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APHIS Issues Official ID Report

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service issued a report this week showing that the department’s changes in recent years to the policy of providing free sheep identification tags has not had a detrimental effect on the goal of identifying sheep in the United States.

In November 2017, APHIS stopped providing free plastic identification tags to stakeholders. Metal tags were still provided at the time. After a variety of changes in the program since that time, APHIS now provides up to 100 plastic tags to new producers only and metal tags to markets and dealers.

The new report includes several findings:

  • Policy changes have not decreased the use of official ID by stakeholders;
  • A higher number of metal tags were purchased and distributed in FY 2018;
  • Increases in privately purchased official ID may be related to policy changes;
  • Policy changes may have caused slight fluctuations in official ID sales and distribution in FY 2018 and 2019, but they returned to previous levels in FY 2020;
  • Official ID orders increased slightly in FY 2019 and 2020;
  • Numbers of orders of metal ID increased as expected based on quantity of metal ID distributed or purchased in FY 2018 and 2019; in FY 2020 number of orders of metal ID decreased while quantity increased, reflecting larger individual orders;
  • Numbers of orders of official ID purchased privately are trending upward and may be related to policy changes that decreased the availability of ID free of charge to producers;
  • The size of individual orders of official ID made by regulatory officials/markets/dealers has increased since FY 2018.

Click Here for the full report.



40-Cent Wool LDP Currently Available

With shearing beginning in parts of the country and ramping up soon around the United States and after a difficult year for the industry, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Marketing Assistance Loan and Loan Deficiency Payment programs could provide welcome assistance. Now is a good time for wool producers to sign up with their local Farm Service Agency office for these programs. A grower must maintain “beneficial interest” before selling, however, once a grower signs up and provides evidence or estimate of wool production, the grower may choose a day to sell his or her wool at an advantageous time.

Currently, the ungraded LDP program – which was used by most producers in 2020 – offers a 40-cent LDP (per pound grease). This has been the going rate for most of 2021. This week, graded wools between 23.6 and 25.9 micron are also eligible for a 40-cent (per pound clean) LDP. Current rates are posted on the ASI website each Tuesday afternoon.

Producers with questions about the Wool LDP Program can contact their local FSA office.

Click Here for more details and current rates.


Research Update Podcast: Winter Ewe Nutrition

Dr. Richard Ehrhardt of Michigan State University leads the discussion on Winter Ewe Nutrition in this month’s ASI Research Update Podcast.

Click Here to listen.


Coalition Calls for Acceptance of Farmers/Ranchers by PPP

A recent letter to the chairs and ranking members of the U.S. Senate and House committees on small business asked Congress to provide guidance to the Small Business Administration on the eligibility of farmers and ranchers under the Paycheck Protection Program that was instituted in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The American Sheep Industry Association joined nearly three dozen other agricultural groups in signing on to the letter.

“We are writing today to thank you for your efforts to ensure that America’s farmers and ranchers are able to receive vital economic assistance through the Paycheck Protection Program and to ask for your assistance to ensure that all farm and ranch families are able to participate in this program on an equal footing,” read the letter.

“As you know, farming and ranching are capital-intensive operations often operating at a loss and with owners who frequently do not work for wages. When Congress designed the original PPP program, it did not recognize these special circumstances facing those working in agriculture. As a result, many farmers and ranchers did not qualify for PPP assistance. Fortunately, Congress saw fit to address these challenges and made changes to the eligibility requirements for the PPP in Section 313 of the Economic Aid Act. This provision creates a special calculation of a borrower’s maximum loan amount for farmers and ranchers, if certain criteria are met. To be eligible, the borrower: must operate as “a sole proprietor or as an independent contractor, or is an eligible self-employed individual”; must report their farm income on Schedule F; and must have been in operation on Feb. 15, 2020.

“Section 313 is an important provision for the agriculture industry and was a successful step in helping many farmers and ranchers participate in the PPP program. In the months since Congress passed the Economic Aid Act, however, the Small Business Administration has interpreted this language to exclude farm and ranch operations structured as partnerships and limited liability corporations. We believe this interpretation is in error and is preventing many farm and ranch families from participating in the PPP.”

Click Here to read the full letter.


FEEDD Act Would Provide Flexibility in Feed Shortages

This week, U.S. Reps. Dusty Johnson (S.D.) and Angie Craig (Minn.) and Sens. John Hoeven (N.D.) and Tammy Baldwin (Wis.) reintroduced the bipartisan Feed Emergency Enhancement During Disasters with Cover Crops Act. The FEEDD Act will provide farmers and ranchers emergency flexibility to help alleviate livestock feed shortages during planting seasons with high levels of prevent plant due to extreme moisture or drought. The U.S. Department of Agriculture provided an administrative fix to the haying and grazing dates in 2019 and 2020 after urging from Congress.

Currently, under the Federal Crop Insurance Program, producers who are unable to plant a crop due to adverse weather conditions are eligible to receive a small indemnity but are prohibited from growing a cash commodity due to a missed window in the growing season. The FEEDD Act would create a clear emergency waiver authority for the USDA to allow producers to graze, hay or chop a cover crop before Nov. 1 in the event of a feed shortage due to excessive moisture, flood or drought. With this waiver, producers would not have to take a further discount on their crop insurance. The bill also directs the secretary to establish regional “harvest dates” for each crop year for predictable rules on prevent plant cover crop harvest annually.

“A one-sized-fits-all approach doesn’t always work, and the cover crop harvest date is a good example where this approach falls short,” said Rep. Johnson. “I’m grateful USDA provided an administrative fix to the prevent plant harvest date deadline in 2019 after unprecedented flooding in states like South Dakota, but this date flexibility needs to be permanent and regionally tailored. The government can’t control the weather, but we can enhance predictability for producers when disasters hit.”

Click Here to learn more.


Large Quantities Lead to Drop in Australian Market

The Australian wool market retracted this week, with almost all Merino types and descriptions across the country selling at levels below those achieved the previous week.

The price increases of last week encouraged more sellers to the market and pushed the national offering to 50,138 bales. From the outset, it was evident that buyers were not prepared to push prices higher with the larger offering. Instead, they were selective in their purchases and looking to find value in a continually falling market. By the end of the series, the individual Micron Price Guides across the country for 20.0 micron and finer dropped by between 5 and 68 cents. These losses contributed to a loss in the AWEX Eastern Market Indicator of 12 cents for the series.

Due to a further strengthening of the Australian dollar (the AUD climbed by 2.12 cents compared to the previous week), the market performed very well. When viewed in U.S. dollars terms (which the majority of overseas orders are traded in) the EMI rose by 18 U.S. cents, closing at 1,040 U.S. cents – a 1.8 percent increase. The effect the U.S. dollar has on the Australian wool market can be further highlighted when comparing this sale to the corresponding sale of the previous season. Compared to this time last year, the Australian dollar has risen by 13.12 cents – a 19.7 percent rise. The EMI when viewed in Australian dollars is 275 cents lower – a 17.4 percent fall. However, when viewed in U.S. dollar terms, the EMI has only fallen by 12 U.S. cents – a marginal 1.1 percent reduction.

The crossbreds were the only sector to record positive movements this series. The crossbred MPGs across the country added between 4 and 35 cents. The gains in this sector prevented the EMI from falling further than it did.

Next week’s national offering remains similar. There are currently 50,535 bales available to the trade, with all three centers in operation.

Source: AWEX


DSANA Symposium Recordings Available

Recordings of the 2021 Dairy Sheep Association of North America’s Virtual Symposium can now be accessed by members of the association on the DSANA website.

Available recordings include: Understanding Mastitis; On-Farm Mastitis Culture for Dairy Sheep; Screening Staph Aureus From Our Dairy Flocks; Udder Conformation in Dairy Ewes; The History of the Sheep Cheesemaking Tradition in Croatia; a producer panel on Marketing in a Pandemic; Dairy Sheep Farming in New Zealand; and virtual farm tours.

Click Here for the recordings.


N.M. Cattle Growers Search for Executive Director

The New Mexico Cattle Growers Association is searching for a new executive director. This is a key staff position based in the Albuquerque office and represents the association and its membership in overseeing the administration, programs and mission consistent with association bylaws.

Click Here for more information.


Videos of the Week

A sheep named Baarack received a much-needed shearing after rescuers in Australia found the abandoned animal with more than 75 pounds of wool weighing it down.

Edgar’s Mission Farm Sanctuary, an animal rescue and sanctuary on a farm in Lancefield – north of Melbourne – rescued the sheep earlier this month and shared a video of his transformation on TikTok that has more than 18.5 million views.

Click Here for the most recent update on Baarack.

Source: USA Today

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