Discounted Registration Closes Today for Convention
Today is the final day to register for the 2023 ASI Annual Convention at the discounted rate. Early bird registration ends at 5 p.m. mountain time today. Registrations after that time will be at the full rate. Online registration is open through Dec. 30. The ASI Annual Convention will take place at the Omni Fort Worth Hotel in Texas on Jan. 18-21, 2023.
Click Here to register.
ALB Receives USDA Sustainability Grant
On Monday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced its investment in 71 projects under the second funding pool of Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities. This included a grant awarded to the American Lamb Board for Measuring the Climate Benefits and Emissions of Prescribed Sheep Grazing and Promoting the Consumption of Climate-Smart Lamb. The American Sheep Industry Association joins a handful of other industry groups as a major partner in the project.
“People who are likely to be lamb consumers seem inclined to use sustainability factors when making purchase decisions. This issue is moving beyond a trend, so it’s time for the American lamb industry to take more aggressive action,” says ALB Chairman Peter Camino. “We’ve chosen to take this new challenge as an opportunity. We’re working on projects now that should help producers increase productivity and lead to greater sustainability. So, it’s a win-win.”
The ALB grant project plans to measure and report carbon sequestration, soil health and other benefits, and associated ecosystem services provided by prescribed sheep grazing on four different pilot demonstration sites throughout the United States and market the resulting climate-smart lamb products. The USDA grant budget is $4.995 million.
ALB understands the importance of sustainability, including the industry’s environmental footprint. This new, multi-year project will complement the checkoff funded research nearing completion at Michigan State University, which is calculating emissions and developing mitigation strategies.
“Quantifying the benefits of sheep grazing should bring value to the sheep industry and encourage sheep producers to further implement profitable grazing plans that enhance the environment,” says Camino.
USDA’s Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities is working to expand markets for American producers who produce climate-smart commodities, leverage greenhouse gas benefits of climate-smart production, and provide meaningful benefits to producers, including small and underserved producers. USDA received more than 1,000 proposals.
Australian Wool Market Soars into Recess
The Australian wool market finished the 2022 calendar year on a positive note on the back of strong support for Merino types. The AWEX Eastern Market Indicator closed out the year 49 cents higher, adding to the previous week’s 54-cent increase.
The rally during the past fortnight pushed the AWEX-EMI 103 cents higher (+8.4 percent) making it the best performing December on record (since 1979). Competition on all lots was fierce from the outset given it was the final chance for exporters to buy at auction until early next year.
The spirited bidding was maintained throughout the first day, pushing prices continually higher. As with the previous sale, many of the highest prices for specific types were recorded late in the day at the Fremantle selling center. Increases of 50 cents were common for many of the Micron Price Guides.
The rally continued into Wednesday, where there were further gains of 30 cents clean. Melbourne sold in isolation on Thursday, which was the final selling day of the year. The market was more subdued, initially opening in line with the previous day before easing back slightly late in the day. Most pressure was on the lower spec types while the more stylish types maintained good support through to the close.
Merino skirtings also found good support during the week and rose during all three selling days. Crossbreds sold at similar levels to the previous sale with the finer microns (25 to 26) recording rises of 20 to 30 cents. Merino cardings firmed slightly.
The offering was just under 48,000 bales for the series, making it the fourth largest for the 2022-23 season. The market now heads into the annual three-week Christmas recess. Sales will resume in Week 28, which is the week beginning Jan. 9, 2023.
Click Here for the Full Australian Wool Market Report.
Shearing Schools Added to Calendar
A few shearing schools have been added to the calendar of events since the list of schools was first published earlier this year.
If you’re interested in attending a shearing school, see if one of these might fit your schedule:
- The Utah State University Sheep Shearing School is scheduled for Jan. 19-21, 2023, at the USU Animal Science Farm in Wellsville, Utah. For more information, visit eventbrite.com/e/usu-sheep-shearing-school-2023-registration-407662919767.
- The Maryland Sheep Shearing School will be Feb. 3-4, 2023, at Dale Lehman’s Farm in Fairplay, Md. Visit marylandsheepbreeders.org/activities/maryland-shearing-school/ for more information.
- The Indiana Shearing School is set for Feb. 18, 2023, at the Purdue University Animal Sciences Center. Visit indianasheep.com for more information.
- Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Mo., will host a shearing school on March 1-2, 2023. Contact Extension Associate Amy Bax at BaxA2@LincolnU.edu to register.
- The Moffat County Sheep Shearing School in Craig, Colo., is set for March 31-April 2, 2023. Email Megan Stetson at email@example.com for more information.
- The Washington State Shearing School will be April 3-7 (beginners) and April 8 (advanced) at the Grant County Fairgrounds in Moses Lake, Wash. wsu.edu/grant/livestockanimal-science/washington-state-shearing-school/.
- The Tennessee Sheep Producers Association Sheep Shearing School is scheduled for April 7-8, 2023, at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tenn. Contact Mark Powell at 615-519-7796 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
- Shepherd’s Cross in Claremore, Okla., will host a shearing school on April 13-15, 2023. Visit shepherdscross.com to register.
MSU Podcast Talks Wolves in the West
The first season of a new podcast from Montana State University Extension and the Western Landowners Alliance digs into why finding a shared vision for wolf recovery in the lower 48 is important both for agricultural production and wildlife conservation. It also examines what this shared vision would mean for the future of wolves and working lands in the Western United States.
Jared Beaver, MSU Extension wildlife specialist, and Alex Few, coordinator of the Western Landowners Alliance’s Working Wild Challenge program, host the show, which is called Working Wild University. The podcast talks with the ranchers, biologists, outfitters and advocates working to sustain productive, resilient and connected rural landscapes, wildlife populations and human communities.
“We set out to make a show that really dives into the nuance of these complicated issues, without losing the landscape and the people at the heart,” said Few. “So, you’ll hear the working lands of the West, in all their struggle and glory, in each episode.”
The 13-episode season was recorded in eight states over more than eight months, with visits to dozens of ranches and conversations with historians, biologists, ranchers, agency personnel and other experts. Meanwhile, both Beaver, who has a doctorate in wildlife biology, and Few, who has a decade of experience with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, bring considerable expertise to hosting the show.
This first season of the podcast explores how producers and wildlife managers across the West are working with expanding wolf populations and how that relates to wolf behavior and biology, Few noted. He added that the team aimed to create a show that can provide value to seasoned ranchers and urban wildlife enthusiasts alike.
“Without a shared vision for the future of Western landscapes, and wolves in particular, I fear disagreements will only continue,” said Few. “That isn’t helpful for the kind of deep curiosity and creative thinking we will need to create a future where landscapes, wildlife and people all thrive.”
Working Wild University joins the Natural Resources University podcast network, a suite of shows from wildlife Extension specialists around the country. The first three episodes of Season 1 – Wolves in the West – are now available, with new episodes released weekly into 2023.
Click Here for more information and to listen to the podcast.
Source: Montana State University
Ohio State Plans Food Business Webinars
A recent U.S. Department of Agriculture survey identified 7,107 farms in Ohio with direct food sales – the third highest state in the nation. That might be why Ohio State University’s Agricultural & Resource Law Program receives more legal inquiries about food sales than any other area of law.
“We are constantly surprised by the interest producers have in selling meat, produce, jams, baked goods and similar foods directly to consumers and retailers,” said Peggy Kirk Hall, the program’s director.
To address the questions of those who want to directly market farm-raised and home-based food products to consumers, OSU Extension will host a webinar series this winter.
The Starting a Food Business webinar series will bring OSU’s expertise in food safety, law, product development, economics and marketing together to help explain what a producer needs to know when planning to sell home-based and farm-raised foods. Food businesses are challenging for many reasons, according to OSU Extension Educator Emily Marrison.
“We often see people who are known for being great cooks in their home kitchen, yet selling food products is really more like manufacturing. This webinar series will help food entrepreneurs learn the ins and outs of making quality and safe food while also navigating the business and legal considerations.”
Webinars will run once a month in January, February and March of 2023, with a different topic each month:
- January 24: Start-Up Basics. Assess the food safety, licensing, legal and economic considerations for selling your food product.
- February 28:Selling Home-Based Foods. Learn about food product development, Ohio’s Cottage Food and Home Bakery laws and requirements for selling canned foods.
- March 28:Selling Meat and Poultry. A look at the economics, processing options, and labeling and licensing requirements for selling meat and poultry.
The webinar series is free, but registration for one or all of the webinars is necessary.
Click Here to register.
Source: Ohio 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.
Congress Closer to Passing Spending Bill
After weeks of stalled negotiations, Congress is one step closer to passing legislation to fund the government through Fiscal Year 2023. On Tuesday evening, it was announced that leading negotiators of the bill – Sens. Patrick Leahy (Vt.) and Richard Shelby (Ala.), as well as Rep. Rosa DeLauro (Conn.) – had reached a topline deal on spending.
The House of Representatives voted on Wednesday evening to extend the current continuing resolution that has been funding the government from Dec. 15 to Dec. 23, to be able to finalize the legislation. The Senate passed the extension on Thursday.
Ag Labor Legislation
Sens. Michael Bennet (Colo.) and Mike Crapo (Idaho) have been working for months on a compromise to the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, but this past week it was announced that Crapo walked away from negotiations and will no longer be continuing the effort as the Republican lead.
At this time, Sen. Bennet still plans to move forward with the legislation. Earlier this year, the House of Representatives passed the FWMA, but since then, the legislation has been held up in the Senate, where it would need 10 Republican votes, as well as the entire Democratic Caucuses’ support to pass.
The current legislation being proposed would include wage stabilization, limitations to employer liability, increases for year-round visas and E-Verify provisions.
Video of the Week
Faribault Woolen Mill’s Spread the Warmth campaign was featured on NBC’s Today show this morning. The report includes an up close look at the process of manufacturing the company’s well-known wool blankets.
Click Here to watch the full story.