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Exciting Presentations Pack ASI Convention Lineup

While 2020 presented challenges at every turn, changes in the processing sector meant many sheep producers laid awake at night wondering when and where they might get their lambs processed. The addition of two new facilities and the subtraction of the second-largest in the country led to a major shuffling of the deck, but things seem to be back on track for 2021.

The American Sheep Industry Association will take a look at this substantial challenge and where things are headed in 2021 with a lamb panel during the opening session of the ASI Annual Convention on Thursday, Jan. 28, beginning at 9 a.m. mountain standard time. Jeff Hasbrouck of Double J, Spence Rule of Colorado Lamb Processors and Rick Stott of Superior Farms have been invited to provide presentations regarding the status of their operations and how they are working to meet the challenge of processing lambs in 2021. If time allows, there will be a short question-and-answer session following the presentations.

Dozens of great speakers will follow the lamb panel during the course of the two-day convention. Below are just a few of the highlights:

  • Angus Gidley-Baird of Rabobank will provide the keynote address on Jan. 28 at 1:30 p.m. mountain standard time. He is a senior analyst for animal protein and based in Sydney, Australia. Gidley-Baird provides regular market updates on beef, sheep meat, pork, poultry and seafood markets, and is a regular public speaker at farmer and industry events. He also produces podcasts for the RaboResearch Australia/New Zealand team.
  • A group of producers led by ASI Secretary/Treasurer Brad Boner will offer discussion on their Sheep Genetics USA project during the Genetic Stakeholders Committee meeting on Jan. 28 beginning at 10:15 a.m. mountain standard time. Tom Boyer of Utah, Rusty Burgett of the National Sheep Improvement Program, Ben Lehfeldt of Montana and Bill Shultz of Ohio will join the discussion, as well.
  • The Wool Council will get two reports on the emerging American Wool Assurance Program, including a look at how the program came to be and more importantly the standards that have been established by the program after a thorough process of input and review by representatives from all aspects of the wool industry.
  • Sheep producers Ryan Mahoney of California and Janet Turner of Pennsylvania will take part in a producer panel discussion of electronic identification in sheep. Dr. Cindy Wolf of Minnesota will moderate the panel during the Production, Education and Research Council meeting beginning at 12:15 p.m. mountain standard time on Jan. 28.
  • The Animal Health Committee has invited Dr. Sam Mansley to talk about foot and mouth disease and the lessons learned from an outbreak in the United Kingdom. The meeting begins at 11:15 a.m. mountain standard time on Jan. 28.
  • In addition to updates on the lamb market and the Eastern ethnic lamb market, the Lamb Council will hear from Megan Wortman of the American Lamb Board on how ALB adjusted to changing markets in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Lamb Council will meet beginning at noon mountain standard time on Jan. 29.
  • The Resource Management Council will offer a public lands roundtable including representatives from both the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. The council’s meeting – which begins at 10:15 a.m. on Jan. 29 – will also include updates from representatives of Wildlife Services.

Click Here to see the full agendas for each council and committee meeting.

It’s not too late to register, but the deadline is approaching. Registration closes Jan. 22, and due to the virtual nature of the convention, ASI will not be able to accommodate late registrations this year. So, register today.

Click Here to register.


NLFA Annual Meeting Goes Virtual

The National Lamb Feeders Association will host its annual meeting virtually on Thursday, Jan. 21, at 2 p.m. central standard time.

North Dakota’s Burdell Johnson will lead a discussion on the LRP-Lamb insurance program, and time will be allotted for state and regional updates from the meeting participants. Pre-registration is not required for the meeting, but you will need the passcode in order to join.

With all the disruptions in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the NLFA Board of Directors has chosen to NOT hold elections this year during the annual meeting. All current officers and board members have agreed to extend their terms by one year with the goal of providing continuity in NLFA operations.

“It’s our sincere hope we can meet in person in 2022 to attend to NLFA elections and other important association business,” read an announcement in the January NLFA News. “If you have any questions or concerns regarding this decision, please feel free to contact an NLFA board member or Executive Director Jodie Anderson. Thanks for your commitment to NLFA.”

For a complete meeting agenda and meeting materials, visit the NLFA website at


RAMS PAC Auction Continues Despite Virtual Convention

The annual RAMS PAC (political action committee) auction is always a fun and important function of every American Sheep Industry Association Annual Convention. While this year, the industry will not be able to gather in person, the ASI Executive Board hopes producers will still set aside some time to look over the silent auction items and join them online via Zoom for the live auction on Thursday, Jan. 28, from 5 to 7 p.m. mountain standard time.

Bidding on the silent auction items is open now through 7 p.m. mountain standard time on Jan. 28. ASI is still accepting donated items. Please contact the ASI office if you’d like to donate an item to this year’s auction.

Click Here to view the live and silent auction items.


Ohio State Plans Small Ruminant Webinars

Ohio State University Extension and the Department of Animal Sciences will host three small ruminant-focused webinars on Jan. 19, Feb. 16 and March 16.

Are you looking for new tips and tricks on how to improve your small ruminant operation this winter? Maybe you’re gearing up for lambing and kidding season and you want to make sure that you have everything you might need and more when it comes to supplies and knowledge. Perhaps last year you vowed to change your nutritional program to meet the demands of your female based during late gestation and lactation. Or what about marketing? The challenges of marketing during the spring of 2020 were insurmountable. What did we learn and how can we prepare for issues like these in the future? All of these topics will be covered in the webinars.

Webinar registration is quick, easy and free. Even if you are unable to join the webinar during the slated time, register for the programs and you will be given access to the recordings once the programs are complete.

Click Here to register.


USDA Releases Research Strategy Summary

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released its U.S. Agriculture Innovation Strategy Directional Vision for Research summary and dashboard this week to help guide future research decisions within USDA. The strategy synthesizes the information USDA collected as part of a public announcement earlier this year engaging the public on research priorities under the Agriculture Innovation Agenda.

“This initial report is a culmination of creative minds from across the agricultural community,” said Deputy Under Secretary Scott Hutchins, who leads USDA’s Research, Education and Economics mission area, and who is responsible for research efforts under the AIA. “Innovation and ingenuity have always been key to solving critical agricultural production challenges and will also be critical for addressing new and emerging challenges on the horizon – and our stakeholders advocated for some truly bold goals. We believe this information and the AIA will create enthusiasm, bridge collaborations, drive constructive discussion, and spark imagination to convey the positive role innovation will play to help solve challenges that face our nation in meeting pressing demands to feed a growing population in a sustainable way.”

USDA collected hundreds of responses through the RFI and stakeholder-led workshops. Respondents were asked to identify transformational research goals for the next era of agriculture productivity and environmental conservation. They were also asked to propose approaches to these opportunities around four innovation cluster areas (Genome Design, Digital Automation, Prescriptive Intervention and Systems Based Farm Management), and to identify gaps, barriers and hurdles to meeting these goals.

This report summarizes the extensive stakeholder input and defines discovery goals that will help inform research to best address the AIA for the next 10 to 30 years.

Click Here to read the full press release.

Source: USDA


Australian Wool Market Starts Strong in 2021

Australian wool sales resumed this week after the annual three-week Christmas recess. Following the prolonged break, quantities increased as wool received during the break made its way to market.

There were 52,940 bales offered nationally, making this the largest sale since March of last year. Easing of some COVID-19 restrictions allowed Melbourne to conduct a three-day sale, and to avoid Melbourne selling in isolation after a recess, Sydney sold on Tuesday and Wednesday, while Fremantle offered on Wednesday and Thursday.

The large offering attracted strong demand, pushing prices higher across most merino fleece types. The finer microns recorded the largest gains, the individual Micron Price Guides for 18.5 micron and finer rose by 11 to 61 cents for the series. The broader microns remained solid, recording very little change. The gains in the finer MPGs helped push the AWEX Eastern Market Indicator up by 15 cents for the week. The EMI finished at 1,172 Australian cents – an increase for the series of 1.3 percent.

Due to the continual strengthening of the Australian dollar since the previous sale (in the final sale of last year the Australian dollar was nearly 2 cents lower at 75.52 U.S. cents) when viewed in U.S. dollar terms, the rise in the EMI was more significant. The EMI added 33 U.S. cents for the series, to close at 907 U.S. cents – a 3.8 percent increase.

More than 24 percent of the overall offering was crossbreds, and this sector also received strong support. The large offering sold at very similar levels to those achieved at the previous sale. The oddment sector was the strongest performer (in percentage terms) for the sale. The three Merino Carding indicators added an average of 38 cents for an average increase of 4.7 percent.

Next week’s offering remains fairly large as accumulated wool continues to be offered. There are currently 49,140 bales available to the trade with all three centers in operation.

Source: AWEX


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