during the summer season with outdoor cooking campaigns. Most consumers associate lamb with holidays and special occasions. This summer’s campaign – Backyard BaaaBQ – is designed to make lamb an approachable choice for summer parties and to educate consumers about outdoor cooking techniques such as grilling and smoking.

From June to August, ALB is using a number of digital strategies to launch its Backyard BaaaBQ promotion, featuring American lamb burgers, kabobs and chops. Backyard BaaaBQ is reaching consumers through social media posts and ads, email newsletters and food blogs. Check out the ALB consumer site for outdoor grilling and smoking recipes and videos.

“An American Lamb Board strategic marketing goal is to get people thinking about lamb outside of the usual holiday times,” said Peter Camino, ALB chairman from Buffalo, Wyo. “We’re introducing a new promotion this summer that extends our successful adventurous, simple and approachable eating theme.”

Several ALB online food influencers are contributing to the campaign, focusing on easy, approachable, summer grilling recipes. ALB recruited Grill Momma, a new influencer with 82,000 followers and the ability to make grilling fun and easy, to develop two new summer grilling recipes and videos:

Camino points out that Backyard BaaaBQ targets current and likely American lamb consumers, summer entertainers/party hosts, at-home weekday cooks and anyone who likes to grill.

“Backyard BaaaBQ is all about encouraging consumers to enjoy American lamb outside of the usual holidays. Summer outdoor grilling is definitely the new third season for American lamb,” says Camino.

Source: ALB


Sheep & Goat Health Webinar Set for Tuesday

The University of Minnesota and North Dakota State University Extension will host a sheep and goat herd health management webinar on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. central time.

Dr. Whitney Knauer and Dr. Emily Barrell, University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, will provide producer education for the webinar. These two veterinarians are the faculty members in charge of teaching the small ruminant veterinary material throughout the DVM curriculum.

“Hoof maintenance and animal health prior to breeding are keys to small ruminant success,” says Travis Hoffman, NDSU/UMN Extension sheep specialist. “Join us to ask questions as we are thankful to have our UMN veterinary team to share their talents and expertise with our audience.”

Pre-registration is required. Register at The Zoom link will be emailed to participants upon registration. If you are unable to attend the live session, you will receive the recording via email. For additional information, contact Brenda Miller at or Travis Hoffman at

Source: NDSU/UMN Extension


Wyoming Wool Initiative Looking for Lambs

After a successful first year, the Wyoming Wool Initiative seeks donations for its second annual Lamb-a-Year program.

While steer-a-year programs are common across the United States, the Lamb-a-Year program is one of the first of its kind. The program connects donors with University of Wyoming students, allowing students to gain hands-on industry experience while providing producers with valuable lamb quality data.

Producers are asked to donate a minimum of two feeder lambs, each weighing 70 to 90 pounds. In exchange, they receive data on the average daily gains and meat quality of their lambs, as well as a detailed performance report.

“Some producers have shared data from Lamb-a-Year with potential buyers as a means of marketing the genetic potential of their lambs,” says Whit Stewart, UW Extension sheep specialist. “Others have used the lamb quality information to better understand the optimal finishing weight of their lambs.”

Lamb drop-off and pick-up dates are coordinated across the state in September and October. The lambs are then transported to the Laramie Research and Extension Center where UW students help with receiving protocols, including vaccination and EID tagging. Students enrolled in the program are responsible for data collection and feeding lambs.

If interested in donating lambs or hosting a lamb pickup, contact Stewart at 307-766-5374 or by Sept. 25.

Source: Tri-State Livestock News


SDSU Seeks Emerging Sheep Producers

Applications are now available for the second SDSU Extension Emerging Sheep Producers Program. The program is for sheep producers who want to develop or improve a full- or part-time sheep operation.

The program will run from September 2023 through August 2024 and will consist of a nine-session course that is a combination of workshops, webinars, hands-on field days and networking opportunities. Throughout the course, participants will receive hands-on experience working with sheep and learn a step-by-step process to develop a personalized business management plan.

Those eligible for the program must be older than 18 years of age with 10 years or fewer of management experience in sheep production. If not currently involved in sheep production, participants must show a strong desire to manage a sheep operation in the future.

Applications are due by Aug. 31. Up to 20 people will be selected to participate. Couples and family members are welcome to apply from the same operation. The participant registration fee is $200 per person or $300 per couple. Participants will also be required to cover travel and hotel costs for in-person workshops.

Registration fees will be due upon acceptance into the program. Registration includes meals at in-person workshops, a lambing kit, an American Sheep Industry Association Sheep Production Handbook and a grazing stick, as well as other print and digital resources.

Click Here for more information.

Source: SDSU Extension


Oregon Producers Needed for Mineral Study

The Bionaz Lab at Oregon State University is recruiting participants for a sheep micromineral study using state-of-the-art mass spectrometry technology. And here’s the best part: there is no cost to participate.

Oregon sheep growers are invited to participate in a survey focused on the state’s sheep population. Thanks to the support from the Agricultural Research Foundation, the study has an opportunity to explore the distribution of micromineral levels and their connection to farming practices and overall sheep health.

Testing will cover a range of minerals including selenium, copper, zinc, lead, cobalt, nickel and more. These test results can provide valuable insights into any deficiencies or toxicities present, enabling producers to make informed decisions about adjusting their flock’s diet or implementing necessary supplementation methods to ensure nutrient requirements are met.

Participation in this survey would greatly assist researchers in gaining a deeper understanding of the micromineral status in Oregon’s sheep population.

Oregon producers interested in participating should contact Daniella Hasan at to see if their ewes qualify, set up blood collection and receive the participant survey.

Source: Oregon State University


Legislative Update from Washington, D.C.

The American Sheep Industry Association’s lobbying firm – Cornerstone Government Affairs – offered an update this week on legislative issues in our nation’s capital.

Lawmakers Leave D.C. Without a Farm Bill Draft

At the end of last week, the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate adjourned to embark on a month-long August recess, pausing several timely legislative priorities. Not only do the 12 appropriations bills still needing to be passed face a Sept. 30 deadline, but the 2018 Farm Bill is also set to expire on that date.

While the fast-approaching deadline is concerning, a short-term extension seems to be the solution. On the House side, Agriculture Committee Chairman G.T. Thompson (Penn.) has said he wants to circulate a draft of the Farm Bill in early September, emphasizing that the committee will be spending a large part of the August recess working on the bill.

On the Senate side, Agriculture Committee Ranking Member John Boozman (Ark.) has commented that he and Chairman Debbie Stabenow (Mich.) are committed to working diligently through the recess, as well. He added that one of the biggest delays to the Farm Bill’s progress has been the challenges and negotiations between the Congressional Budget Office regarding baseline scores. While September appears to be ruled out for the upper chamber to release a final Farm Bill draft, Senate aides reportedly seem optimistic about October’s potential.


Video of the Week

Textile Artist Janice Arnold of Olympia, Wash., has always been captivated by fine fabrics, including American wool. She’s featured in the latest Unrivaled video from Experience Wool.

Click Here to watch the video.

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