Image of sheep


SSWS Plan Videos Now Available

The American Sheep Industry Association released two videos this week that demonstrate how the association’s Secure Sheep and Wool Supply Plan can be implemented at a lamb packing plant and a lamb feedlot.

Participants on one of the industry tours during the 2024 ASI Annual Convention in Denver got a first-hand look at both Superior Farms and Harper Feeders, as well as their use of the SSWS Plan for continuity of business in the face of a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in the United States.

The plant and the feedlot worked with the Colorado Department of Agriculture and Preventalytics to develop an SSWS business continuity plan. To ASI’s knowledge, Superior Farms was the first packing plant and Harper Feeders was the first lamb feedlot in Colorado to get their Enhanced Biosecurity Plans reviewed and deemed acceptable. They were also the first in the United States to achieve these accolades.

FMD is an easily spread virus that causes blisters on feet and in the mouth of animals with divided hooves, such as sheep, cattle, pigs, goats and deer. It does not make people sick. It is not a food safety risk. Meat is safe to eat.

Funding for the videos was made possible from a grant provided to ASI from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program.

Click Here to learn more about the SSWS Plan.


Australian Wool Market Unchanged This Week

The Australian wool market recorded an overall unchanged result this week after five consecutive selling series of losses. Price movements varied across wool types, micron groups and selling centers.

The overall trend in the Merino fleece sector was a softening in the finer microns – 18.5 micron and finer – and a firm to dearer market in the medium to broad sector – 19 micron and coarser. Across all regions, the movements in the individual Micron Price Guides for Merino fleece, ranged between plus 14 and minus 29 cents. Once again, 17 micron fell this week. The East Coast 17 MPG average is now 196 cents lower than the start of January. The crossbreds eased slightly overall with the finer and coarser edges of the crossbred market most affected.

The AWEX Eastern Market Indicator gained two cents on the first selling day, increasing its run of daily rises to three. On the second selling day, the EMI gave back the two cents it gained. Thursday was an unusual New Zealand-only offering – the first time this has occurred in more than four years. The 4,554 bales on offer was the largest New Zealand offering since 2007.

As there was no Australian wool offered, all MPG and EMI movements were unchanged (in Australian dollar terms), as New Zealand wool does not contribute to these indicators. When viewed in USD terms, the EMI movements have been more positive. After halting a seven selling day downward slide on the final day last week, the EMI added 4 and 6 cents across the first two selling days. Currency movement alone lowered it by 1 cent on the third. The USD EMI closed the week 8 cents higher at 759 U.S. cents.

Next week, quantity is expected to be of a similar size. There are currently 40,168 bales rostered for sale nationally over two days, with Sydney a designated Superfine sale.

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

Source: AWEX


ALB Report Offers Snapshot of Lamb Market

While last year saw the smallest lamb crop on record with just 3.03 million head, there were also some bright spots related to lamb imports and pricing, according to the 2023 Sheep Industry Review, a checkoff-funded report commissioned by the American Lamb Board and compiled by the American Sheep Industry Association.

Here’s a summary of some key findings in the report:

Smaller Inventory
Looking back at inventory levels in 2023 revealed a continued decline in sheep inventories across the board. Breeding sheep declined by 2 percent to 3.67 million head, market lambs were down 24,000 head to 1.28 million head, and the total lamb crop was down to 3.03 million head, the smallest on record.

Feedlot supplies were also down last year. This was due to smaller lamb crops, a larger number of lambs marketed as lightweight slaughter lambs and higher feed costs. On average, the number of lambs on feed from January to October 2023 was 34 percent lower than in 2022. Despite the reduced numbers, feedlots saw a bright spot when lamb feeding returns turned positive in June 2023 after reporting losses for 15 consecutive months.

Declining Imports
In response to consumer demand and lower lamb prices, there was a significant decline in lamb and mutton imports last year. Total lamb and mutton imports were down 21 percent to 284.3 million pounds.

Imports from Australia were down 14 percent and imports from New Zealand were down 10 percent, with more Australian lamb finding its way to China and the Middle East.

Prices Remain Stable
While retail lamb prices declined in 2023, they were still high compared to pre-pandemic levels. On average, prices were 4 percent lower than in 2022 but $2 per pound higher than in 2020. Slaughter lamb prices also decreased last year. While prices were down 2.3 percent in 2023, they remained stronger than in 2020. Prices were supported by a solid second half of the year, where lamb supplies adjusted to demand.

Optimistic Outlook for 2024
Looking ahead to 2024 is optimistic. The opportunity for improved producer margins is supported by forecasted strong live lamb prices and reduced feeding costs. Feeder and lamb prices are also projected to strengthen in the coming year.

The industry will still face significant challenges in 2024, with declining flock numbers and a projected decline in lamb production. In addition, consumers will continue to face high food prices. Ultimately, consumer demand will drive lamb pricing for the remainder of this year.

Get the Details
These are just a few highlights from the 2023 Sheep Industry Review.

Click Here to download the online report to learn more about inventories, imports, lamb prices and more.

Source: ALB


NGLC Seeking Presentation Proposals

The National Grazing Lands Coalition is accepting proposals from those who might be interested in presenting at the National Grazing Lands Conference on Dec. 4-6 in Tucson, Ariz.

The 2024 conference theme is Expanding Grazing Horizons, which was selected to honor the work that has already been done, while encouraging progress to further care for and sustain grazing lands. Preference will be given to proposals that align with one or more of the conference priorities, including: financial impacts and business continuity; innovation; land health; marketing; best practices; and policy.

Proposals can be submitted at and those interested can learn more at

Source: NGLC


Illinois Schedules Sheep Day & Meeting

The Illinois Lamb and Wool Producers are planning a sheep day and annual meeting for March 2 at the University of Illinois Animal Science Building in Urbana, Ill.

The morning will include a variety of speakers, including: Dr. Scott Bowdridge from West Virginia; Phil Lehman of United Producers; Megan Huelsman from the university’s meat lab; Megan Torrance from Purina; and American Sheep Industry Association Executive Board Region III Representative Anne Crider.

Lunch will be served prior to meetings of the association and the Illinois Sheep and Wool Marketing Board.

The program is open to all Illinois lamb and wool producers as an educational opportunity for anyone in the sheep and related agribusiness industries. A silent auction will also be conducted to contribute to the state’s Make It Wool Contest.

Registration for the event begins onsite at 8:15 a.m. To RSVP, email Carol Lingley at or call 618-292-1674.

Source: ILWP


Suffolk Association Offers Opportunities

The United Suffolk Sheep Foundation is offering a couple of opportunities for youth (ages 8 to 17) and young (ages 21 to 40) producers. These include the Suffolk Ewe Grant Program and the Young Producer Suffolk Event Travel Grant.

The ewe grant provides financial assistance to children ages 8 to 17 (as of Jan. 1) to purchase a registered Suffolk ewe for the purposes of starting a Suffolk flock. The applicants cannot already own a registered Suffolk and must agree to show the ewe in at least one show. Applicants must also match the foundation’s first $250 toward the purchase and buy the ewe from a United Suffolk Sheep Association member. The foundation will contribute up to $1,000 toward the purchase.

Click Here for more information.

The foundation is also offering up to four travel grants for young producers to attend the 2024 Suffolk Event in Springfield, Ill., on June 7-9. The deadline to apply is March 10.

The grant reimbursement will cover registration for the event, up to three night’s lodging and travel expenses (airfare or mileage). The maximum award for each grant is $750.

Click Here to learn more and apply.

In addition, the United Suffolk Sheep Association has created a new intern position and is also looking for a junior coordinator. The deadline to apply for either position is March 1.

Click Here for more information.


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.

NASS Releases Census of Agriculture

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service released the 2022 Census of Agriculture data this month. The Census of Agriculture – released every five years – provides a comprehensive look at farming and ranching in each state and county.

The latest data shows a 7-percent decrease in the number of farms between 2017 and 2022 and a 5-percent increase in average farm size during the same period. It found that total farmland in the United States decreased by 2 percent from 2017. In addition, the data showed that U.S. farms and ranches produced $543 billion in agricultural products in 2022 – an increase of $154 billion (39.5 percent) from 2017. It also showed that operating costs increased by 30 percent since 2017.

After the release, Sec. Tom Vilsack issued a statement calling the report a “wake-up call,” noting the need to support small- and mid-sized producers. NASS will release Census of Agriculture data products in the coming months. More information on the Census of Agriculture can be found here.

USDA Launches Working Lands Climate Corps

Last week, USDA announced the launch of the Working Lands Climate Corps initiative to train the next generation of conservation and climate leaders. This program will provide young people with technical training and career pathways in climate-smart agriculture, supporting the economic benefits for farmers and ranchers.

The initiative will kick off with more than 100 young participants and is in partnership with AmeriCorps, The Corps Network and the National Association of Conservation Districts. The program is designed to address the urgent challenges of climate change in agricultural communities, promoting sustainable farming practices and soil health restoration. It includes mentorship, on-the-job training and education awards, focusing on outreach and the adoption of climate-smart agriculture practices.

The Corps Network and NACD will provide additional support and training, with webinars scheduled for interested organizations. Interested parties can learn more and submit proposals here. The deadline for proposal applications is March 8.


Skip to content