Nominate Now for ASI’s Councils/Committees
Sheep producers and others affiliated with the industry who might be interested in serving on an American Sheep Industry Association council or committee should contact their state sheep association executive. State sheep associations are eligible to nominate volunteers for these positions.
All council and committee memberships are volunteer positions and generally involve at least one video/conference call during the year with a face-to-face meeting during the ASI Annual Convention in January. The Wool Council conducts several calls and meetings during the year to fulfill the requirements of the American Wool Trust. However, there is travel expense assistance for Wool Council members. Legislative Council members are encouraged to participate in the ASI Spring Trip to Washington, D.C.
As demonstrated at the ASI Annual Convention last month, the councils and committees are instrumental in working for our industry. For more detailed descriptions of issues and programs for each council and committee, please visit SheepUSA.org. Councils include the: Wool Council; Lamb Council; Legislative Action Council; Production, Education and Research Council (and its Animal Health and Genetic Stakeholders committees); and the Resource Management Council (and its Predator Management and Public Lands committees).
Nominations of younger producers (ages 20 to 40) are highly encouraged as the ASI Executive Board would like to include at least one such applicant on each council and committee.
The ASI Executive Board will meet in late March during the ASI Spring Trip to Washington, D.C., to determine the 2023 slate of councils and committees. Nominations should be submitted to Chris Jones at email@example.com by March 10. They can also be mailed to ASI, 9785 Maroon Circle, Suite 360, Englewood, CO 80112 or faxed to 303-771-8200.
Market Report Offers Insight for Lamb Producers
The American Lamb Board and the American Sheep Industry Association provide monthly market reports aimed at delivering timely and useful information for American lamb producers. The recently released January report summarizes USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service annual sheep inventory report and provides insight on lamb imports, market values and retail lamb prices.
Smaller U.S. Lamb Flock
The American lamb flock is smaller going into 2023, although live lamb prices have strengthened. Wholesale values continue to adjust and are anticipated to move higher but will rely on consumer demand recovering. Production costs remain high. Moderating inflation and improving supply chains are still concerning. Cold storage inventories at the end of 2022 were above year ago levels.
Sheep Inventory Lowest on Record
The American sheep and lamb inventory totaled 5.02 million head as of Jan. 1, which is 45,000 head below last year and the lowest on record. The number of breeding sheep was 3.67 million head, down 1 percent from 2022. There were 635,000 head of replacement ewes, equal to 22 percent of the ewe flock. There is a bright spot, though – market lambs were 3,000 head higher than a year ago, at 1.28 million head. Fewer ewes meant a 2-percent decline in the 2022 lamb crop to 3.11 million head, another record low.
Largest Slaughter Lamb Imports in 20 Years
Imports of Canadian slaughter sheep were around 31,500 head in 2022, based on weekly data from USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service. This is the largest number of slaughter imports in 20 years and 4,000 more head than 2021. Five domestic processing plants are approved to accept slaughter sheep from Canada, with four of them in the eastern United States. Slaughter imports are driven by smaller domestic supply and demand growth in the ethnic market.
At the 2022 American Lamb Summit – sponsored by ALB and Premier 1 Supplies – Nick Forrest, Forrest Family Farm, spoke on how the US Lamb Industry can increase its competitiveness and recapture market share from imports.
Lightweight Lambs Selling Higher
In January, feeder lambs sold on video markets ranged from the mid-$130/cwt. to $160/cwt., with lighter-weight lambs selling for a higher price. Auction markets serving the ethnic market sold lightweight lambs at more than $200/cwt. Since November 2022, the National Negotiated Live Slaughter Lamb has been trending upward, but prices are still about $1 per pound lower than a year ago and 17 percent lower than two years ago.
Wholesale lamb values were lower in January compared to 2022, but still well above values from 2021 and 2020. All major cuts were down from 2022, with the largest price declines seen in the shoulder (down 26 percent per pound), leg (down 25 percent per pound), and loin (down 24 percent per pound). Costs for processing and packing increased during the past year to $77/cwt., up $15/cwt. from last year.
The Livestock Marketing Information Center is forecasting live lamb prices to improve as 2023 continues, anticipating prices above a year ago later in 2023.
Retail Lamb Prices Remain High
“During this past tough year, ALB worked to support our loyal American lamb retail and foodservice customers and invest in programs and strategies that can strengthen our long-term competitiveness,” said ALB Chairman Peter Camino. “Making American lamb the preferred choice of consumers, chefs and retailers is at the core of your American Lamb Checkoff’s promotion, information and research programs.”
That focus is evident in the ambitious 2023 strategic plan, including increasing demand for American lamb by 5 percent and taking 5 percent market share from lamb imports by the end of 2028.
ALB is an industry-funded national research, promotion and information checkoff program that works on behalf of all American commercial and seedstock producers, feeders, direct marketers and processors to build awareness and demand for American lamb. Funding is through mandatory assessments paid by all industry segments. The board is appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture and represents all industry sectors, geographic regions and sizes of production. The work of ALB is overseen by USDA and supported by staff in Denver.
ALB’s annual budget averages about $2.5 million. Almost two-thirds of funds are devoted to American lamb promotion. By law, the board’s expenditures for administration are limited to 10 percent or less of projected revenues. The board was established in 2002.
Click Here for more information.
Large Quantities Lead to Dip in Australian Market
A solid market since early December – five out of six auctions were dearer, including consecutive gains in the preceding fortnight – encouraged sellers into the market and pushed this week’s national quantity to 57,196 bales. It was the largest offering in almost three years. Included in that quantity were more than 5,000 bales sourced from Tasmania as part of a designated Tasmanian feature sale.
The market took a lead from the closing day in the previous series where there was a 3-cent dip in the AWEX Eastern Market Indicator. Prices were noticeably cheaper from the outset on Tuesday and sent the Merino Micron Price Guides as much as 92 cents lower. Stylish types from Tasmania were one of the few highlights and managed to lift the 16.5 MPG higher – the only Merino MPG to record a positive result.
As with the previous sale, the market settled on the second day as prices for Merino fleece MPG’s ranged between -12 and +25 cents and the EMI fell by only 2 cents. Melbourne was again operating in isolation on the final day and the market generally maintained the price levels of the previous day. Stylish types continued to be keenly sought and contributed to a modest 1-cent dip in the AWEX-EMI. Crossbreds were the best performing sector in this series. Strong, widespread competition helped push prices 5 to 15 cents higher across most microns, although heavy discounting remained evident for poorly prepared lots. The crossbred MPGs limited the losses in the AWEX-EMI to only 26 cents.
Despite the falls of this series, next week’s national offering is also forecast to be high. There are currently 57,321 bales expected to be offered. Combined with this week, that will make it the largest fortnight of sales in 12 years.
Click Here for the Full Australian Wool Market Report
Idaho Festival Seeks Poster Art
The Trailing of the Sheep Festival is seeking artists’ submissions for the image for the 2023 festival poster.
The selected artwork will serve as the official art for the poster for the 2023 Trailing of the Sheep Festival and might also be used for merchandise and marketing purposes. Artwork must include sheep and can feature photographs, collages, pastels, watercolors or oil paintings. All submissions are welcome and can include a preliminary sketch. Photographers, graphic artists and others working in the arts are encouraged to submit their work.
The poster is intended to become a collectors’ item and an annual souvenir. They will be available for sale during the festival, Oct. 4-8. The chosen artist will receive an honorarium of $300.
Submissions are due by April 15 and should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: Trailing of the Sheep
Respond Now to the 2022 Census of Agriculture
Farmers and ranchers still have time to be counted in the 2022 Census of Agriculture, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Although the deadline for submitting the ag census has just passed, NASS will continue to accept completed census questionnaires through the spring to ensure all farmers and ranchers take advantage of the opportunity to be represented in the widely used data.
“We thank everyone who has completed their census to date. Since data collection began last fall, over a million ag census recipients across the country have returned their questionnaires, ensuring their operations and communities are represented,” said NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer. “We want all producers to use their voices to help shape the future of American agriculture. Census data inform decisions about policy, farm and conservation programs, infrastructure and rural development, research, education and more. The stronger the response, the stronger the data. It’s not too late for farmers to be heard through the ag census, which occurs only once every five years.”
NASS will continue to follow up with producers through the spring with mailings, phone calls and personal visits. Farmers and ranchers are encouraged to complete their ag census either online at agcounts.usda.gov or by mail as soon as possible. The online questionnaire is accessible on desktops, laptops and other mobile devices.
Federal law under Title 7 USC 2204(g) Public Law 105-113 mandates that everyone who received the 2022 Census of Agriculture questionnaire complete and return it, even if they are not currently farming. The same law requires NASS to keep all submissions confidential, use the information for statistical purposes only, and publish aggregate data to prevent disclosing the identity of any individual producer or farm operation.
NASS will release the results of the ag census in early 2024. To learn more about the Census of Agriculture, visit nass.usda.gov/AgCensus. On the website, producers and other data users can access frequently asked questions, past ag census data, special study information and more. For highlights of these and the latest information, follow USDA NASS on Twitter at @usda_nass.
Mich. State Plans Small Farms Webinar
The Michigan State University Small Ruminant Team will be hosting its annual Sheep and Goats for Small Farms Day on March 11 from noon to 4 p.m eastern time. The event offers a variety of great speakers and topics this year, including a panel discussion on vet client patient relationships and a general question and answer session at the end.
This annual workshop addresses a variety of topics for the small to intermediate sized sheep and/or goat farms; however, the topics often have greater interest to all producers. This series aims to inform and educate 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 operations, 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 and invited guest speakers will be presenting and available for questions.
Registration is free for this virtual-only event and participants should register by March 10. Sessions will be recorded and sent to all registrants soon after the event.
Click Here to register.
Registration Open for Estes Park Wool Market
The Estes Park (Colo.) Wool Market is scheduled for June 10-11, with two days of workshops proceeding the market’s open to the public days at the Estes Park Events Complex.
Registration is now open for all workshops on June 8-9. Participation is limited, so early registration is recommended. Half-day classes are $75, full-day classes are $115 and two-day classes are $230. Other fees may apply depending on the course. All workshops will take place at Estes Park High School.
The mission of the Estes Park Wool Market is to bring together natural animal fiber producers, educators, retailers and consumers for the benefit of the industry.
Click Here for more information.
Source: Estes Park Wool Market