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.
NAMI Hosts Briefing on Denver Initiative
On Monday, the North American Meat Institute hosted a briefing related to the recent Denver Slaughterhouse Ban Ballot Initiative featuring a detailed presentation from Superior Farms President and CEO Rick Stott.
The City of Denver is shaping up as the first battleground where animal rights activists have obtained the signatures needed for a municipal ballot measure banning slaughter facilities within the city limits. Superior Farms was founded in 1964 and is now the largest lamb processor in the United States. This 100-percent employee-owned facility with a workforce of 170-plus people is the only slaughter facility that operates within the city limits of Denver.
Maria Garcia Berry, founder of CRL Associates, shared the company’s research and spoke to Superior Farms’ comprehensive defense strategy, which includes active involvement from Denver and Colorado business, livestock and agricultural organizations. Stott spoke passionately of the need to decisively defeat the Denver ballot initiative so that it will not become a template for anti-agriculture initiatives by animal activists in other states. Time is certainly of the essence as this measure is expected to be on the November 2024 ballot.
Stott wrapped up the briefing by asking that agriculture organizations consider two avenues to begin to support the effort: 1. help spread awareness of the issue by inviting Superior Farms to speak with decisionmakers at meetings and annual conventions of like-minded trade organizations; and 2. consider supporting the initiative to defeat the Denver Slaughterhouse Ban through financial contributions, special media campaigns and other related means.
Superior Farms will offer a presentation on the issue during the Saturday Speaker Lunch at the American Sheep Industry Association’s Annual Convention in January. The company will share its current defense strategy with ASI’s membership. ASI anticipates consideration of the ASI Guard Dog fund for financial support later that afternoon.
House Ag Chairman Diagnosed with Cancer
On Tuesday, Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture Glenn “GT” Thompson (Penn.) released a statement disclosing his recent and sudden diagnosis of prostate cancer. While the announcement was brief in nature, the tone of his message was optimistic and uplifting.
Click Here to read the full statement.
USDA Raises Farm Trade Deficit
On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released a trade outlook report that forecasts agricultural exports for Fiscal Year 2024 will total $169.5 billion – a decrease of $2.5 billion from the August forecast. It also projects that agricultural imports will total $200 billion – an increase of $500 million from August.
This results in a projected farm trade deficit of $30.5 billion, surpassing the August estimate of $27.5 billion and nearly doubling the $16.7 billion deficit in Fiscal Year 2023. The latest data underscores a shift from the farm trade surplus of fiscal 2021 – which stood at $8.5 billion. USDA has revised its export forecasts – particularly for grains and meat – while Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack defends the administration’s efforts to boost exports, emphasizing the need to diversify markets beyond China, Canada and Mexico. Despite Fiscal Year 2024 being the fourth-highest year for exports, a surge in imports in recent years has contributed to the expanding farm trade deficit
Export Council Approves Ag Recommendations
On Wednesday, the President’s Export Council convened for its fall meeting. The President’s Export Council – which is the main national advisory committee on international trade – met to discuss three letters of policy recommendations, including one on agricultural trade.
The recommendations in the agriculture letter included increasing collaboration on diversifying the U.S. agricultural supply chain, establishing a robust agricultural trade agenda, enforcing existing trade agreements, and leading on international sustainability and climate efforts. The recommendation letter was adopted by the council without any objections.
Click Here for a copy of the letter.
Click Here for a video recording of the event.
As Year End Nears, Australian Wool Market Rebounds
The Australian wool market recorded an overall gain in this series, driven by strong increases in fine Merino fleece types and aided by currency movements.
The national offering dropped by 1,680 bales to 45,228 bales, but Melbourne required three selling days to accommodate the larger number of lots on offer this week. This was the first three-day sale in Melbourne since May 18. With only two selling weeks before the Christmas recess, exporters needing to finish orders knew that this sale was an important time to secure the wool they need as the end of the year fast approaches.
In the Merino fleece types – in many cases – wools possessing faults such as lower tensile strength or higher vegetable matter, brought similar money to wool free of these faults as buyers fought hard to secure certain lots that suited their specific needs. The largest gains were recorded in the finest microns as strong widespread competition in these types helped push prices higher.
These gains were reflected in the individual Micron Price Guides for 18 micron and finer, which added between 14 and 71 cents. Nearly all Merino fleece MPGs rose with only the 19.5-micron MPG in the North bucking the trend and posting a 7-cent loss.
The skirting sector tracked a similar path to the fleece, while the crossbred and oddment markets had an up and down series, where there was little overall change recorded. The AWEX Eastern Market Indicator rose by 11 cents for the series, closing the week at 1,177 Australian cents.
Week 24 will host the final sale of the 2023 calendar year, with sales then heading into the annual three-week Christmas recess. As the last selling opportunity until early January, this sale is forecast to be larger and 50,550 bales are expected to be on offer in Sydney, Fremantle and Melbourne, which again requires three selling days.
Click Here for the Australian Wool Report Prices in US Dollars Per Pound.
Groenewold To Be Honored Posthumously
Wool Excellence Award Winner Greg Groenewold passed away unexpectedly on Wednesday and will be honored posthumously at the 2024 American Sheep Industry Association’s Annual Convention in Denver. He was chosen for the award earlier this year by ASI’s Wool Roundtable.
“It is with deep sadness that I share the news of the passing of Greg Groenewold early this morning,” ASI Wool Marketing Director Rita Samuelson wrote in an email to industry executives on Wednesday. “He was a dedicated and influential figure, who has been an integral part of the U.S. wool industry for decades.
“Greg was a force behind many of the positive developments of the U.S. Midwest wool sector and Groenewold Fur and Wool. His passion for wool was instrumental in shaping the landscape of the entire industry. He will be remembered as a principled man and for his kindness, leadership, ethics and compassion. His commitment to wool was unwavering, as even after he experienced physical challenges due to his Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis, he was regularly in the office, strong as ever, buying and trading wool.
“During this time, our thoughts and condolences are with Greg’s family, friends and those who worked alongside him. May his memory continue to inspire us to uphold the values and standards he believed in. He will be missed.”
Greg’s life will be celebrated with a visitation at Burke Tubbs Funeral Home on Monday from 4 to 7 p.m., and a church service on Tuesday at 10:30 a.m., followed by a lunch for all. In lieu of flowers a memorial has been established for North Grove Evangelical Church.
ALB Funds Available for Retail, Foodservice Programs
The American Lamb Board allocates funds to support branded retail and foodservice initiatives for American lamb suppliers through the Supplier Cooperative Funding Program. This program is designed for those willing to collaborate in sharing costs and resources for the funded project. Funds are designated for activities created to increase consumer demand for American lamb.
Recently, ALB partnered with Superior Farms to support a retail sampling program and digital grilling campaign initiative:
- Superior Farms conducted in-store sampling events at more than 200 grocery stores across the country.
- Superior Farms launched a digital grilling promotion for Kroger’s Simple Truth Natural Lamb across various digital platforms.
Both programs generated a significant increase in lamb dollar sales.
“ALB works to support our American lamb retail and foodservice customers and invest in programs and strategies with suppliers to strengthen our long-term competitiveness,” said ALB Chairman Peter Camino.
Please reach out if you have retail and/or foodservice opportunities that the American Lamb Board can support.
Click Here for more information and to apply.
CSU Extension Will Host Wolf Update
Colorado State University Extension will offer a Wolf Update for Livestock Producers on Dec. 18 from 5 to 7 p.m. mountain time at the Moffat County Extension Office in Craig, Colo.
“Join us as we bring in Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials to discuss: 10J Ruling; Livestock Loss Compensation; management; and more.
For more information, contact Megan Stetson at 970-826-3402 or email@example.com.
Click Here to register.
Source: Colorado State University Extension
3Q Shearing Clinics Planned
Australian shearer Mike Pora is once again planning to conduct three advanced shearing clinics in the United States this winter. Participants will improve the quality, quantity and speed of their shearing.
Clinic dates and contact information are as follows:
- South Dakota, Jan. 26-27, 2024, Mike Hagens at 701-220-6636.
- Montana, Jan. 31-Feb. 1, 2024, Brent Roeder at 406-980-0719
- Oregon, Feb. 5-8, 2024, Michael Estes at 541-788-4682.
Shearers can also reach Pora by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.