ASI Elects New Leadership at Annual Convention
As he works through the transition process to step away from a daily role on his family’s fifth-generation ranch outside Casper, Wyo., Brad Boner stepped into a new role during the American Sheep Industry Association’s Annual Convention in Fort Worth, Texas.
He will serve as ASI president for the next two years after unanimous election on Saturday by the ASI Board of Directors. Boner joined ASI’s officer team in 2019 when he was first elected secretary/treasurer after representing Region VII on the ASI Executive Board. He was elevated to vice president in 2021 and now takes over as president from Susan Shultz of Ohio.
“I thought about this day occasionally the last few years,” said Boner. “But it’s not something I thought about much before today. We’re blessed with such great people in this organization, and it’s so much fun to work with them to lead the industry. There’s no backing out now, so here we go.”
The family ranch includes both ewe-lamb and cow-calf operations along with selling Black Angus seedstock. Brad and his wife, Laurie, have three children who all live close to the home place, but only Ryan works on the ranch on a daily basis. Ryan’s involvement allows his parents to spend additional time with their grandchildren.
“This generational transition is an interesting process,” Boner said. “As was alluded to by a few other speakers this week, there comes a point where it’s time for the next generation to step up and start doing what they can do. That’s where we’re headed. Plus, that grandparent thing is pretty cool stuff.”
Boner is joined on the ASI officer team by Montana’s Ben Lehfeldt as vice president and California’s Joe Pozzi as secretary/treasurer. Pozzi – a former member of ASI’s Executive Board from Region VIII – ran unopposed for the secretary position.
“I’m looking forward to working with Joe,” Boner said. “What an innovator and entrepreneur he is in this industry. I believe he’ll be a great addition to our team for the next several years.”
In addition, Virginia’s Lisa Weeks in Region II and New Mexico’s Bronson Corn in Region VI were reelected to second terms on the ASI Executive Board. Lynn Fahrmeier of Missouri was selected to represent Region IV, while Ryan Indart of California was elected from Region VIII. Steve Clements and Sarah Smith of those respective regions were term-limited and not eligible for reelection.
The National Lamb Feeders Association elected Kate Harlan of Wyoming to fill the NFLA representative spot on the ASI Executive Board. She replaces her father, Bob Harlan, who also wasn’t eligible for reelection.
That team will have to hit the ground running in 2023 as Congress debates funding for the next Farm Bill. The ASI Executive Board established a list of goals for 2023 late last year and the top priority is to continue to be a “proactive force on legislative issues effecting sheep producers.”
Priorities for the industry in the new farm bill include issues such as reauthorizing an updated marketing loan program for wool, extending the Sheep Production and Marketing Grant program, and Wool Apparel Manufacturers Trust Fund/U.S. Wool Research in addition to funding U.S. Department of Agriculture export programs.
“We’re going to spend a lot of time this year on the Farm Bill,” said Boner. “I just have to keep plugging away at everything I can to keep this industry moving forward. We’ve been blessed with a lot of great leadership in the past, so there’s some pressure not to disappoint.”
Look for complete coverage of the ASI Annual Convention in the March issue of the Sheep Industry News.
ALB Charts Course for 2023
The American Lamb Board elected leadership and set the course for 2023 checkoff programs at its annual meeting on Jan. 18. It’s all aimed at the end goal of increasing demand for American lamb by 5 percent and taking 5 percent market share from lamb imports by the end of 2028 – the target set in ALB’s new strategic plan.
ALB officers and members are Peter Camino, Buffalo, Wyo., reelected chairman; Jeff Ebert, St. George, Kan., reelected vice chairman; Don Hawk, Danville, Ohio, reelected treasurer; David Fisher, Sonora, Texas, secretary; Andrew Allman, Gill, Colo.; Carlos Barba, Naperville, Ill.; Mike Duff, Blackfoot, Idaho; Karissa Isaacs, Milliken, Colo., new member; Dave McEwen, Galata, Mont.; Jimmy Parker, Vinemont, Ala.; Steve Schreier, Tracy, Minn.; Sally Scholle, Littlestown, Penn.; and Gary Visintainer, Craig, Colo.
ALB will begin exploring potential markets for frozen American lamb. And, as the landmark Michigan State University sustainability research goes into its final phase, plans are being made to apply the outcomes to the ALB’s marketing and industry outreach.
The board will continue its strategies of expanding American lamb consumption beyond the traditional holiday meals such as Easter and Christmas and increasing consumer awareness that lamb is a versatile, easy to prepare, nutritious and sustainable protein choice.
Programming planned for 2023 includes a more robust online presence through enhancements to the consumer website content and search optimization; social media content, contests and ads; activation of the consumer enewsletter; and the return of more Lamb Jam events while continuing virtual events.
Sustainability messages will be increased to consumers, including the introduction of grazing videos.
“This is one of the most exciting years I’ve had on the board with the new strategic plan and the innovative programs. But there are programs that underpin it all so these will continue, such as recipes and cookery, influencer partnerships, media relations and consumer research,” said Camino.
Educating about the benefits of American lamb doesn’t stop at home kitchens – chefs will also be targeted to receive information about preparing and serving American lamb for their customers. ALB will continue to support restaurants that are committed to American lamb, including fine dining and fast casual chains.
Reaching foodservice audiences will be accomplished through partnerships with restaurants and suppliers, trade media outreach, culinary events and educational tools for culinary professionals. The vital intelligence of menu tracking and trends monitoring will continue.
“Even with the huge burdens that Covid placed on foodservice – and the loss of so much fine dining – we found a great family dining regional chain – Taziki’s Mediterranean Grill – to introduce a double American lamb burger last year. There’s more to come of that out-of-the-box thinking,” Camino added.
The past two years opened opportunities with retailers as consumers returned to home meal preparation but wanted new options.
“One of the most important efforts we have on the retail front is making sure we support American lamb suppliers who are getting our products into stores,” Camino said.
With the American sheep flock dwindling, ALB will be initiating efforts to encourage additional sheep production while also increasing outreach across the industry about both the American Lamb Checkoff and resources available for the industry. A pilot project will begin to help new and existing producers evaluate the benefits of increasing flock numbers through live and virtual webinars.
“Working closely with industry influencers – such as extension – is critical for this effort,” Camino said.
Local promotional efforts are an important aspect of serving the industry and ALB has again improved its program to assist through grants and free materials. More information is on the industry website at LambResourceCenter.com/funding.
Currency Movements Prompt Dip in Australian Market
After opening the 2023 calendar year with two consecutive rises, the Australian wool market recorded an overall loss this week, albeit a minor one.
The AWEX Eastern Market Indicator dropped 3 cents for the series, closing at 1,308 Australian cents. The drop in the market could be largely contributed to currency movement. Since the close of the previous series, the Australian dollar has gained 1.95 U.S. cents. The majority of Australian wool is traded in USD, so this movement had a noticeable impact on the market. This was reflected in the movement of the EMI in USD terms as the EMI added 24 U.S. cents – a healthy 2.6-percent increase.
Good-style types – particularly those with favorable additional measurement results – attracted the strongest buyer attention. This strong demand meant these types recorded little change when compared to the previous series. In fact, some finer Merino Price Guides recorded overall increases. Most noticeable were 18.5 micron and finer in Melbourne, where the MPGs gained between 6 and 15 cents.
Specialty, non-mulesed wool continued to be highly sought after and attracted large premiums over mulesed types with similar specifications. Lesser-style wools and wools with poor additional measurement results were not as well supported as the better types and were highly irregular. These wools accounted for many of the more than 13.2 percent of wool that was passed in. This figure was 7.5 percent higher than the previous series.
The skirting market followed a similar path to the fleece. Good-style, low vegetable matter types received strong support and recorded little change. Lesser-style wool and higher vm lots did not have the same level of interest and were highly irregular, trending downward.
Next week’s offering reduces as there are currently 42,936 bales on offer nationally.
Click Here for the Full Australian Wool Market Report.
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.
Senate Ag Committee Announces Hearing Schedule
The Senate Agriculture Committee released its hearing schedule to solicit input from the Department of Agriculture as it prepares for the upcoming Farm Bill. Programs in the current Farm Bill begin expiring on Sept. 30.
The committee’s intended schedule:
- Feb.1: Trade and horticulture programs.
- Feb. 9: Commodity programs, crop insurance and farm credit programs.
- Feb. 16: Nutrition programs.
- March 1: Conservation and forestry programs.
- March 16: Agriculture Sec. Tom Vilsack.
Fetterman, Welch Join Ag Committee
On Thursday, the Senate Democratic Steering Committee announced Sens. John Fetterman (Penn.) and Peter Welch (Vt.) would be added to the Senate Agriculture Committee.
The ratio of senators on the committee is expected to change from 11 Democrats and 11 Republicans to 12 Democrats and 11 Republicans for the 118th congressional session. The Republicans are not expected to change their roster for this session.
The additional open Democratic seat resulted from Sen. Pat Leahy’s (Vt.) retirement at the end of last session.
Video of the Week
The Livestock Conservancy announced this week the release of its short film, How to Shear Sheep & Why It’s Important. Directed by Jody Shapiro, the compelling 12-minute film showcases the beautiful dance between sheep and shearer, the importance of sheep shearing to the health and well-being of sheep, and the impact that slow fashion and local wool have on the economy and local community.
Click Here to watch the video.
Source: The Livestock Conservancy