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ASI Research Update Podcast: Mycoplasma Ovipneumoniae

This month’s ASI Research Update podcast tackles a research topic – Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae – that carries more of a social and political component than any topic previously discussed on the podcast.

“Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae is a pathogen that poses a serious threat to sheep of many kinds, including wild bighorns in the American West,” said podcast host Jake Thorne of Texas A&M AgriLife. “Now, a quick internet search on this topic will probably bring about an abundance of information – some legitimate and some just conjecture – but sorting fact from fiction about Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae can be tricky to say the least. Fortunately, our guest today has been on the front lines of research trying to uncover the truths behind the disease and the complicated nature of pathogen transmission between domesticated and undomesticated species.”

Dr. Maggie Highland of the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory has an extensive history of researching the disease dating back to her days in working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Pullman, Wash., more than a decade ago while completing her Ph.D. There were disease outbreaks among bighorns in multiple states around that time.

“It was about 2008 that Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae started being mentioned as a primary agent of bighorn sheep pneumonia in the West,” Highland said. “But that’s not when bighorn sheep pneumonia in the West started. The first talks of disease in bighorn sheep on the mountains, they were overhunted by European settlement to start with so the population declined. They don’t talk about a coughing syndrome really in them until the 40s. So, I don’t know what changed. The 1940s was when we first started seeing documentation of the coughing syndrome.”

Click Here to listen to the podcast.


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 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 by March 10. They can also be mailed to ASI, 9785 Maroon Circle, Suite 360, Englewood, CO 80112 or faxed to 303-771-8200.


Attention Shearers and Wool Pool Coordinators

The American Sheep Industry Association works to keep the heavily used Shearer Directory and Wool Pool page at up to date. If you are a shearer or wool pool coordinator, please review your listings and contact with updates or additions.

Click Here for the listings.


Wyoming Sale Postponed to Tuesday

The Wyoming Select Bred Ewe Sale has been postponed until Tuesday. The sale was originally scheduled for Saturday, but organizers decided a postponement was necessary due to recent weather conditions.

“With the winter weather that affected much of the West these past few days, we made the decision to postpone the WY Select Bred Ewe Sale to Tuesday (Feb. 28) at 1 pm,” read a post on the Wyoming Wool Growers Association’s Facebook page.  “We apologize for any inconvenience, but want everyone/everything to be as safe as possible out there. We hope to see you all this coming Tuesday.”

Contact Alison Crane at for details.

Source: Wyoming Wool Growers Association


Australian Wool Market Slides for Second Straight Week

The Australian wool market recorded a second successive overall loss this week, although there were positive signs toward the end of the series.

After 3.9 percent of the original offering was withdrawn prior to sale, the national total was not as large as initially forecast. There were 53,060 bales on offer – 4,136 bales fewer than the previous series. The total amount offered this season continues to track above the previous season as there have been 24,176 more bales offered for an increase of 2.1 percent.

The offering received solid buyer support for the duration of the series and the prices achieved did not fluctuate greatly. By the end of the series, the movements in the individual Micron Price Guides varied within micron groups and centers. In the Merino fleece, the MPGs ranged between +7 and -39 cents. The largest falls were felt in Melbourne, which recorded rises on the final selling day last week, where only Melbourne was in operation. The crossbred selection attracted good widespread competition and was the best performing sector for the week, as the MPGs ranged between fully firm (no MPG movement) and +8 cents. The AWEX Eastern Market Indicator fell by 10 cents for the series, closing at 1,364 Australian cents.

Although there has been more wool offered this season, the total dollar amount of wool sold is currently slightly below the corresponding sale of last season, due in part to the lower prices being achieved. There has so far been $1,557 million of wool sold, compared to $1,571 million at the corresponding sale last season.

The national offering continues to remain high, with another sale above 50,000 bales forecast. There are currently 53,200 bales expected to be offered next week in Melbourne, Fremantle and Sydney, which will sell in an unusual pattern of Wednesday and Thursday.

Click Here for the Full Australian Wool Market Report.

Source: AWEX


NLFA Leadership School Applications Due April 1

The American Lamb Board is thrilled to sponsor the 36th Annual National Lamb Feeders Association Howard Wyman Leadership School. The deadline to apply is April 1. This year’s event is scheduled for July 9-13 in Columbus, Ohio. Participants will explore the Ohio sheep industry, visiting several lamb producers, feedlots and barns; live processing, ultrasound and discussions about lamb round out the agenda.

The five-day program offers great information and is designed to highlight a cross-section of the sheep industry, especially for up-and-coming industry leaders.

The school is named for NLFA organizer Howard Wyman and emphasizes the feeding, marketing, harvesting and merchandising of lamb and lamb products.

“The Howard Wyman Leadership School is a great way for young producers to gain valuable production information and to meet other producers, feeders and industry specialists,” says ALB Chairman Peter Camino.

Attendees must be at least 20 years of age. The $250 fee covers lodging, meals and tour expenses. Some individual transportation will be required. Application is free, with the fee due upon acceptance.

The application for this year’s school is available on the NLFA website.

Source: ALB


Animal Ag Alliance Hosts Stakeholders Summit

How can we create a sustainable future for animal agriculture? By building it together. And the 2023 Animal Agriculture Alliance’s Stakeholders Summit is your opportunity to help take the incredible progress we’ve already made to new heights.

It’s your best chance to partner with stakeholders throughout the food chain and across commodities. To share ideas and form connections that will elevate the farm and food communities in ways that lift everyone. To collaborate toward vital progress. And to learn how you can do your part to help protect, sustain and advance our entire community. So, wherever you are in the food chain, join us in making a real difference. Join us as Partners in Progress at the 2023 Summit, slated for May 4-5 in Arlington, Va.

Ray Starling, general counsel of the North Carolina Chamber and former presidential advisor, will kick off the event with a keynote presentation discussing what he calls the “farmer versus foodie conundrum.” On one side are “insiders” who understand the food system and are rightly proud of it. On the other side are “outsiders” who champion the in-vogue notion that the food system is “broken.”

These competing visions for the future of food and farming will ultimately take us to very different destinations. During his session, Starling will consider how we can better bridge the gap between the two opposing forces. In another session, Jack Hubbard – partner and owner of Berman – will share the true intentions and strategies behind extremist animal rights groups and how we can safeguard our future with messages and tactics proven to diminish their exploitation of animals and donors.

In addition to keynotes and panel presentations, interactive workshops on how to be Partners Around the Plate: Shifting the Conversation About Food and Growing Trust, Protecting Futures: Build Your Public Trust Communications Strategy will give attendees the opportunities to put Summit speakers’ thought-provoking messages into action.

The Alliance’s annual Summit brings together thought leaders in the agriculture and food communities to discuss hot-button issues and out-of-the-box ideas to connect everyone along the food chain, engage influencers and protect the future of animal agriculture.

Click Here to see the full agenda and register.

Source: Animal Agriculture Alliance


Video of the Week

Have you checked out the Texas A&M AgriLife Livestock Guardian Dog channel on YouTube? You’ll find all kinds of helpful insights in the series of videos. The most recent video discusses adolescent behaviors in guard dogs ranging from eight to 24 months of age.

The San Angelo Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center uses livestock guardian dogs as part of its routine sheep and goat predator management. The goal is to increase understanding and use of LGDs by cooperating with the small ruminant ranching community to develop research and educational activities that reduce livestock wildlife conflict. The purpose of the group’s YouTube page is to share information to the ranching community and the general public pertaining to the program.

Click Here to watch.

Click Here for additional resources from the group.

Source: Texas A&M AgriLife


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