Image of sheep

Wildlife Services Looks Back at Agency’s History

Ein 2022, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service celebrated its 50th anniversary. In honor of that event, the Information Services Unit at Wildlife Services’ National Wildlife Research Center created an online storymap on the history of the Wildlife Services program.

“Having knowledge of our history not only reveals where we came from, but also helps us to understand the present and create a better future,” wrote Janet Bucknall, deputy administrator for Wildlife Services. “I encourage you to take a few minutes to browse this engaging summary filled with historical pictures and descriptions. The story begins in 1885 with the establishment of the USDA’s Bureau of Biological Survey and travels to our time as part of the Department of the Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from 1940 to 1985.

“In 1986, we were transferred back to the USDA under APHIS, where we remain today. In addition to name changes, the storymap highlights how our mission and focus has expanded to reflect our nation’s changing needs and advances in wildlife damage management and research. I want to thank ISU archives technician Kellie Nicholas for her work on this effort and the WS employees who helped to review the information.”

Click Here to view the storymap.

Source: Wildlife Services 


Advanced Shearing Clinics Planned

Five 3Q Shearing Clinics have been planned for North America in the next two months. These are advanced clinics for shearers with some experience.

Shearers looking to improve their technique and make their job cleaner, faster and easier will find the course rewarding. By developing the correct technique and footwork and pairing it with the right equipment, shearers will be able to shear at a greater capacity for the day, the month, the year and even their career.

Instructors for the clinics will include veteran Australian shearer Mike Pora and champion Scottish shearer Gavin Mutch.

Clinics are scheduled as follows:

  • 24-27 in Texas. Contact Reid Redden at 830-591-3213.
  • 27-28 in South Dakota. Contact Mike Hagens at 701-220-6636.
  • 4-5 in Montana. Contact Brent Roeder at 406-980-0719.
  • 4-5 in Manitoba, Canada. Contact Russell Eddy at 306-620-3083.
  • 7-8 in Oregon. Contact Jake Valentine at 541-253-1034.

Administration Invests in Meat Supply Chain

U.S. Department of Agriculture Sec. Tom Vilsack on Thursday announced the Biden-Harris Administration is investing $9.6 million across the country and taking several other steps to help farmers, ranchers, processors and rural businesses diversify the nation’s meat supply.

“USDA is putting the needs of farmers, ranchers and consumers at the forefront of the Biden-Harris Administration’s work to strengthen the resiliency of America’s food supply chain while promoting competition,” Vilsack said. “USDA has undertaken a department-wide approach to coordinate ways to deliver more opportunities and fairer prices for producers, to give people access to healthier foods, eliminate bottlenecks in the food supply chain and ultimately lower prices for consumers.”

Sec. Vilsack announced 25 new investments to increase independent meat processing capacity – seven of which include a mention of lamb or sheep meat.

The department is awarding 23 Value Added Producer Grant program grants (six that mention lamb) totaling $3.9 million to help producer-owned companies process and market new products. USDA is also providing guarantees for a total of $5.7 million in loans to two companies (one that mentions lamb) through the Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan Program using American Rescue Plan funding. This program supports new investments in infrastructure for food aggregation, processing, manufacturing, storage, transportation, wholesaling and distribution.

Through these two programs, USDA is investing in 25 projects in California, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

Companies receiving funds that mentioned lamb or sheep in their project descriptions include:

  • Bottomland Prime, LLC, Texas, $4,950,000 for acquisition of a custom meat processing facility.
  • Five Marys Farms, LLC, California, $250,000 for processing and supplies.
  • Hufendick Farm Inc., Illinois, $250,000 for expansion into a retail butcher shop.
  • Apple Creek Farm, LLC, Maine, $250,000 to expand processing, marketing and sales.
  • Todd Family Meats, Montana, $48,173 for marketing, processing and packaging.
  • Studley Farms of VA, LLC, Virginia, $250,000 for marketing, processing and packaging.
  • Widnor Farms, LLC, Washington, $249,521 for supplies, processing and marketing.

Source: USDA


Wool Pellets to Sell at

Wild Valley Farms recently announced that Lowe’s Home Improvement has decided to carry Wool Pellets in its online store at (starting in March). The product is also under consideration for in-store placement for 2024.

“This has big implications. If Wool Pellets are picked up for in-store placement, we estimate Lowe’s will purchase 1.5 million pounds of wool pellets annually for their stores,” read an email from Albert Wilde of Wild Valley Farms. “We would like to encourage every sheep producer or friend who has any plants or buys any fertilizer/plant food to make a small investment of about $13 and buy a bag of wool pellets from Lowe’s will be using 5 percent of each sale to promote Wool Pellets.”

For the last six years, Wild Valley Farms has been reinvesting 100 percent of its wool pellet profits to promote and expand this new innovative wool market.

Click Here to learn more about Wool Pellets.

Source: Wild Valley Farms


Range Management Meeting Set for Boise

Registration is now open for the Society for Range Management’s 2023 Annual Meeting, which will be conducted Feb. 12-16 in Boise, Idaho.

The 76th Annual Meeting will take place at the Boise Centre and The Grove Hotel. While the conference will be an in-person event, a majority of the sessions will be available for streaming for those who wish to attend virtually.

A sheep-centered session is planned for Monday, Feb. 13. The symposium agenda includes:

  • Welcome and Regional Setting – Mike Guerry, Idaho Sheep Producer.
  • The Sheep Industry in the 21st Century – Dan Macon, University of California Cooperative Extension.
  • The Woolly West and Rangeland Stories: History, Culture & Tradition from the West’s Sheepscapes – Andrew Gulliford, Ft. Lewis College.
  • From Forage to Fiber: Innovations in Wool – Brent Roeder, Montana State University Extension Sheep Specialist.
  • Innovations in Range Sheep Diet Selection Research – Melinda Ellison, University of Idaho Extension.
  • Not Just Little Cows: What We Know About Rangeland Sheep Diets – Derek Scasta, University of Wyoming.
  • Current Research at the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station – Brett Taylor and Hailey Wilmer, U.S. Department of Agriculture.
  • Innovators Panel – John Helle, Duckworth Wool; Reed Anderson, Anderson Ranches; and Bianca Soares, Talbott Sheep/Star Creek Land Stewards.

A full slate of technical tours, sessions and meeting events are planned for the five-day conference. Pre-registration is available through Jan. 13. Registrations after that date must be processed onsite.

Click Here for more information.

Source: Society for Range Management


Texas Producer Featured on Global Podcast

Podcasts are gaining popularity among sheep producers as valuable learning tools. The American Lamb Board – a participant in the Global Sheep Forum’s Next Generation Podcast Series – announces the forum’s latest podcast features Brady Rose Evans of Defaid Livestock Company of Texas.

The American Sheep Industry Association’s Young Entrepreneur group nominated Brady to be the first U.S. podcast participant in the series. The Evans family has been in the Texas sheep and goat industry since the mid-1990s, but it was not until Brady returned home in 2016 that the family moved to a commercial Dorper operation, and Defaid Livestock Company officially began. Although commercial based, the Evans’ offer registered seedstock and club lambs, along with retail lamb cuts that come straight from Defaid Livestock pastures to their customers’ plates.

“We view the Global Sheep Forum’s Next Generation program as a way for the U.S. industry’s young producers to learn what their peers in other countries are doing to be more successful, and considering how that knowledge might benefit them locally,” says ALB Chairman Peter Camino. “Reaching out to new and established sheep growers with tools to increase productivity, efficiency and hopefully profitability is a significant focus of the Lamb Checkoff as we enter 2023.”

The Global Sheep Forum’s website is the best way to access Brady’s podcast, plus other episodes from the Next Generation series.

To access more resources from ALB, go to

Source: ALB


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.

EPA, Corps of Engineers Release New WOTUS Rule

On Dec. 30, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers announced the final “Revised Definition of ‘Waters of the United States’” rule, which will be effective 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register.

The new rule defining waters of the United States under the Clean Water Act maintains longstanding exemptions for farming activities, but also trims back an exclusion for prior converted cropland that had been in the Trump Administration’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule. Although the new rule has been released, it might be short-lived depending on the outcome of the Supreme Court’s current case on WOTUS, Sackett v. EPA.

Below is a list of changes made in the new rule:


  • Allows for streams and wetlands that meet either the “significant nexus” test former Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy created in Rapanos v. United States or the conservative majority’s “relatively permanent” standard to fall under the scope of the law.
  • Reverses the Trump Administration’s vast retraction of authority over “ephemeral” streams that flow only in response to precipitation.
  • Restores protections to millions of acres of wetlands that fell outside of federal jurisdiction under the Trump rule, both because of the change to ephemeral streams and because of changes in which wetlands get protected.
  • Expands a set of categorical exclusions from those the agency initially proposed, including for wetlands that were converted to cropland before 1985, ditches carved wholly in dry land that don’t carry relatively permanent flow, and artificial lakes and ponds.

Sen. Stabenow to Retire

On Thursday, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (Mich.) announced that she would not seek reelection in 2024.

“When my term ends, I intend to begin a new chapter in my life that includes to serve our state outside of elected office while spending precious time with my amazing 96-year-old mom and my wonderful family,” Stabenow said.

She currently serves as chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, and also chairs the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee. Stabenow’s official date of retirement will be Jan. 5, 2025.


Video of the Week

The latest Our Amazing Grasslands video from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service features former South Dakota State University Extension Sheep Field Specialist Dave Ollila and his family from Newell, S.D.

Click Here to watch the video.

Skip to content