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Due to the American Sheep Industry Association Annual Convention next week, the ASI Weekly will return on Jan 27.


App Available for ASI Annual Convention

The American Sheep Industry Association is once again using the Whova app to provide ASI Annual Convention attendees with a place to connect and share information. The app is now active and available for use as attendees prepare to make their way to the Omni Fort Worth Hotel next week.

App users will have access to all the information they need to have a successful week, including:

  • Meeting agendas
  • Events map
  • Photo sharing
  • Speaker bios
  • Message boards for social connections

The app is only available to registered convention attendees. If you’re already registered, you should have received an email with information for accessing the app earlier this week from ASI.

Click Here to download the app.


NLFA Hires Maneotis as Executive Director

With 35 years of experience producing sheep, goats and cattle on the family ranch near Craig, Colo., Karen Maneotis has been selected as the new executive director for the National Lamb Feeders Association.

“We’re very happy to get someone hired who has a sheep and ranching background,” said NLFA President Reed Anderson of Oregon. “But the most important thing is that we needed to hire a good person, and we think we’ve done that with Karen.”

The Maneotis family is no stranger to the American sheep industry. Karen’s husband, Nick, currently serves as president of the Colorado Wool Growers Association and sits on the American Sheep Industry Association’s Genetic Stakeholders Committee. The couple’s daughter, Karissa Isaacs, worked on the lamb flavor audit during her years as a student at Colorado State University, then spent time on staff at the American Lamb Board before eventually joining Superior Farms. She was appointed to ALB’s board of directors this week.

“Karissa was the one who told me about the job,” said Maneotis. “I have a passion for sheep and cattle, so I think I’ll be a good fit with the National Lamb Feeders. I’m really excited to learn more about the association and what I can do to help them be productive. And I’m excited to work with both the American Lamb Board and ASI in this role.”

Maneotis was hired in early January and started work immediately as NLFA has meetings of its own scheduled during next week’s ASI Annual Convention in Fort Worth, Texas.

Anderson said NLFA reached out to both Megan Wortman at ALB and ASI’s Peter Orwick in looking for the right person to take on the contract position.

While she hadn’t worked directly with NLFA in the past, Maneotis said she was already familiar with several of the association’s board members, including Colorado’s A.J. Nelson and NLFA Past President Jeff Hasbrouck. Wyoming producer Bob Harlan – who has served as NLFA’s representative to the ASI Executive Board in recent years – has also purchased rams from the family’s ranch in past years.


USDA Announces Sheep Center Appointments

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced this week 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 2023 to January 2026.

Newly appointed members are:

  • Producer – Faye F. Schalesky, Faith, South Dakota
  • Expert in Finance and Management – Robert Buchholz, Eldorado, Texas

The board is composed of seven voting members and two non-voting members. Voting members include four active U.S. sheep producers, two members with expertise in finance and management and one member with expertise in lamb, lamb product or wool marketing. Non-voting members include USDA’s under secretary for marketing and regulatory programs and under secretary for research, education and economics.

More information about the center is available on the National Sheep Industry Improvement Center website.

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 U.S. 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


Producers Appointed to ALB

The U.S. Department of Agriculture this week announced the appointment of four members to each serve three-year terms on the American Lamb Board. The terms begin January 2023 and end January 2026.

Newly appointed members are:

  • Jeff Ebert, Saint George, Kansas – Producer (100 or less head)
  • Gary Visintainer, Craig, Colorado – Producer (Greater than 500 head)
  • Don Hawk, Danville, Ohio – Feeder (At Large)
  • Karissa Isaacs, Milliken, Colorado – First Handler

The 13-member American Lamb Board is composed of six producers, three feeders, three first handlers and one seedstock producer. Two producers appointed to the board must own 100 or less head of lambs annually; one producer must own 101 to 500 head of lambs annually; and three producers must own more than 500 head of lambs annually. At least one feeder must feed less than 5,000 head of lambs annually and at least one must feed more than 5,000 head of lambs annually.

More information about the board and a list of board members is available on the Agricultural Marketing Service American Lamb Board webpage and on the board’s website at

Since 1966, Congress has authorized the development of industry-funded research and promotion boards to provide a framework for agricultural industries to pool their resources and combine efforts to develop new markets, strengthen existing markets and conduct important research and promotion activities. AMS provides oversight of 22 boards, paid for by industry assessments, which helps ensure fiscal accountability and program integrity.

Source: USDA/AMS


Montana Wool Growers Has Two Job Openings

The Montana Wool Growers Association is still accepting applications for two positions: executive secretary and ram sale manager. The application period runs through Jan. 20. Both positions are part-time and can be handled remotely with the exception of attending association events.

Click Here for more information on both positions.

Source: MWGA


Australian Wool Market Back in Action This Week

Sales resumed this week after the annual three-week Christmas recess to a national offering of 50,509 bales. It was the third largest sale for the season and the most bales in five months. Volumes were particularly high at the three-day Melbourne sale which hosted its largest sale in 11 months, and Fremantle, which recorded its second largest sale for the season.

The market commenced the 2023 calendar year following the lead of the first sale from the previous seven years, which have all opened up making gains. At this sale, it was initially a cautious start, however, with the AWEX Eastern Market Indicator losing 4 cents on the opening day on the back of losses across most of the Merino microns.

The momentum changed on Wednesday when there were solid increases, particularly at the stylish Melbourne offering. Thursday closed out the week to further gains in the medium microns. The results at the end of the series had gains of 20 cents for the 19-micron and finer range, which carried the EMI to an increase of 6 cents for the sale.

Merino skirtings also found good support for most of the week, closing as much as 50 cents dearer. Crossbreds had heavy losses early before stabilizing, but still closed cheaper for the sale. Merino cardings were generally in line with the previous sale held prior to Christmas.

Next week is expected to be a similar-sized catalogue with more than 51,000 bales forecast to be offered in three selling centers.

Source: AWEX


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.

USDA Proposes Revisions to Instrument Grading

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service is seeking to revise its procedures related to the use of instrument technology in the official meat grading program. AMS is proposing to receive more clarity about when new instruments must go through a complete review process and how the instrument must perform.

In addition to updates to existing protocol, AMS is proposing several new requirements such as establishing new installation processes for entities that will use technology as an aid for USDA grading and making administrative changes to consolidate five previous guidance documents into one new document.

Sec. Vilsack Comments on Farm Bill

Agriculture Sec. Tom Vilsack expressed that he wants the next Farm Bill to include reforms for disaster relief and focus more on farmers who haven’t done as well financially in recent years.

Sec. Vilsack said that existing disaster programs aren’t equipped for addressing varying regional needs or covering damage from unusual storms. He also announced a new round of assistance under the temporary Emergency Relief Program USDA created with $10 billion in ad hoc disaster funding authorized last year for losses in 2020 and 2021.


USDA Expands Eligibility, Benefits for Disaster Programs

USDA’s Farm Service Agency has expanded eligibility and enhanced available benefits for a suite of its programs. FSA has updated the following programs: the Emergency Conservation Program, the Emergency Forest Restoration Program, the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish, the Livestock Forage Disaster Program, the Livestock Indemnity Program, and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program.

FSA updated ECP to allow producers who lease federally owned or managed lands – including tribal trust land and state land – the opportunity to provide advance payments – up to 25 percent of the cost – for all ECP practices before the restoration is carried out. The cost-share payment must be spent within 60 days.

FSA also expanded eligible livestock under ELAP, LFP and LIP.


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