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Shearer-Mentor Grants Awarded

The American Sheep Industry Association’s Wool Council has selected seven shearers and three mentors to receive $1,500 grants as part of an initiative to develop beginner and intermediate shearers and encourage them to remain in the industry.

Shearers who received grants and the states they work in include:

  • Miles Thompson – Kentucky, Tennessee and Indiana
  • Nicole Tomlin – Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and Nevada
  • Phoebe Smith – Oregon, Wyoming, Colorado and Idaho
  • Luke Thompson – South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska and Wyoming
  • Katheryn Carson – Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, New York and Minnesota
  • Carlin Briner – Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota, Washington and Oregon
  • Walter Wright – Michigan and South Dakota

Shearers will receive $500 at the start of the program to help purchase equipment and supplement their income while further developing their skills. To complete the program, they will work with a mentor shearer and eventually submit a written summary and videos to show the progress they’ve made. At that time, they’ll receive the remaining $1,000.

Three of the mentors working with the developing shearers were also selected to receive $1,500 grants as part of the program. The mentor recipients are Anthony Steinfeldt, Mike Cowdrey and Gwen Hinman. Four other mentors are also working to help the developing shearers learn the trade. They are Doug Rathke, Loren Opstedahl, Alex Moser and Timothy Wright.

While there were funds available for just 10 total grants, the Wool Council received applications from 20 developing shearers and 15 mentors. A select committee of Wool Council members selected developing shearers that they felt were most likely to remain in the industry as full-time shearers and who could use the most assistance.


Court Overturns Delisting of Gray Wolves

On Thursday, Judge Jeffrey S. White for the Northern District of California issued the court’s opinion overturning the delisting of the gray wolf.

In his decision, Judge White agreed with the plaintiffs – Defenders of Wildlife and others – that the Department of Interior’s National Fish and Wildlife Service did not adequately analyze the impact of a delisting on gray wolves across the lower 48 states and instead focused its decision on population numbers and recovery goals in only core population segments. Essentially, the court concluded that looking at key wolf populations in the Great Lakes and Northern Rocky Mountain regions did not consider threats to wolf populations in other states.

Additionally, the court rejected the Fish and Wildlife Service’s assessment that the gray wolf does not meet the definition of a “species” as defined in the 1978 amendment to the Endangered Species Act, which adds additional challenges to delisting efforts for any listing prior to the amendment.

“This is an unfortunate decision, not just for the American sheep industry, but also for the future of the Endangered Species Act,” said Chase Adams of the American Sheep Industry Association. “After years of unsuccessful attempts to delist the gray wolf based on legal challenges, over successive administrations, the department and the service made their most compelling case. The recovery of the gray wolf is clearly an ESA success story, but this decision indicates that any delisting on the basis of recovery under the ESA is nearly an impossibility.”

ASI, along with the American Farm Bureau, Public Lands Council, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the American Forest Resource Council, submitted an amicus brief in support of the delisting and sought to intervene in the case as defendants.


Research Update Podcast: Genomic EBVs

Dr. Ron Lewis of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Lynn Fahrmeier of the National Sheep Improvement Program join this month’s ASI Research Update podcast to discuss Genomic EBVs in U.S. Sheep Flocks.

Click Here to listen to the podcast.


ASI Receives Foreign Ag Service Funding

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service recently announced the agricultural organizations that are recipients of Fiscal Year 2022 funding for the Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development program.

The American Sheep Industry Association has once again been granted funding through each of these programs. The awards include $546,756 for MAP and $150,879 for FMD. Additionally, ASI cooperates with the Quality Samples Program, which has been key in assisting new customers to try American wool.

“This is extremely important funding for the American wool industry as it continues to explore and develop export markets. The programs are key to advance purchases with existing overseas customers and vital when investigating markets that are either high-risk or developing,” said Rita Samuelson, ASI’s deputy director.

The MAP program shares the costs of overseas marketing and promotional activities that help build commercial export markets for U.S. agricultural products and commodities. ASI uses this funding for projects such as branding programs, promotion, trade missions, reverse-trade missions, first-stage processing trials and trade show participation.

The FMD program focuses on trade servicing and trade capacity building by helping to create, expand and maintain long-term export markets for U.S. products. This supports other FAS programs – such as QSP, which enables the wool industry to provide samples of American wool. These samples help a foreign customer learn about and try American wool and have been a key program in developing long-term customers who have purchased millions of pounds of American wool.

These programs are open to all. ASI does not discriminate based on race, religion, national origin, age, sex (including gender identity and expression), sexual orientation, disability, marital or familial status, political beliefs, parental status, receipt of public assistance, or protected genetic information.


EAPK Introduces Producer Forum

Sharing experiences is the hallmark of education. In this new producer forum, four experienced Eastern Alliance for Production Katahdins members enrolled in the National Sheep Improvement Program – and from diverse areas of the United States – answer questions and share their knowledge and insights into shepherding.

In a series of interviews, Lynn Fahrmeier (Fahrmeier Kathadins, Western Missouri), Michelle Canfield (Canfield Farms, Western Washington), Roxanne Newton (Hound River Farm, South Georgia), and Etienne and Isabel Richards (Gibraltar Farm, Central New York) describe their operations, unique challenges, and what traits and qualities best fit their goals, management systems and environments.

The interviews will continue throughout the year with additional questions. In 2023, a new series will begin, allowing four different producers to share their experiences.

Click Here to read the blog post.

Source: EAPK


Australian Market Suffers First Drop of 2022

After four weeks of consecutive rises to start the 2022 calendar year, the Australian wool market failed to continue its upward run and recorded overall losses this series. The recent rises encouraged more sellers to the market, pushing the national offering higher. The 46,359 bales on offer this week were 5,868 more than in the previous week.

Compared to recent weeks, the offering failed to attract the same level of buyer support, resulting in price reductions across nearly all Merino fleece microns. By the end of the series, the individual Micron Price Guides for 17 through to 22 micron fleece had fallen by between 5 and 88 cents. These falls combined with losses in the skirting and crossbred sectors, pushed the AWEX Eastern Market Indicator down by 27 cents for the series. The EMI closed the week at 1,422 Australian cents.

Understandably, the drop in prices pushed the passed-in rate higher, as sellers were reluctant to accept the lower prices on offer. By the end of the series, the overall passed-in rate was 17.4 percent – up 10.5 percent from the previous week.

The first specialty Superfine Sale of the year was held in Sydney this week, although there was a quality superfine selection in all three centers. The highest prices achieved were 6,600 cents for a 13 micron fleece line in Melbourne, 5,700 cents for a 13.3 micron fleece line in Sydney, and in Fremantle a line of 12.2 micron fleece wool sold for 5,400 cents. The oddments were the only sector to record an overall rise this week. The three Merino Carding Indicators rose by an average of 10 cents.

Next week’s offering climbs again as 55,802 bales are currently expected to be offered in Sydney, Fremantle and Melbourne – which hosts a Tasmanian Feature Sale, consisting of 6,310 bales.

Source: AWEX


ALB Study Evaluating Industry’s Carbon Footprint

The American Lamb Board is working with Michigan State University to evaluate the environmental footprint of the American sheep industry in order to have accurate and robust data to contribute to this important issue.

The initial focus of the study defines a comprehensive model of greenhouse gas emissions for the diverse array of American sheep production systems such as range, farm flock, pasture, intensive and feedlot. MSU will conduct a partial life cycle analysis of lamb production in these types of operations to quantify GHG emissions.

Environmental concerns about livestock production have gained traction and the American lamb industry entered the spotlight when a 2011 Environmental Working Group Study characterized lamb as one of the largest contributors of GHG emissions. The study’s outcomes are still cited at influential conferences and in the media.

“It is extremely important for our industry to identify and evaluate our role in GHG emissions,” said ALB Chairman Peter Comino of Buffalo, Wyo. “Accurate data is the basis for improvement strategies and providing factual information to consumers and the media.”

At the recent American Sheep Industry Association Annual Convention in San Diego, Dr. Richard Ehrhardt provided an informative presentation updating the industry on the progress of the study. MSU has collected the data and will now work on defining environmental improvement strategies that are the most feasible and impactful for sheep producers to implement according to their particular production system.

A blueprint for producer education strategies to address these priorities will wrap up the project. For a copy of Ehrhardt’s presentation, email

Source: ALB


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