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Are You Prepared for an FMD Outbreak?

What if there was an outbreak of foot and mouth disease on our country’s doorstep? This is the case for sheep producers in Australia who are nervously watching the outbreak in Indonesia. South Africa’s wool industry is experiencing the dire consequences of not being able to export to China due to an FMD outbreak earlier this year.

If FMD came knocking on the United States’ door, would it be able to walk right into your flock or are you taking steps to protect your sheep?

The American Sheep Industry Association values preparedness, which is why it developed the Secure Sheep and Wool Plan with enhanced biosecurity tools and more. At the beginning of an FMD outbreak, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends a 72-hour national movement standstill for all cloven-hoofed livestock and their products. After this time, movement controls will continue in the areas around infected animals, throughout a state or even a region. Restarting movement will require a special permit. The permit will be issued by regulatory officials after a producer meets certain requirements.

How prepared are you to meet those requirements so your business can continue?

The SSWS Plan was developed to help producers protect their flocks from FMD and voluntarily prepare before an FMD outbreak, rather during the chaos of an outbreak. The plan provides guidance for producers who have sheep with no evidence of FMD infection to meet movement permit requirements.

ASI supports several efforts to protect America’s sheep producers from foreign animal and plant diseases and pests, which is why it developed the SSWS Plan. As the association monitors the situation in the southern hemisphere, now is a good time to learn how to protect your flock and business in the event of an FMD outbreak.

Click Here to learn more and access valuable SSWS Plan resources.


Kentucky Producers Need Assistance

The Southeast Kentucky Sheep Producers Association is organizing relief efforts specifically for sheep and goat farmers in the flood-stricken mountain counties of eastern Kentucky.

The association’s first convoy of trucks and box trailers loaded with sheep & goat feed and dog food will go tomorrow to Hazard and Hindman, where supplies will be distributed to farmers who suffered major damage. The association hopes that this will be the first of many trips into the mountains with loads of feed, hay, fencing, farm supplies, building materials, etc.

SEKSPA Treasurer Emily Merritt has created a Go Fund Me account, and is asking for folks to donate funds that will be used to provide necessary supplies. SEKSPA’s Board of Directors have volunteered to administer and coordinate all donated funds and materials. Monetary donations can be sent through Go Fund Me, but the association is also looking for individuals who could give actual materials – feed, hay and fencing in particular – provide labor for rebuilding fences, assist with clean-up, and/or make deliveries.

The need also remains urgent for anyone who can temporarily keep sheep or goats on their pastures, since most bottomland pastures are covered with a thick layer of mud.

Click Here to donate.

Source: SEKSPA


SDSGA Announces Premium Ewe Sale Results

To meet the needs of emerging demand within the sheep industry for superior young ewe genetics available in smaller lot sizes, the South Dakota Sheep Growers Association has hosted a Premium Yearling Ewe Sale the last five years. This year’s sale was in late July at Magness Livestock Auction in Huron, S.D.

Consignors provided an excellent selection of high-quality, registerable and commercial ewes ranging from traditional white face wool breeds and their crosses to meat breed yearling ewes. Prices remained strong throughout the sale with considerable interest on all offerings. Lots were purchased by buyers from four states.

The high-selling registerable lot brought $600 per head for a pen of five sold by Gerdes Hampshires and purchased by Keith Jibben of Big Stone City, S.D. In the commercial ewes, the high-selling lot was five head of fall-born Polypay ewes offered by Shady Lane Farms and Nicole Jessen of Redfield, S.D., and purchased by John Callies of Howard, S.D. for $615 per head.

The volume buyer of the sale was Bo Thorson from Towner, N.D., purchasing 80 ewes. Fifty-one sheep producers registered to bid on 17 lots of yearling ewes totaling 575 head. Gross receipts totaled $239,275 and the average price per head was $416.

Prior to the sale, a South Dakota State University Extension educational program and lunch were held. A total of 52 sheep producers attended the programming and 107 people were on hand for the free, lamb lunch.

It was also very successful day for seven young sheep producers who were awarded the Youth Buyer Credit from SDSGA. All found sheep they liked and got them bought. The winners were John Callies, Amelia Crawford, Austin Crawford, Carly Crawford, Clay Crawford, Jayden Kott and Marlena Retzlaff.

Tommy Mills of Frannie, Wyo., donated a yearling ewe for this year’s rollover auction to generate funds to support our Youth Buyer Credit Program. Generous donors raised $3,450 toward future winners.

Source: SDSGA


Lamb Summit Will Push Industry to Take Action

The second American Lamb Summit kicks off Monday in East Lansing, Mich. Its sponsors – the American Lamb Board and Premier 1 Supplies – say to expect to be challenged and pushed out of the status quo.

“My experience has convinced me that no product is so good that it can’t be improved. Industry members have good intentions…but boasting about U.S. lamb is not always helpful. Better to focus on what needs to be done to improve it,” said Stan Potratz, founder of Premier 1 Supplies and past member of the ALB.

“We’ve gained a huge amount of knowledge in the past two to five years that tells us what lamb quality issues are most important to fix. Our goal with the Lamb Summit is to share ideas, educate and provide support to producers who want to not only survive in this industry, but thrive,” said ALB Chairman Peter Camino.

The capacity crowd won’t be spending a lot of time in typical presentations. Participants will sample lamb like a consumer taste panel would do, witness the use of ultrasound to measure muscle quality in live lambs, go into the Michigan State University Meat Lab to evaluate lamb carcasses, and test their skills at visually assessing animal quality with and without the aid of genetic data.

And there’s more. Pricing lamb for direct sale to consumers, topline information from a checkoff study measuring lamb’s carbon footprint, and even cookery education are also part of the two-day event.

Michigan may be the perfect case study on how the American lamb industry is changing, and how there’s viability in distinct market segments because of its significant finishing and packing industry focused on the traditional market, while the Detroit metro region is home to one of the largest non-traditional lamb markets, says Richard Ehrhardt, Ph.D., who is a senior extension specialist for small ruminants at MSU.

If you aren’t attending, ALB will be posting updates on its Lamb Checkoff Facebook page during the summit. The Lamb Summit online has conference information and will be updated with presentations and reports. ALB is also working with leading ag media to share information during and following the summit. However, there is no livestream of the conference.

Source: ALB



Cornerstone Provides Legislative Update

The American Sheep Industry Association’s lobbying firm – Cornerstone Government Affairs – offered an update this week on legislative issues in Washington, D.C.

Working Land Continues to Increase Within the CRP Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that an increasing number of producers have signed up to protect their grasslands, with a total of 3.1 million acres of grassland being approved thus far through the Conservation Reserve Program. This number surpasses last year’s total of 2.5 million acres.

The grassland CRP program allows farmers to cut grass for hay, graze the current land or use the acreage for seed production. USDA said producers have the potential to earn an average of $15 per acre. By this fall, the CRP program plans to have 23.8 million acres enrolled throughout the country. The Farm Service Agency stated that the 2023 fiscal year will encompass 5.6 million acres, which is expected to surpass the current fiscal year by 1.7 million acres. More information about the CRP grassland program can be found here.

Avoiding a Railroad Strike

A potential strike is brewing between railroads and their union workers, as they have yet to reach an agreement on work conditions. This strike could have detrimental effects on a wide variety of industries, as railroad transportation makes up 30 percent of all national transportation.

Several agriculture leaders expect Western livestock operations to be the first impacted if a strike were to take place. The Biden Administration has established a three-person emergency board that will work directly with railroads and unions to establish a solution. The emergency board plans to have a tentative proposal out in mid-August and the two sides have until Sept. 15 to accept or reject the board’s proposal.

Stabenow Selects New Committee Staff Director

This past week, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow announced the selection of a new majority staff director to replace Joe Shultz, who previously served the Senate Ag Committee for 11 years as both majority and minority staff director and chief economist.

Stabenow announced the selection of Erica Chabot to the Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee. Chabot is a New Hampshire native and graduate of St. Michael’s College in Colchester, Vt. She has spent the last 10 years as Appropriations Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy’s (Vt.) legislative director and deputy chief of staff. As legislative director, Chabot led agriculture and nutrition-related initiatives for Leahy for the 2014 and 2018 Farm Bills, and has been a key adviser on dairy policy, farm-to-school issues, conservation and rural development. She also previously served as the Judiciary Committee communications director for five years.

USDA announces $1 Billion in Community Wildfire Defense Grants

On July 26, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced the launch of a new $1 billion Community Wildfire Defense Grant program. This new, five-year, competitive program funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is designed to assist at-risk communities – including Tribal communities, non-profit organizations, state forestry agencies and Alaska Native corporations – with planning for and mitigating wildfire risks.

Individual grants will fund up to $250,000 to create and update community wildfire protection plans or conduct outreach and education, and up to $10 million for associated infrastructure and resilience projects. Projects must be completed within five years of the award obligation. The number of projects selected will be determined by available funding, which is $200 million annually.

Source: Cornerstone Government Affairs


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