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University of Wyoming Certified AWA Level III

The University of Wyoming Sheep Program has become the first operation to reach Level III (Certified) status in the American Sheep Industry Association’s American Wool Assurance Program.

“We have a 400 head commercial Rambouillet flock and we felt like the AWA Program really aligned with our operation from a teaching and research perspective,” said University of Wyoming Assistant Professor and Extension Sheep Specialist Whit Stewart. “I think that people have a tendency to say, ‘I don’t want someone to tell me what to do,’ but this program allowed us to take a critical look at our enterprise and find ways to improve.”

It also made sense for the university to lead the way for the state’s sheep producers in becoming certified in this voluntary, producer-driven program.

“From the extension side, we’re always trying to educate our producers, and we couldn’t do that as well as we need to if we didn’t go through the process ourselves,” Stewart said. “Helping our producers is a priority of our program.”

The university allowed ASI to test the AWA Program audit instrument at the UW Sheep Unit in late 2021. That audit process was completed recently, and now the university’s wool can be stamped AWA Certified and with the AWA logo. Wool from the university flock is being used to develop value-added product – such as university-branded blankets – and the proceeds from the sale of those products is being invested into the development of other regionally manufactured products.

Graduate student Courtney Newman was instrumental in the certification process and plans to use blockchain technology to source verify not only the university’s wool clip, but also that of other producers across the state.

“ASI would like to congratulate the University of Wyoming for reaching Level III certification,” said ASI Deputy Director Rita Samuelson. “The association also owes the university a debt of gratitude for its assistance in finalizing the audit process that will lead to producers throughout the United States having the opportunity to reach Level II (Process Verified) and Level III (Certified).”


NDSU/UM Plan American Lamb Webinar

North Dakota State University Extension and University of Minnesota Extension will host an American Lamb and our Consumer webinar on Monday, Feb. 28, at 6:30 p.m. central time. Sheep producers, 4-H and FFA members, and lamb consumers are invited to attend.

“February is Lamb Lover’s Month,” said NDSU and UMN Extension Sheep Specialist Travis Hoffman. “It’s an exciting time for the U.S. lamb industry. Sheep prices have reached record highs, while per capita consumption and demand for American lamb has grown over the past few years.”

American Lamb Board Executive Director Megan Wortman will share her expertise, insight and optimism for American lamb in retail, food service and on consumers’ plates. Wortman and Hoffman will also discuss ways for lamb consumers to feed their adventurous side. That will be followed by an interactive question and answer discussion.

“It has been an extraordinary opportunity to see the successes of our lamb research and promotion program,” said Hoffman. “American lamb is on-trend. At-home chefs are embracing lamb options and recipes are available to enhance kitchen creativity.”

Pre-registration for the free webinar is required at Registered attendees will receive the Zoom link immediately upon registration. Registrants who are unable to attend the live session will receive the recording via email.

For questions, contact Brenda Miller at, Colleen Carlson at or Hoffman at

Source: NDSU/UM


Targhee Association Plans Commercial Wool Show

New this year to the U.S. Targhee National Show and Sale – July 18-20 in Big Timber, Mont. – will be the introduction of a commercial wool class in conjunction with the national wool show.  Fleeces that are from sheep that are 50 percent or more Targhee are encouraged to be entered.

The classes will be sorted into both ram and ewe divisions. There is no requirement to be a member of the Targhee Sheep Association, all are encouraged to enter. The open shows and wool show will be Tuesday and the National Sale will be Wednesday of that week. There will be an option to sell your fleece(s) to collegiate wool judging teams after the show for a set price above market value.

The cost to enter a fleece is $5. Entry forms will be posted on the association website at For more information or questions, please contact Dylan Laverell at 406-930-0216.

Source: U.S. Targhee Sheep Association


Montana to Host Memorial Wool Handling School

Montana wool growers interested in wool handling should apply to take part in the first Chuck Dallas Memorial Wool Handling School on March 15-16.

Dallas left an indelible mark on the wool industry as an ASI Certified Classer who worked wool across Montana and the Pacific Northwest for 35 years. He was also an active leader in the industry as a member of the U.S. Targhee Sheep Association, Montana Wool Growers Association and the American Sheep Industry Association’s American Wool Council. With funds donated by Cindy Dallas and other family and friends in his honor, there will be no charge for this workshop.

This will be the first educational program in a year-long series that ultimately culminates in a Montana Wool Handling and Leadership Certificate. Participation will be limited to 20 people with at least seven spots reserved for active Montana Wool Pool members. Participants must be active wool producers or involved in the industry in Montana, have the time and financial resources to travel to other states, be committed to sharing their experiences with other producers and be an active advocate for the wool industry.

Applications are due on Tuesday, March 1. Email Brent Roeder at or call/text 406-980-0719 for an application or with any questions.

Source: Montana Wool Growers Association


USDA Announces Black Vulture Permit Process

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced this week that approved applicants – which will be determined after consultation with USDA’s Wildlife Services – will be allowed to remove up to five black vultures in Ohio. Applicants must agree to follow all rules and regulations required by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the Ohio Department of Natural Resources statewide permit.

The black vulture population has increased in Ohio in recent years. These birds – which have a dark gray head and can be aggressive – should not be confused with the larger, less aggressive red-headed, turkey vulture.

“Black vultures are an extremely aggressive predator,” said Roger High, director of livestock with Ohio Farm Bureau and executive director of the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association. “They come into livestock farms of all types and attack the newborn animals and are very destructive.”

While black vultures can be detrimental to livestock producers, these birds remain important to conservation and agriculture resources by cleaning up animal carcasses from the ecosystem. As migratory birds, black vultures are federally protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, state laws and regulations, which means they can’t be killed or destroyed without a USFWS Migratory Bird Depredation permit.

As a way to streamline the permitting process, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources has obtained a statewide depredation permit for black vultures from the USFWS. ODNR will work with USDA Wildlife Services to issue sub-permits to livestock producers who are experiencing issues with black vultures. These sub-permits cover commercial livestock, including cattle, horses, sheep, goats and swine, and are free to livestock producers.

“As these birds continue to migrate further into Ohio, we are hearing more and more from our members about the devastation these birds are causing,” High said. “These improvements match much of Ohio Farm Bureau’s policy on black vultures. We have been involved in many conversations with these agencies about this issue, so we appreciate the efforts being made for farmers across Ohio.”

Interested livestock producers may request a sub-permit application by contacting Thomas Butler at

Source: Ohio Farm Bureau


Australian Market Posts Slight Increase

After two weeks of small losses, the Australian wool market recorded an overall increase this week – albeit by the smallest of margins. Originally, the scheduled offering was to be 50,142 bales. By the end of the series, the actual amount offered was 46,338 bales – due in part to the 3.6 percent of wool withdrawn prior to sale.

The strongest buyer focus was centered on good-style, low vegetable matter (less than 1 percent) wools, particularly those possessing favorable length and strength results. General overall increases in these wools was a driving factor in the positive movement in the market. Lesser-style, higher vegetable matter lots and wools with poor additional measurement results were highly irregular, but generally easier. These wools accounted for many of the 13 percent of wools that were passed in.

Buyer demand for specialty, non-mulesed types was again extreme for this series. Intense bidding on these wools helped them obtain premiums of upwards of 200 cents, when compared to similar mulesed lots. The overall market movements across the week were minimal and this was reflected in the AWEX Eastern Market Indicator, which lost 1 cent on the first selling day, gained 2 on the second, then remained unchanged on the final day (in which only Melbourne was in operation). The end result of these movements was a 1 cent increase in the EMI, which closed at 1,421 Australian cents.

This week, four separate lines of HILLCRESTON / BIGGA attained 1PP certification. These certificates are issued to a select group of superfine wools annually that exhibit superlative quality, style and soundness and are prepared in the best possible manner. The approval criteria for 1PP certification is stringent and is carried out by a panel made up of industry participants with exceptional knowledge and experience in the area of superfine wools.

Source: AWEX


DSANA Schedules Two March Webinars

The Dairy Sheep Association of North America will conduct two webinars in March that are free and open to all sheep producers.

Identifying You High-Genetic-Value Ewes: How to Collect Milk Data and Use Estimated Breeding Values is set for Tuesday, March 1, at 1 p.m. eastern time. This webinar will explain how to collect your ewes’ milk production data to generate estimated breeding values for milk yields and components, and how to use those EBVs to improve your flock production through informed selection, breeding and culling decisions.

Click Here to register for the webinar.

The second webinar will take place on March 15 at 1 p.m. eastern time and is entitled Interpreting Your EBVs for Genetic Improvement: A Webinar for Producers Already Using EBVs. Topics of discussion will be the interpretation and use of EBVs to improve flock genetics. GenOvis geneticists will be on hand to provide information, and PIP and GenOvis users will share how they use EBVs to improve their flock’s production.

Click Here to register for the webinar.

Source: DSANA


Post-COVID Suit Sales Support Wool Sector

Demand and prices for fine and mid-micron wool are forecast to pick up as workers return to offices around the world, according to a report by agribusiness banking specialist Rabobank.

In the bank’s recently-released Agribusiness Outlook 2022, Rabobank Agricultural Analyst Dennis Voznesenski said while consumer confidence is waning in the world’s two largest markets for wool – the United States and China – there are positive factors that will push prices higher.

“First, U.S. retail apparel sales are continuing to grow, with December data showing an 18 percent rise versus pre-pandemic levels. Second, the latest woolen suit import data for October 2021 shows a full recovery to pre-pandemic levels in France and only 26 percent below pre-pandemic levels in the U.S.,” he said.

Voznesenski said this reflects a return of office workers in the European Union and U.S. – a trend expected to strengthen through 2022.

“The recovery in office-wear demand may see suit sales growth rise above general retail apparel in 2022,” he said. “Even if we see an interest rate-induced slowdown in the world economy this year, we expect the demand for wool from workers returning to offices and buying suits to be the more important variable for wool.”

The bank forecasts Australian wool’s Eastern Market Indicator will trade – on average – between 1,350 c/kg and 1,500 c/kg in 2022. That would be a 7 percent increase on the 2021 average.

Voznesenski said on the downside for wool is that consumer confidence had declined in late 2021 in both the United States and China.

“And this is likely to continue this year, especially if economic conditions slow in the post-Covid-stimulus era. China’s retail apparel sales – denominated in yuan – also slowed to a mere 2.6 percent above pre-pandemic levels in November,” he said.

Click Here to read the full story.

Source: Rabobank


Video of the Week

Montana Ag Network’s Russell Nemetz takes a look at the role sheep can play in the battle against climate change while talking with Dr. Frank Mitloehner of the University of California-Davis and American Sheep Industry Association President Susan Shultz of Ohio.

Click Here to watch the video.

Source: Montana Ag Network


USDA Commits $215 Million to American Food Chain

U.S. Department of Agriculture Sec. Tom Vilsack announced this week that USDA is making available up to $215 million in grants and other support to expand meat and poultry processing options, strengthen the food supply chain and create jobs and economic opportunities in rural areas. Announced on the one-year anniversary of President Joe Biden’s Executive Order 14017 “America’s Supply Chains”, the funding opportunity is one of many actions that USDA is taking to expand processing capacity and increase competition in meat and poultry processing to make agricultural markets more accessible, fair, competitive and resilient for American farmers and ranchers.

USDA Rural Development will make $150 million available in grants to fund startup and expansion activities in the meat and poultry processing sector. USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture will provide another $40 million for workforce development and training, and the Agricultural Marketing Service will provide $25 million to offer technical assistance to grant applicants and others seeking resources related to meat and poultry processing.

USDA Rural Development is making $150 million of American Rescue Plan Act funding available through the Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program. USDA is offering grants of up to $25 million each to expand processing capacity through a variety of activities, including but not limited to construction, expansion of existing facilities and acquisition of equipment.

USDA will host two informational webinars to provide information on MPPEP. The first is Monday, Feb. 28, at 2 p.m. eastern time, and will provide an overview of the program. The second is March 7 at 2 p.m. eastern time, and will cover application requirements. Registration information for the webinars is available on the MPPEP website.

For additional information, applicants and other interested parties are encouraged to visit the MPPEP website at Questions may be submitted through the website or sent to

All application materials can be found at or at Applications must be received by 11:59 p.m. eastern time on April 11, 2022, through

Click Here to read the full release, including more details on workforce development and technical assistance.

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