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USDA/NASS Reports 2 Percent Drop in Sheep Inventory

Increased slaughter of mature sheep in 2021 – thanks to drought and high mature ewe slaughter prices – played a role in a 2 percent decrease in the American sheep inventory as reported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service on Monday.

As of Jan. 1, the American sheep and lamb inventory totaled 5.07 million head. Breeding sheep inventory was 3.71 million head, down 2 percent from 3.78 million head on Jan. 1, 2021. Ewes 1-year-old and older were at 2.91 million head, also 2 percent below last year. Market sheep and lambs totaled 1.36 million head, down 3 percent from a year ago. Market lambs comprised 94 percent of the total market inventory. Market sheep comprised the remaining 6 percent of total market inventory. The 2021 lamb crop of 3.16 million head was down 2 percent from 2020. The 2021 lambing rate was 107 lambs per 100 ewes 1-year-old and older on Jan. 1, 2021, down 1 percent from 2020.

Shorn wool production in the United States during 2021 was 22.5 million pounds, down 3 percent from 2020. Sheep and lambs shorn totaled 3.2 million head, down 2 percent from 2020. The average price paid for wool sold in 2021 was $1.70 per pound for a total value of $38.2 million, down 1 percent from $38.4 million in 2020.

Sheep death loss during 2021 totaled 200,000 head, down 5 percent from 2020. Lamb death loss decreased 1 percent from 370,000 head to 365,000 head in 2021.

While the sheep inventory was down nationally, several states showed increases. With a bump from 555,000 to 575,000, California posted the largest inventory increase in the nation and remains second only to Texas – 700,000 sheep, down from 730,000 a year ago – in total sheep and lamb numbers. West Virginia reported the largest percentage increase in the nation as it jumped from 30,000 to 32,000 – a 7 percent increase.

Additional states that showed increases in the latest report included: New Mexico, North Carolina, Nevada, Oklahoma, New York and Ohio. Sheep numbers in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont are grouped into a New England region, which posted a 5 percent increase. A second region labeled Other States consists of 17 states – mostly in the Southeast, Alaska and Hawaii – which posted a 3 percent increase in total sheep numbers.

Click Here for the complete report.


Evaluators Available for AWA Level II Certification

Wool growers looking to take the next step forward in the American Sheep Industry Association’s American Wool Assurance Program now have access to more than a dozen AWA-trained evaluators to help them reach Level II certification – Process Verified.

The Level II review will provide an added level of comfort about the procedures in place when growing and harvesting wool. Second-party evaluators will use operation plans, records, interviews and observations in looking for compliance with AWA standards.

The evaluators bring sheep experience and have been trained in recent months to provide consistent, objective and trustworthy evaluations. To become an evaluator, they had to have sheep experience or education, complete online courses, attend virtual training sessions with an auditor, and complete written and oral exams.

Evaluations not only allow growers to become accredited in AWA Level II – which allows them to mark wool packs with an AWA logo and for buyers to verify the wool as AWA Process Verified – but also can help growers in advancing their operation practices and to prepare for a third party-audit, which is required for Level III certification.

Wool growers must first complete the Level I process (which includes completing online AWA and SSQA courses) before moving to Level II.

Click Here to learn more about the evaluators.


Two Appointed to NSIIC Board

The U.S. Department of Agriculture this week announced the appointment of one producer and an expert in finance and management to each serve as members on the National Sheep Industry Improvement Center Board of Directors. The newly appointed members will serve three-year terms from January 2022 to January 2025.

Newly appointed members are:

  • Producer – Leo Tammi, Mount Sidney, Va.
  • Expert in Finance and Management – Burton Pfliger, Bismarck, N.D.

The board is composed of seven voting members and two non-voting members.

The board is composed of seven voting members and two non-voting members. Both appointees were nominated by the American Sheep Industry Association, the trade association that sponsored the legislative approval of the center.

The National Sheep Industry Improvement Center was established as part of the 2008 Farm Bill and administers a grant program designed to improve the infrastructure of the American sheep industry by strengthening and enhancing the production and marketing of sheep and sheep products. The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service provides oversight of the center.

Source: USDA/AMS


USDA Introduces Market News App

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced this week a new USDA Market News mobile application providing producers and everyone else in the supply chain with instant access to current and historical market information. The initial version of the free app includes nearly 800 livestock, poultry and grain market reports, with additional commodities added throughout the coming year.

“USDA is focused on building more resilient and transparent markets and is taking steps to promote competition and fairer prices from farmers to consumers,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “This new Market News app helps create a more level playing field for small and medium producers by delivering critical market information to them where they are, when they need it.”

Producers and other users can search for markets based on their location, by state or by commodity. They also can add market reports to their favorites for easier access, share reports via text or email, subscribe to reports, and receive real-time notifications when a new report is published. For additional data analysis, the app lets you share the source data behind the reports via email, as well.

“One of the best features of the app is its simplicity,” said Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt, who mentioned the app in her presentation at the 2022 American Sheep Industry Association Annual Convention. “The USDA Market News app was designed with small producers in mind. Regardless of whether you market livestock throughout the year or once a year, you can navigate through this easy-to-use tool and access the information you need on your mobile phone. Built-in tutorials help first-time users get the most out of their experience.”

There are both iOS and Android versions available to download through the Apple and Google Play stores. Search for “USDA Market News Mobile Application” to download the app and begin exploring its potential. USDA will continue to expand the features of the app, including adding market information for all other commodities in the future.

Sheep producers are reminded that the ASI Market News app includes appropriate market reports, as well as valuable sheep industry tools and calculators. The ASI Market News app is also available on both the Apple and Google Play stores.

Source: USDA


Prices Soar in Australian Wool Market

The Australian wool market recorded solid price increases this series, with every sector of the market enjoying gains as 40,491 bales were available to the trade. This relatively large offering received excellent support from a large cross section of exporters, resulting in spirited bidding from the opening lot. This strong buyer sentiment helped to push prices continually higher as the series progressed.

The Merino fleece types again led the way with strong rises across the entire micron spectrum. These gains were reflected in the Micron Price Guides across the country, which rose between 15 and 98 cents with the finer microns recording the largest increases. The rises felt in these MPGs – combined with all other sectors of the market recording healthy gains – helped push the AWEX Eastern Market Indicator up by 42 cents for the series. This was the largest weekly increase in the EMI since October of last year, where the EMI added 46 cents. The EMI closed the series at 1,449 Australian cents.

The market has recorded overall positive movement for every sale of this calendar year. The EMI has risen for five consecutive weeks, adding a total of 91 cents during this period. When compared to same time last year, the EMI continues to track higher. The EMI is currently 164 cents higher than the corresponding sale of the 2020-21 season, an increase of 12.8 percent. General rises in oddment types of between 25 and 40 cents combined to push the three Merino Carding Indicators up by an average of 34 cents.

After two weeks of unusual sale days, next week’s roster returns to the normal Tuesday/Wednesday selling. The national offering increases considerably – due in part to the higher prices achieved in this series – and the ability of Melbourne to conduct a three-day sale as 48,274 bales are currently expected to be offered in Melbourne, Fremantle and Sydney.

Source: AWEX


February is Lamb Lovers Month

The American Lamb Board has deemed February as Lamb Lovers Month for more than a decade. To encourage celebrating Lamb Lovers Month this year, ALB is hosting two separate consumer contests.

The first giveaway is on Instagram with the goal of increasing engagement with consumers. ALB is giving away a “date night in” package for one lucky couple to celebrate Valentine’s Day in style with American lamb. The prize package includes a rack of American lamb as well as a copy of Ashley Rodriguez’s cookbook Date Night In, which includes a delicious recipe to prepare a rack of lamb.

The second contest encourages consumers to share their love for American lamb with their closest friends. The giveaway includes 10 Galentine’s entertaining packs for each of the winners to throw an elegant Galentine’s celebration centered around American lamb. Galentine’s Day is a day for women to celebrate their friendships with their gal friends.

Ten lucky winners will be selected to receive the kits next week out of more than 300 entries. Winners will receive a bundle to entertain a party of eight, which includes American lamb loin chops, a $75 gift card to Bouqs – a farm fresh flower delivery company to create a flower-filled tablescape – and a gift bag for each of their guests.

ALB is promoting the contests through consumer social media pages, a consumer newsletter, paid advertisements and influencer partners. Check out Well Seasoned Studio’s recent blog post about a lovely Sous Vide Lamb Chop recipe.

Also, Plating and Pairings will share a wine pairing series for Valentine’s Day featuring American lamb on the @fanoflamb Instagram page.

Source: ALB


BLM, USFS Announce 2022 Grazing Fees

The federal grazing fee for 2022 will be $1.35 per animal unit month for public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management and $1.35 per head month for lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service. The 2021 public land grazing fee was also $1.35.

An animal unit month or head month — treated as equivalent measures for fee purposes — is the use of public lands by one cow and her calf, one horse, or five sheep or goats for a month. The newly calculated grazing fee was determined by a congressionally mandated formula and takes effect March 1. The fee will apply to nearly 18,000 grazing permits and leases administered by the BLM and nearly 6,250 permits administered by the Forest Service.

The formula used for calculating the grazing fee was established by Congress in the 1978 Public Rangelands Improvement Act and has remained in use under a 1986 presidential executive order. Under that order, the grazing fee cannot fall below $1.35 per animal unit month/head month, and any increase or decrease cannot exceed 25 percent of the previous year’s level.

The annually determined grazing fee is established using a 1966 base value of $1.23 per animal unit month/head month for livestock grazing on public lands in Western states. The figure is then calculated according to three factors: current private grazing land lease rates, beef cattle prices and the cost of livestock production. In effect, the fee rises, falls or stays the same based on market conditions.

The BLM and Forest Service are committed to strong relationships with the ranching community and work closely with permittees to ensure public rangelands remain healthy, productive working landscapes. The grazing fee applies in 16 Western states on public lands administered by the BLM and the Forest Service. The states are: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. Permit holders and lessees may contact their local BLM or Forest Service office for additional information.

Source: BLM


USDA Offers Free Tax Webinars

Tax season is just around the corner and there are a variety of important considerations for farmers and livestock producers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has partnered with agriculture tax experts around the country to connect producers to important tax information related to their operations.

USDA is hosting two informational webinars next week on income tax treatment of livestock sales and disaster losses. Join JC Hobbs of Oklahoma State University on Feb. 7 and 8 to learn about the special tax rules that might apply to your operation.


Income Tax Treatment of Weather-Related Sales of Livestock

Monday, Feb. 7, at 3 p.m. eastern time 

Breeding, dairy or livestock (excluding poultry) sold due to drought, flood or other weather-related condition are potentially eligible for special tax treatment as this sale is considered an involuntary conversion. This presentation will cover the application of these tax rules, which allow for the postponement of gain recognition when replacement animals are purchased.

The gain from the sale of any livestock (including poultry) in excess of the normal number of animals sold annually due to drought, flood or other weather-related condition may allow the reporting of gain to be postponed until the following year. Special tax rules apply, allowing the postponement to occur. This presentation will cover the rules and procedures that must be followed to postpone the reporting of gain.

Click Here to register for the webinar.


Income Tax Rules that Apply to Disaster Losses 

Tuesday, Feb. 8, at 3 p.m. eastern time   

The tax treatment for losses of property due to disasters varies depending upon whether the item was personal, business or investment property. In addition, consideration is given to the amount of the loss impacted by insurance proceeds, the tax basis of the property at the time of the loss or disaster payments received.

This presentation will cover the tax treatment that applies to losses of property resulting from a disaster.

Click Here to register for the webinar.

Source: USDA


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