Developing Shearers Receive ASI Grants
The American Sheep Industry Association announced this week that eight shearers and two mentors will receive funds through the association’s shearer grant program. Grant recipients were chosen by members of a select committee from ASI’s Wool Council.
The program – first introduced in 2022 – will provide $1,500 to each developing shearer to help cover the cost of equipment and other expenses as they work toward improving their shearing skills. Shearers will receive $500 at the beginning of the program and work with a mentor to gain confidence and improve shearing quality and speed. At the completion of the program, the shearers will receive $1,000. Shearing mentors will earn $1,500 to help cover the costs accumulated while mentoring students.
Shearers for the program shear in the East, Midwest, Mountain States and the West. Students selected for the 2023 program include:
- James Powers of New York.
- Mark Burenheide of Nebraska.
- Todd Dixon of Montana.
- Tirzah Gunther of Ohio.
- Leslie Sullivan of Vermont.
- Erik House of Arizona.
- Dakota Wilson of Montana.
- Leeland Prock of Oregon.
Mentors accepted into the program include Mary Lake of Vermont and Mick Hofmann of Arizona.
Spring Trip Dates Set for March 27-29
The American Sheep Industry Association’s Spring Trip to Washington, D.C., is set for March 27-29. Sheep producers from state and national associations across the United States will visit our nation’s capital to meet with their congressional delegations on issues of interest to the industry.
The trip will also include meetings with our ASI partners at the U.S. Department of Agriculture on lamb and wool marketing, market reporting, sheep health and disease management, and livestock protection.
Producers interested in joining the trip should contact their state sheep association executive, who will coordinate with ASI to plan the annual legislative fly-in.
Apply Now for NLFA’s Leadership School
Applications are now available for the National Lamb Feeder Association’s Howard Wyman Sheep Industry Leadership School. Applications for the school are due by April 1 and should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 2023 school will be conducted in Columbus, Ohio, on July 9-13. There is no fee to apply, but individuals must be 20 years of age or older to attend. Preference will be given to young producers ages 20 to 40. Students of the school are responsible for their own travel to and from the tour site, as well as a $250 registration fee that covers all subsequent meals, lodging, supplies and other tour-related expenses.
Industry Lender Bucks Interest Rate Trend
The National Livestock Producers Association Sheep & Goat Innovation Fund Committee took action at its recent meeting to leave its interest rates available to projects to improve the sheep and goat industries unchanged.
“We are in place to assist the U.S. sheep and goat industries,” said Pierce Miller, chairman of the committee. “With runaway interest rates recently, we wanted to show our commitment to our industry and those needing loan assistance by not raising our rates.”
The fund is the result of a joint effort of the American Sheep Industry Association and the National Livestock Producers Association.
“We are working to make loans to producers, processors and manufacturers to help to stabilize and build the industry,” Miller said. “The fund has already helped the industry by establishing loans that have reasonable risk but may otherwise not be considered by most banks.”
The goals of the fund are to:
- Make capital available for enhancing business methods and services.
- Improve marketing efficiency and product quality.
- Promote coordination and cooperation within the industry.
- Create opportunities for adding value to sheep and goat products.
- Grow the sheep and goat industries in the United States.
According to Miller – a Texas sheep producer – the fund is being used to benefit all sectors of the sheep and goat industries.
“Currently loans have been made in many areas, including genetic development, sheep and goat dairies, lamb and goat meat processing, and fiber processing,” Miller said. “The sheep and goat industries are in need of creative ideas that will add value to sheep and goats and the products they provide. The fund encourages industry members to evaluate the immediate needs in their area, gather support from others who recognize those needs, and work together to find the most effective solutions to local concerns.”
The purpose of the fund has been to assist in financing projects beyond the farm gate; however, recently the fund was given the ability to make term loans to producers for the purpose of flock and herd expansion.
“We are able to make simple, five-year term loans for breeding animals with a fixed interest rate,” said Miller. “Our committee will consider any worthwhile project that will benefit our industry.”
For more information or an application please contact the NLPA Sheep & Goat Innovation Fund at 800-237-7193. More information and the application are also available at www.sheepandgoatfund.com.
Australian Wool Market Soars
After a steady start to the 2023 calendar year, the Australian wool market spiked upward this week and pushed the AWEX-Eastern Market Indicator past the 1,400-cent mark. That’s the highest level since the first week of the current season back in July 2022.
The firming nature of last week enticed more sellers to an already busy time on the selling program and pushed the national offering to just more than 49,000 bales – the fourth largest for the season and almost 11,000 bales more than the previous sale.
This large offering came under intense buying pressure from the opening lots on the first selling day in the Eastern centers all the way to the closing lot in the West. By the end of the day the rise in prices was reflected in the individual Micron Price Guides, which for Merino fleece had risen by between 26 and 97 cents. These increases – combined with overall rises in the other sectors – pushed the EMI up by 44 cents for the day. This was the largest daily increase in the EMI since October 2021.
It was a mixed market on Wednesday with both losses and gains recorded. Melbourne attracted the most interest with gains of 20 cents in the finer micron ranges. The crossbred sector had a strong day with gains of around 10 cents being common. The final day of selling saw only Melbourne in operation and the market struggled for momentum on the back of a firmer Australian dollar. Merino types were 5 cents cheaper while crossbreds firmed 5 cents. Some of the largest gains of the week were recorded in the 21 microns, which are now at their highest level in three years.
Sellers appear to be encouraged by the rising market with almost 59,000 bales forecast for next week, which will be the biggest sale since March 2020.
Click Here for the Full Australian Wool Market Report.
Consumers Engaged in Lamb Lovers Month
The American Lamb Board is celebrating February as Lamb Lovers Month with its Ewe Complete Me consumer promotion. The campaign has a strong digital presence through ALB’s consumer social platforms reminding followers there is no better way to show their love than preparing delicious American lamb.
American lamb lovers have been flocking to social media to share their favorite lamb recipes for a chance to win a date-night-in prize package including American lamb shanks and premium culinary items. Each entrant receives an exclusive “Lamb is for Lovers” canvas tote bag.
Ewe Complete Me is just one Lamb Checkoff promotion to encourage consumers to choose American lamb. To extend the reach and message, ALB staff is sending key consumer food media representatives a Lamb Lovers Month kit including loin chops, Lamb Lovers Month tote bags, sheep’s milk cheese and wool socks with a heart pattern.
“ALB has celebrated February as Lamb Lovers Month for more than a decade,” said Peter Camino, ALB chairman. “We value this annual opportunity to amplify our impact and carry out marketing goals outlined in the 2023 strategic plan.”
Click Here for more information is at LambResourceCenter.com.
Scholarships Available from Livestock Marketing Association
The Livestock Marketing Association is pleased to announce the release of a new scholarship program. With the goal of investing in the next generation, the program is designed to award five $2,500 scholarships to individuals that are interested in or display knowledge of the importance of the agriculture industry and its supporting entities, with plans to use their career to advocate for or advance the livestock marketing industry.
“We are excited to launch this new scholarship program to encourage and recognize the next generation of leaders in our industry,” said LMA President Mark Barnett. “We are always looking for ways to get the younger generation involved, and I believe this is a step in the right direction.”
Applicants must be a graduating high school senior and/or currently enrolled at an accredited, postsecondary institution and maintain a GPA of 2.0 or higher. A letter of recommendation from an active LMA member must accompany the application at the time of submission. LMA members may not recommend more than two applicants for the LMA scholarship in the same academic year.
Applications will remain open until March 31 at 4 p.m. Following the deadline, scholarship applications will be reviewed by a panel of LMA leadership, LMA membership and allied-industry relations.
Click Here for more information on the LMA Scholarship Program.