Make Plans for ASI’s Spring Trip
The American Sheep Industry Association Spring Trip to Washington, D.C., is scheduled for March 11-13.
Sheep producers from state and national associations across the United States will visit our nation’s capital to meet with their congressional delegations on issues of interest to the industry. It’s the perfect opportunity to address industry asks for the next Farm Bill.
The trip will also include meetings with government agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, including the Agricultural Marketing Service, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, U.S. Forest Service and Wildlife Services. Past trips have also included visits with representatives from the U.S. Department of the Interior and U.S. Department of Labor, as well as other agencies as necessary to address industry issues.
Producers interested in attending the ASI Spring Trip should contact their state sheep association executive, who will coordinate with ASI to plan the annual legislative fly-in.
ASI Shearing Grants Awarded
Six shearers and three mentors were selected to receive funds through the American Sheep Industry Association’s shearer grant program. This is the third consecutive year ASI has awarded funds through a program developed by its Wool Council.
The shearer grant program provides $1,500 grants to each developing shearer to help cover the costs of equipment and other expenses as they work toward improving their shearing skills. Shearers will receive $500 immediately and work with a mentor to gain confidence, improve shearing quality and learn to shear at the faster pace needed to shear large flocks on a professional basis. At the completion of the program, the shearers will receive the remaining $1,000 from their grants.
Shearing mentors receive $1,500 grants to help cover the costs accumulated with mentoring developing shearers.
While funds were limited, the program received 33 applications for grants. The six students selected were:
- Kathleen Markiewicz of Vermont.
- Kendall Miller of Oregon.
- Stefan ScheerCook of Virginia.
- Jordan Seals of Virgina.
- Avery Thompson of Oregon.
- Ian Wuscher of North Carolina.
Mentors selected to receive grants were:
- Laura Kincaid of Oregon.
- Justin Shank of North Carolina.
- Derrick Spangler of Virgina.
Softer Trend Continues in Australian Wool Market
In contrast to the preceding sale, the national offering this week decreased by 12,148 bales for a total of 37,757 bales. The scheduled sale days were limited to Tuesday and Wednesday due to a national public holiday on Friday.
The ongoing softer trend from the previous fortnight persisted this week, with both days experiencing losses. Out of the eight selling days in 2024, six have recorded a decline in market values. The AWEX Eastern Market Indicator concluded this series 10 cents lower at 1,186 Australian cents.
The initial day observed the most significant downturn, with prices ranging 5 to 65 cents lower than the previous week. Superfine types were particularly impacted, and the 16.5-Micron Price Guide registered the most substantial decline. Broader microns experienced a slight dip of 5 cents. Thursday displayed a more positive outlook with pockets of strength offsetting weaker areas. Superfine microns continued to lack support, generally finishing lower, while broader microns showed a slight firming against improved support. The neighboring crossbred microns also attracted reasonable support, resulting in a 5-cent increase for the sale.
Merino skirtings followed the downward trend of fleece types, closing as much as 40 cents clean lower. Merino cardings displayed mixed results, with minor losses on the East Coast balanced by gains in Fremantle. The highlight of the week was a 12.9-micron line that sold for 12,600 cents greasy, marking the highest price since November 2021.
Next week is another two-day pattern with 36,535 bales currently rostered for sale.
Click Here for the Australian Wool Report Prices in US Dollars Per Pound.
ALB Releases FY23 Annual Report
The American Lamb Board released its Fiscal Year 2023 Annual Report to share programs and success stories with mandatory lamb checkoff stakeholders from the last year.
The American lamb industry saw many successes in 2023, including an overall increase in demand for lamb nationwide. However, this comes at a critical point when American flock numbers are declining. Many ALB programs focus on increasing demand for American lamb, but industry education and research are also at the forefront of the board’s work.
Get an in-depth look at last year’s programs and a glimpse at what’s scheduled heading into 2024.
Here are a few highlights you’ll find in the Annual Report:
- Consumers across the country are hungry for a sustainable food source. In the Sustainability Spotlight, you’ll find information about the Climate Smart Grant, a new Sustainability Director, a landmark environmental footprint study and much more.
- Promotional Highlights feature a growing food blogger network, cooking classes, events and retail promotions.
- Check out a sampling of Culinary Events sponsored or hosted by ALB to connect with chefs, consumers and other influencers nationwide.
- Promotional partnerships and young leader development are a couple of highlights from Industry Outreach initiatives.
Looking ahead to 2024, the board is working on new industry workshops, promotions, educational opportunities and research projects that are already underway. Read more about all these programs in the full Annual Report.
Click Here to download the Annual Report.
WSU Extension Offering Lamb 300 Course
Washington State University Extension is offering the Mobile Lamb 300 course on April 5-7 in Spokane, Wash.
The 300 series of producer and processor species specific educational events are back. This course will be taught using the Washington Meat-Up mobile education unit. Attendees will participate in a learner-engaged program that will span the following topics: selection, marketing, harvest, sensory evaluation, carcass evaluation, fabrication and further processing, etc.
This program is offered in partnership between Washington State University Extension and the Washington State Department of Agriculture through WA Meat-UP. This is a grant supported program through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Western Extension Risk Management Education Center.
Registration is $125 per participant and can be paid online. The deadline to register is March 15, but there’s only room for 16 participants and registration is first-come, first-served, so register early.
Click Here to learn more.
Click Here to register.
Source: Washington State Sheep Producers
International Lamb Trade Webinar Planned
The University of Minnesota Extension and North Dakota State University Extension will host an International Lamb Trade and Economics webinar on Thursday, Feb. 8, at 7 p.m. central time.
U.S. Meat Export Federation’s Jessica Spreitzer and Courtney Heller will provide a summary of international lamb trade in 2023 and opportunities for future success in 2024. Spreitzer and Heller work with a wide variety of information to provide analysis on the U.S. red meat industry and global trade to both domestic and international stakeholders. The federation is the trade association responsible for developing international markets for the U.S. red meat industry.
“U.S. lamb consumption is 1.2 pounds per person per year, and has room for growth domestically and abroad,” says Travis Hoffman, sheep specialist for NDSU Extension and UMN Extension. “Our lamb industry hinges on markets at a global level, and imports and exports affect our producers.”
“Join us to learn about how what happens on our local sheep operation is truly affected by larger global lamb marketing,” says Brenda Miller, UMN Extension livestock educator.
Farmers, ranchers, 4-H members, agriculture business professionals who work with farmers and those interested in goats or sheep are invited to attend.
Pre-registration is required. Register at ndsu.ag/lambtrade. A Zoom link will be emailed to participants upon registration. Those unable to attend the live session will receive the recording via email.
Source: UMN and NDSU Extension
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.
Congressional Tax Leaders Release Bipartisan Package
Last Week, House Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Jason Smith (Mo.) and Senate Committee on Finance Chairman Ron Wyden (Ore.) announced a bipartisan tax package which would raise the limits on the Section 179 expensing provision.
Currently, Section 179 allows businesses to write off up to $1.16 million of equipment and software costs, with the limit phasing down as spending surpasses $2.9 million. Underneath the deal, it would increase the limit to $1.29 million and expand the phase out to $3.22 million indexed to inflation. The deal also restores the bonus depreciation provision back to 100 percent. The bonus depreciation provision has decreased gradually since it was last at 100 percent following the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. The restoration of the bonus depreciation provision would last through 2025.
Both of these provisions are commonly used by farmers to mitigate the cost of equipment and machinery. The tax package was marked up in the House Ways & Means Committee on Jan. 19, and was approved by the committee on a bipartisan 40-3 vote, with all three opposing votes coming from Democratic members.
GAO Releases Report on Foreign Farmland Purchases
Last Thursday, the Government Accountability Office released a report recommending the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other federal agencies coordinate more efficiently to collect and provide data on foreign investments and purchases of farmland.
GAO recommends that USDA implement an online submission form and public database to monitor foreign purchases of farmland rather than the current method of paper forms compiled annually. Also, GAO discovered data errors, specifically on the amount of land associated with China. According to the report, Congress and the public do not have access to reliable information about land owned by foreign entities and said this could be addressed through reform to USDA’s internal processes. GAO suggested that the Secretary of Agriculture coordinate with the Departments of Defense and Treasury to help develop USDA’s data systems.
Foreign ownership of agricultural land has grown to approximately 40 million acres in 2021 and this issue is a key area of contention in Congress. While there have been a number of efforts to address this issue, to date no federal legislation has been enacted. The report can be found here.