Editor’s Note: Due to the holiday season, the ASI Weekly will take a break next week. The newsletter will return on Jan. 6, 2023.
ASI Announces Award Winners
Idaho’s Jeff Siddoway became the second member of his family to be selected as the winner of the American Sheep Industry Association’s McClure Silver Ram Award when he was chosen from a group of top-notch nominees as the 2023 recipient. His wife, Cindy – a past president of ASI – won the award in 2016.
Siddoway leads a slate of award winners that is second to none. He’ll be honored at the Industry Awards Luncheon on Jan. 20, 2023, at the ASI Annual Convention in Fort Worth, Texas. He’ll be joined on stage that day by:
- Distinguished Producer Award winner Dr. Stanley Poe of Indiana.
- Peter Orwick Camptender Award winners Jim Logan, DVM, of Wyoming, and Cindy Wolf, DVM, of Minnesota.
- Industry Innovation Award winner Jeanne Carver of Oregon.
- Shepherd’s Voice Award winner KLST-TV/KSAN-TV of San Angelo, Texas.
A fifth-generation Idaho sheep rancher, Siddoway made his mark while serving 12 years in the Idaho State Senate. He was also a regular participant in ASI’s Spring Trip to Washington, D.C., where he lobbied Congress on behalf of the industry. Siddoway ventured into politics “to protect agriculture,” and worked fervently on issues ranging from predator management to keeping the doors open at the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station in Dubois, Idaho.
Siddoway served on a variety of ASI’s councils and committees through the years, including a stint on the ASI Board of Directors. He’s also a past president of the Idaho Wool Growers Association.
Dr. Stanley Poe is a lifelong sheep producer who was fortunate enough to work with both his father and his children in the family’s Hampshire operation. He was happy to hand over the operation to the next generation in the last year.
Poe ramped up involvement with ASI after retiring from full-time work with an animal health company in 2000. The family operation was a leader in artificial insemination in the sheep industry and even hosted the ASI Executive Board for a farm tour several years ago. Poe is a past president of the Indiana Sheep Association and has regularly served as the state’s representative to the ASI Board of Directors.
Longtime ASI Animal Health Committee Co-Chairs Jim Logan, DVM, and Cindy Wolf, DVM, have provided an ideal balance of leadership for nearly 30 years, dating back to 1995.
“I had the regulatory experience where she was coming in with the education and teaching experience,” Logan said. “We just always seemed to work well together.”
Logan retired in 2021 from his position as the Wyoming state vet. While he raised sheep much of his life, he mostly dispersed the flock in 2012 to concentrate on his veterinarian duties.
“I am honored and appreciative to receive this award with my omniscient colleague and dear friend, Dr. Jim Logan,” said Wolf. “I am also grateful of having had the opportunity to work with talented ASI staff and fellow sheep producers from all over the United States. I also want to recognize my family who have supported me throughout my years of volunteer service to the sheep industry.”
According to a nomination form, Wolf started her internship at the University of Minnesota in 1984 with an interest in large animal medicine, specifically dairy cattle. But she cultivated knowledge in small ruminants while there and quickly became an advocate in the sheep and goat communities.
Jeanne Carver has been making her own way in the wool market for the better part of 25 years. Along the way, she’s provided wool for use in uniforms for the U.S. Olympic Team among other high-profile clients. Her Oregon ranch was the first to be certified under the Responsible Wool Standard – a third-party certification program.
In 2018, she started Shaniko Wool Company to scale up the supply of RWS-certified American wool. There are now 10 Western sheep producer members of the company. All totaled they run sheep on more than 2.5 million acres and shear more than 500,000 pounds of wool each year.
KLST/KSAN-TV of San Angelo, Texas, “considers it an honor to tell farmers’ and ranchers’ stories.” The station bridges the gap between viewers who aren’t familiar with agriculture and those who have been involved with the industry for generations. The station will be honored with ASI’s Shepherd’s Voice Award that is presented annually to members of the media who cover the American sheep industry throughout the year.
Read the full story in the January issue of the Sheep Industry News.
MWGA Hiring for Two Positions
The Montana Wool Growers Association is looking to fill two positions: executive secretary and ram sale manager.
The main functions of the executive secretary are to keep the board of directors informed of finances, communicate with the membership through the MWGA magazine and email news, assist with Montana Ram and Ewe Sale preparations, plan and organize the annual convention in Billings, Mont., work cooperatively with Montana State University and the American Sheep Industry Association, and communicate with the public affairs director on legislative issues.
The successful candidate will be a self-starter and demonstrate excellence in communication skills and integrity. Competence with various technology including email, social media and the Microsoft Office Suite is required. Previous experience in the sheep industry is preferred, but not a requirement. This is a remote position.
The ram sale manager position is looking for a candidate who understands the sheep industry, has experience with livestock sales, is competent in the Microsoft Office Suite, comfortable learning new computer programs and technology savvy (Adobe InDesign experience is a plus). This position is remote.
Most of the work can be accomplished by phone, email and online meetings. Candidate would need to be present in Miles City during sale week (the second full week of September each year – Sept. 11-15, 2023). The bulk of the duties are concentrated into August and September.
Click Here for applications and full job descriptions.
Grab Your Spot Now at 2023 Shearing Schools
According to a Facebook post earlier this week, there were just a few spots remaining in the Texas A&M AgriLife Sheep Shearing School in San Angelo, Texas, in late January 2023. Spots are filling fast in schools around the country, so reserve your spot today.
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 Texas A&M AgriLife Sheep Shearing School is set for Jan. 24-27 in San Angelo, Texas. For more information, visit org/sheepandgoat/registration/.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com for more information.
- Shepherd’s Cross in Claremore, Okla., will host a shearing school on April 13-15, 2023. Visit shepherdscross.com to register.
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.
Taylor Confirmed as USDA Under Secretary
On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate confirmed the nomination of Alexis Taylor to be the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s under secretary for trade & foreign agricultural affairs. The Biden Administration originally announced its intent to nominate Taylor in May and her confirmation comes after months of agricultural industry concern over the administration filling top agricultural trade roles.
Taylor currently serves as director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture, where she oversees policy directives for Oregon’s 38 programs and its 500 employees. She received her bachelor of arts in political science and minor in communications from Iowa State University.
The American Sheep Industry Association supported Taylor’s nomination, and looks forward to working with her department on trade issues that affect the American wool, lamb and pelt markets. Taylor worked on sheep programs during her tenure with Sen. Max Baucus of Montana.
Early Tuesday morning, lawmakers unveiled a $1.7 trillion year-end spending bill to fund the government through Fiscal Year 2023. The omnibus included many provisions important to the American Sheep Industry Association. Below are a few provisions of note:
- The Wildlife Damage Management program assists agricultural producers by protecting livestock from predators, managing invasive species such as feral swine and beaver damage, conducting a national rabies management program, and managing wildlife species and diseases. The program was funded at $121,957,000 for FY23.
- The Wildlife Services Methods Development program provides scientific information to support the development and implementation of methods for managing wildlife damage. The Wildlife Services Methods Development program was funded at $26,244,000 for FY23.
- Surveillance for scrapie in the United States is conducted through the National Scrapie Eradication Program, which provides surveillance for scrapie within the U.S. and is a cooperative state-federal-industry program. NSEP is funded through USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service under the Equine, Cervid and Small Ruminant Health line item. This line item was funded at $35,319,000 for FY23.
Earlier today, the U.S. Senate struck a deal to pass the legislation, after a variety of senators tried to attach amendments to the bill. The legislation was passed by a vote of 68-29. The omnibus now will move to the House of Representatives, where it must be voted on before heading to the president’s desk to be signed.
Ag Census Mailed to Producers
Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture mailed the 2022 Census of Agriculture paper questionnaires to all known agriculture producers across the nation and Puerto Rico. Last month, producers in the states received their survey codes with an invitation to respond online.
Any producer who did not respond online now has the option to complete the ag census at agcounts.usda.gov or by mail. Producers who have already responded to the 2022 Census of Agriculture online do not need to respond again. The deadline for response is Feb. 6, 2023.
“We encourage producers to respond online,” said USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service Administrator Hubert Hamer. “We know producers are busy, which is why NASS worked to make responding to the ag census more convenient than ever before. The online questionnaire is secure and user friendly with several time saving features, such as skipping questions that do not pertain to the operation, pre-filling some information with previously reported data, and automatically calculating totals.”
The Census of Agriculture remains the nation’s only comprehensive and impartial agriculture data for every state, county and U.S. territory. Farm operations of all sizes – urban and rural – which produced and sold, or normally would have sold, $1,000 or more of agricultural products in 2022, are included in the ag census. The data inform decisions about policy, programs, rural development, research and more. The Census of Agriculture is the producer’s voice in the future of American agriculture.
Responding to the Census of Agriculture is required by law under Title 7 USC 2204(g) Public Law 105-113. The same law requires NASS to keep all information confidential, to use the data only for statistical purposes, and only publish in aggregate form to prevent disclosing the identity of any individual producer or farm operation. NASS will release the results of the ag census in 2024.
Click Here to learn more about the Census of Agriculture.
Blog Post Offers Words of Wisdom
A recent post in the Shepherd to Shepherd blog by the Eastern Alliance for Production Katahdins offered some words of wisdom from four experienced sheep producers.
“At the outset, I kept good records. It’s really hard to improve your flock without them,” wrote Roxanne Newton of Hound River Farm in Georgia. “Records are the key to making selection and culling decisions, and can alert you to other problems. For instance, just the act of recording lamb weights can indicate an animal’s growth potential, a lamb’s susceptibility to parasites or the milking ability of the ewe. It could also indicate that a ewe has poor mothering instincts or possibly a problem with her udder. These are just a few examples of why recordkeeping is so important.”
Michelle Canfield of Canfield Farms in Washington State wrote, “I try to carve out a little bit of time each day and week to invest in a project that will reduce my workload, expenses, losses and waste over time. The “80/20 rule” applies to many things. Twenty percent of our sheep cost us 80 percent of the work. Twenty percent of our problems cause 80 percent of our losses. So, if I can continuously knock out the biggest sources of loss and waste, by culling poor doers and bottom EBV performers, addressing the most common causes of loss in my system, and improving efficiency of movement and effort, I’ll always be incrementally improving in output and profitability.”
Lynn Fahrmeier of Fahrmeier Katahdins in Missouri and Etienne and Isabel Richards of Gibraltar Farms in New York also contributed to the blog.
Click Here to read the full blog.