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USDA/NASS Releases Census of Agriculture

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service announced this week the results of the 2022 Census of Agriculture, spanning more than 6 million data points about America’s farms and ranches and the people who operate them down to the county level.

The information collected directly from producers shows a continued decline in the total number of U.S. farms. However, the data also show a rise in the number of new and beginning (operating 10 or fewer years on any farm) as well as young (under the age of 35) producers. The full Census of Agriculture report, as well as publication dates for additional ag census data products, can be found at Ag census data can also be found in NASS’s searchable online database, Quick Stats.

“We are pleased to provide updated Census of Agriculture data to all those who serve U.S. agriculture, especially the producers who gave their time to complete the questionnaire. Census of Agriculture data tell a story. This comprehensive snapshot every five years helps data users to see trends and shifts in the industry over time and helps producers do business,” said NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer. “Overall, though there are always changes across U.S. agriculture, the data remain largely consistent with the previous ag census. Data users will also notice some new data on the topics of hemp, precision agriculture and internet access.”

The most recent census shows 88,853 farms with sheep or lamb inventory, as compared to 101,387 in the 2017 census.



Australian Market Off Slightly Despite Strong Finish

The Australian wool market fell again this series, although the downward slide was halted late in the week. The market opened softly, and by the end of the first day losses in fine Merino fleece types were the major factor in the overall market fall.

The individual Micron Price Guides for 18.5 micron and finer fell by between 15 and 59 cents. The AWEX Eastern Market Indicator dropped 8 cents for the day – the 12th consecutive selling day that the EMI did not manage an increase. The second day of selling was mixed, however buyer sentiment was stronger and increased as the day progressed.

In the East, the Merino fleece MPG movements ranged between plus 20 and minus 25 cents. While in the West – which sold last – there were positive movements across the board of between 4 and 16 cents. There was little change in the other sectors, so the overall movements were enough for the EMI to finally record an increase, albeit by the barest of margins. The 1-cent lift in the EMI was the first positive movement since Jan. 9, when the EMI added eight cents for the day.

The positive tone carried into the final day stand-alone Melbourne offering. The Southern MPGs all closed the day higher. The only blemish was the 21-micron MPG, which fell by a single cent. As it was only Melbourne contributing to the EMI, the 2-cent rise in the Southern Indicator was enough to push the EMI up by 1 cent for the second successive day. Strong interest in the oddment sector helped push prices higher for the third consecutive series.

Next week, the quantity is expected to rise again. There are currently 44,049 bales rostered for sale nationally with Melbourne again requiring three selling days.

Click Here for the Australian Wool Report Prices in US Dollars Per Pound.

Source: AWEX


Tax Loophole Keeps Foreign Prices Low

On Super Bowl Sunday, the e-commerce giant Temu flaunted its alluringly low prices in multiple ad spots during the game, encouraging customers to “shop like a billionaire.” Halsey Cook, the CEO of the South Carolina-based textile manufacturer Milliken & Company, was less than enthused.

For the past couple years, he’s been watching as products similar to Milliken’s apparel lines have popped up on Temu and Shein for shockingly low prices. Temu and Shein ship packages straight from Chinese warehouses on the cheap, allowing American consumers to buy fast fashion, electronics and other products for astonishingly low prices. American small businesses argue that these e-commerce juggernauts are threatening their livelihoods – and tell TIME that if their rise continues unabated, many shops will close and American warehouses will shutter their doors and move abroad.

In response to this worrying trend, several Congresspeople have drafted legislation that aims to reduce one of the main trading advantages Temu and Shein have: a trade rule known as de minimis that allows them to ship packages without paying duty and certain taxes as long as shipments are under the value of $800.

Click Here to read the full story.

Source: Time


MSU Hosting Virtual Workshop for Small Farms

Michigan State University plans to host a virtual workshop on Saturday, March 2, to address a variety of topics for the small to intermediate-sized sheep and/or goat farm; however, the topics often have greater interest to all producers. This series aims to inform and educate participants on health, nutrition, facilities, marketing, food safety, product quality (milk, meat, fiber) and more to help producers improve their management and marketing abilities.

Those interested in starting or expanding their operation, refining their farm goals, understanding their options, and/or improving their management will find value in attending this workshop. The MSU Small Ruminant Extension Team plus invited guest speakers will be presenting and available for questions.

Registration is required for this free event, and closes on March 1.Those who register will be sent an email prior to the event with the Zoom link as well as given access to recordings of all sessions soon after the event. If you have questions, please feel free to contact event manager Mike Metzger at metzgerm@msu.eduClick Here to register.

Source: MSU Extension


Shearing School Offered in California

The University of California Cooperative Extension shearing and wool classing school is scheduled for April 22-26 at the Dennis Pluth Ranch in Clearlake Oaks, Calif. Organizers are also considering adding an additional school on April 15-19, depending on demand.

Registration fees for the school are $850, and scholarships may be available for those who can’t afford the full fee.

Click Here for more information.

Source: UCCE


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.

Sec. Vilsack Testifies Before House Ag Committee

On Wednesday, the House Agriculture Committee held a lengthy hearing featuring testimony from U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. Members from both parties agreed on the importance of passing a bipartisan Farm Bill that supports American farmers and addresses current agricultural challenges.

Republicans focused on the struggles faced by farmers due to fractured supply chains, high input costs, inflation, natural disaster assistance, volatile markets and labor shortages. Democrats emphasized their Farm Bill priorities, which include reducing hunger, strengthening American farmers, investing in sustainable agriculture, revitalizing rural America, lowering costs for farmers and families, and improving equity. Other common topics discussed during the five-hour hearing included use of the Commodity Credit Corporation and Inflation Reduction Act funds, ramifications of California’s Prop 12, trade promotion initiatives like the Regional Agricultural Promotion Program, rollout of the most recent Emergency Relief Program for 2022 crop losses, fraud within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, forest management, and USDA direct and guaranteed loan programs.

Sec. Vilsack is expected to testify before Congress once more in front of the Senate Agriculture Committee on Feb. 28.

CBO Updates Forecasts for 2024-2034

The Congressional Budget Office recently released its 10-year budget and economic outlook, spanning from 2024 through 2034. The report provides insight into several areas of the government’s budget and spending habits, including cost breakdowns for federally mandated spending for programs such as SNAP and Title I commodity programs.

Due to stronger market price expectations, CBO estimates farm program costs to be lower during the next decade. CBO is projecting commodity programs like the Price Loss Coverage program will cost $28 billion in the next 10 years, whereas PLC was previously projected to cost $33.1 billion. A similar trend was shown in projections for the Agriculture Risk Coverage program at a cost of $15.6 billion during the same period, compared to ARC’s previous forecast of $28.4 billion. Both programs respond and trigger payments when market prices fall below certain reference prices which are set by the Farm Bill.

This report also forecasted payments from the Commodity Credit Corporation to increase by $5 billion over the 10-year period, but decreased its estimates for SNAP benefits, reflecting lower expected enrollment and benefits. If a new Farm Bill is not brought to the floor soon, these new CBO forecasts could alter the cost of writing a new Farm Bill as both the House and Senate Agriculture Committees have been using the May 2023 baseline estimates as the current cost basis for their respective draft bills.

The full CBO report can be found here.

House Ag Democrats Release FB Principles

Last week, the House Committee on Agriculture Ranking Member David Scott (Ga.) released a memo outlining the priorities which should be included in the next Farm Bill to garner support from the House Democratic Caucus. The memo outlines seven key principles: reducing hunger, strengthening America’s farmers, investing in sustainable agriculture, revitalizing rural America, lowering costs for farmers and families, improving equity and supporting renewable energy and bioenergy.

The memo also emphasizes that House Democrats will not support a Farm Bill which takes funding away from investments made through the Inflation Reduction Act nor restricts access to nutrition programs. It was released one day after House Agriculture Democrats met to receive an update on the Farm Bill. The memo can be found here.


Representatives Address Proposed EPA Rule

More than 40 members of Congress recently signed on to a letter to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan concerning the agency’s proposed rulemaking published in the Federal Register on Nov. 17, 2023, entitled Potential Future Regulation for Emergency Release Notification Requirements for Animal Waste Air Emissions Under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act.

“We appreciate that EPA is not currently proposing a rule to require air emission reporting of certain substances from the natural breakdown of animal manure under EPCRA, and we strongly encourage EPA to refrain from considering any such rule in the future. Farmers and ranchers across our nation are good stewards of the land and have worked tirelessly to develop new practices on their farms to address environmental concerns,” read the letter to Regan.

“We know that some believe that the EPCRA reporting rule is a wise use of EPA’s time and resources; we disagree. Mandating producers report air emissions from manure hinders EPA’s ability to address genuine emergency releases. This imposition results in extensive paperwork backlogs, diverting resources away from addressing actual emergencies. Furthermore, local and state emergency response authorities have also expressed that receiving manure air emission reports is of no particular value.

“On a related note, farmers also play a leading role in helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and have been engaged on many renewable energy projects. Notably, the U.S. agriculture sector is the nation’s lowest emitting economic sector, showcasing a remarkable decrease in per-unit livestock emissions over the past 70 years — 21 percent in pork, 26 percent in milk, and 11 percent in beef. While we understand the need to reduce GHG emissions, requiring the reporting of air emissions from family farms in the future would put an unnecessary and unjustifiable burden on our nation’s agricultural producers. Instead, it is the role of the government to continue providing producers with the tools we know work: voluntary, incentive-based, and locally led conservation programs.

“The simple fact remains that if reporting were required, farmers and ranchers would utilize publicly available average emissions factors generated by the Land Grant University or other public entity to estimate their emissions. To that end, farmer and rancher data would be no more valuable than the data that can be generated by anyone in the community.”

Source: Rep. Nick Langworthy (N.Y.)


Wyoming Seeks Meat Lab Manager

The Department of Animal Science at the University of Wyoming is seeking candidates for the position of meat laboratory manager. This full-time position will train and supervise eight to 12 part-time undergraduate student employees to collectively support research, teaching, extension and meat judging outreach activities.

Responsibilities include but are not limited to: stunning and harvest procedures for beef, pork and lamb; carcass fabrication and meat processing; executing HACCP, SSOP, SOP and GMP procedures; performing equipment assembly/maintenance and budget management; assisting with fabrication/activities associated with the meat judging program; and assisting with data collection/research projects.

An earned bachelor’s degree in animal science, meat science, or a closely related field with concurrent or subsequent training/experience in a meat laboratory/meat processing plant is required. Candidates with an interest in supporting teaching, extension, research and meat judging activities are preferred.

Click Here for more information.

Source: University of Wyoming


Fibershed Hiring Healthy Soils Manager

Fibershed’s Climate Beneficial Agriculture Program is looking to hire a climate beneficial healthy soils project manager in Northern California.

The position will manage Fibershed’s California Department of Food and Agriculture Healthy Soils Program Block Grant, administering $5 million of funding to support the transition to sustainable and climate-resilient farming practices in California’s agricultural communities. This position will be dedicated to the successful planning, design and implementation of carbon farming conservation projects across 30 to 40 fiber (wool and cotton) producing farms and ranches.

This position will involve working collaboratively with farmers, ranchers, local Resource Conservation Districts, partnering organizations and Fibershed staff to ensure the effective execution of grant deliverables, including on farm project development, material sourcing support, administration for funding distribution and financial tracking. A selection of producers will also be receiving practice implementation funding from Fibershed’s USDA Climate Smart Commodity Grant, and for producers who are receiving funding from both grants, this role will work closely with Fibershed’s Climate Beneficial Technician to ensure project development and funding distribution are coordinated.

Interested candidates should submit their resume, cover letter, and contact information for three references to

Source: Fibershed


Date Night Lamb Featured Online

As the American Lamb Board seeks new partnerships to promote the benefits of American lamb, partnering with America’s largest online cooking school – Homemade – makes sense. Founded in 2020 by nationally recognized Chef Joel Gamoran, Homemade got its start during Covid with free online live cooking classes for home cooks. The success of the online classes led to a live cooking show on PBS and a brand-new culinary studio in Seattle, where high-quality content is created including recipes, photography and videos.

Gamoran stands out as a versatile culinary powerhouse, seamlessly blending live shows, interactive cooking classes and captivating social media content. This is a dynamic combination for promoting American lamb and ALB’s new sponsorship includes integration in all three. A long-term partnership between ALB and Homemade includes monthly online classes, appearances on three episodes of Homemade Live – the site’s PBS television show (reaches 2.5 million impressions per episode) – and four new recipes with photos and videos each month for use on the American lamb consumer website and social media channels.

The partnership kicked off this week with the first live online American lamb cooking class, Date Night Lamb Chops, on Feb. 12, and is now available on demand at  The class had more than 500 registered attendees, and the total views are expected to be more than 300,000. Homemade has more than 120,000 foodie consumers subscribed to the newsletter.

Source: ALB

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