Sheep Producers Account for $26.6 Million in CFAP Payments
American sheep producers have collected more than $26.6 million in payments from the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program according to numbers released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture this week.
Payments for lambs and yearlings accounted for more than 91 percent ($24,366,284.11) of money paid to the American sheep industry. Producers also benefitted from wool payments – $1,368,303.22 for non-graded wool and $894,354 for graded wool.
“America’s sheep producers are struggling just like everyone else during this difficult time for our country,” said American Sheep Industry Association President Benny Cox. “We thank the Trump Administration, Congress and the U.S. Department of Agriculture for not only recognizing those struggles, but for taking action to assist the industry financially.”
ASI played a key role in showing losses and projected damage – $125 million at the farm gate – within the sheep industry as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. That information was part of the decision-making process as USDA worked to develop this vital assistance program. And ASI continues to reach out to USDA and congressional supporters to address additional losses within the industry – specifically coverage for replacement and cull ewes. USDA announced this week the addition of a handful of specialty crops not covered in the original program announcement, and it is expected to do the same for livestock in the near future.
As of July 6, the CFAP program had approved 365,262 applications and paid out $5.364 billion to American agricultural producers. Livestock accounted for just more than 50 percent of all CFAP payments at $2.7 billion. USDA releases updated data on CFAP payments each Monday at www.farmers.gov/cfap/data.
USDA Announces Initial Vaccine Bank Purchase
The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced Thursday the initial purchase of vaccine for the National Animal Vaccine and Veterinary Countermeasures Bank. APHIS will invest $27.1 million in foot-and-mouth disease vaccine, which the agency would use in the event of an outbreak to protect animals and help stop the spread of disease.
“While we are confident we can keep foot-and-mouth disease out of the country, as we have since 1929, having access to vaccine is an important insurance policy,” said USDA Marketing and Regulatory Programs Under Secretary Greg Ibach. “Vaccines could be an important tool in the event of an incursion of the disease in the United States, but their use will depend on the circumstances of the incursion and require careful coordination with the affected animal industries.”
The American Sheep Industry Association worked with all of livestock to ensure the vaccine bank was included in the 2018 Farm Bill. ASI greatly appreciates the efforts of Under Secretary Ibach and the USDA to secure this vital resource. This vaccine bank ensures sheep producers will have access to a critical lifeline if they ever need it and is a major component of the industry’s Secure Sheep and Wool Supply Plan.
Vaccination helps control the spread of infection by reducing the amount of virus shed by animals and by controlling clinical signs of illness. While an outbreak would temporarily disrupt international markets, vaccination would allow animals to move through domestic production channels. Foot-and-mouth disease is not a threat to public health or food safety. It is also not related to hand, foot and mouth disease, which is a common childhood illness caused by a different virus.
The NAVVCB is one component of a three-part program established by the 2018 Farm Bill to comprehensively support animal disease prevention and management. The new United States-only vaccine bank – a concept APHIS officials have long discussed with stakeholders and industry – makes a much larger number of vaccine doses available than are currently available through the North American Foot and Mouth Disease Vaccine Bank. APHIS will continue to participate in the North American Foot and Mouth Disease Vaccine Bank, and this new program adds to the nation’s level of protection against this devastating disease. In the event of an outbreak, animal health officials would decide when, where and how to use the available vaccine, based on the circumstances of the outbreak.
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Interior Scraps Grizzly Restoration in North Cascades
U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt announced this week at a roundtable with community members in Omak, Wash., that the Department of the Interior will not move forward with a Grizzly Bear Restoration Plan for the North Cascades Ecosystem and the associated Environmental Impact Statement.
“Representative Newhouse has been a tireless advocate for his community and his constituents regarding plans to reintroduce grizzly bears into the North Cascades Ecosystem,” said Sec. Bernhardt. “The Trump Administration is committed to being a good neighbor, and the people who live and work in north central Washington have made their voices clear that they do not want grizzly bears reintroduced into the North Cascades. Grizzly bears are not in danger of extinction, and Interior will continue to build on its conservation successes managing healthy grizzly bear populations across their existing range.”
“This announcement is welcomed by my constituents in central Washington who have consistently shared my same concerns about introducing an apex predator into the North Cascades,” said U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse (Wash). “Homeowners, farmers, ranchers and small business owners in our rural communities were loud and clear: We do not want grizzly bears in north central Washington. I have long advocated that local voices must be heard by the federal government on this issue, and I am enormously grateful to Secretary Bernhardt for not only listening to our concerns and opinions, but for delivering this news in person, right here in north central Washington.”
The department began planning the environmental review process for an updated Grizzly Bear Restoration Plan for the North Cascades Ecosystem in February 2015 under the Obama Administration without comprehensive public involvement and engagement. Beginning in 2017, the department held numerous public meetings, tribal consultations and more than 70 stakeholder briefings, during which overwhelming opposition was received for the plan. Two public review and comment periods were facilitated on the Draft EIS, receiving more than 143,000 comments.
Australian Market Soars into Mid-Year Recess
This week was the last auction buying opportunity for buyers for nearly a month, as next week is the beginning of the annual mid-year, three-week recess. Any wool required for export orders during that time needed to be purchased this week.
The upcoming recess pushed demand higher as exporters fought hard for the wool on offer. Nationally, there were 35,262 bales available. When compared to the previous season there have been 1,320 more bales offered – an increase of 2 percent. The increased demand pushed prices higher across most merino fleece types.
The individual Merino Price Guides across all three centers generally rose by 5 to 92 cents. The 17.5-micron MPG in the south recorded the largest increase for the series. The only MPGs to fall for the series were the 18.5 to 19.0 in the north and south, which recorded 5- to 17-cent drops. Rises in the MPGs pushed the AWEX Eastern Market Indicator up by 18 cents for the series. The EMI closed the week at 1,134 Australian cents – a 1.5-percent rise. When viewed in USD terms, the increase was slightly higher. The EMI rose by 14 US cents to 787 US cents – a rise of 1.8 percent.
Most sellers were again keen to accept the prices on offer as the national passed-in rate was only 6.2 percent. The EMI has now risen for two consecutive weeks, recording positive movements for the first two weeks of the 2020-21 selling season and gaining 24 cents during this time.
The crossbred sector recorded little change as most crossbred MPGs were unchanged from the previous week. Only the 26.0-micron MPG in the south recorded movement. A 50-cent increase in this MPG equated to a 6-percent rise.
As mentioned earlier, the annual mid-year recess begins next week. Sales resume the week of Aug. 3.
ASI Photo Contest Deadline is Aug. 3
Mark your calendars now, as the deadline for the 2020 ASI Photo Contest is Aug. 3. All entries must be submitted by 5 p.m. mountain time on that date. The top three finishers in each category will receive a cash prize and be featured in the October issue of the Sheep Industry News.
ASI made a change in adding a working dog category in 2019 and it was well received. This year, the association would like to invite those with other protection animals (llamas, donkeys, etc.) to submit photos in that category, as well.
Otherwise, rules and prizes for the 2020 contest are the same as last year. Photographs entered in the contest will be judged on clarity, content, composition and appeal. More than $1,000 will be awarded, with awards of $125 going to the first-place photographer in each of the five categories; $75 for the runner-up in each category; and a $50 prize for third place in each of the five categories. Again, entries must be received in the ASI office by 5 p.m. mountain time on Monday, Aug. 3, to be considered. Only the top three photographers in each category will be notified of their winnings.
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