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SHF Scholarship Awarded to Wyoming’s Newman

Courtney Newman of the University of Wyoming has been selected as the winner of the 2022 American Sheep Industry Association Sheep Heritage Foundation Scholarship, which awards $3,000 to a deserving student pursuing an advanced degree in an area of study that will lead to the advancement of the American sheep industry.

“I’m so honored and very thankful for the opportunity to receive this scholarship,” she said. “It will make a huge difference in my studies.”

Working on her master’s degree in Laramie, Wyo., Newman is looking at how blockchain technology might fit in with the American sheep industry.

“A digitized database that is shared and modified cryptographically, blockchain technology would allow us to preserve each past transaction and give each member on the system a copy of all prior transactions related to the item, adding value for the increased available information,” she wrote in her scholarship application. “We are currently working on three proof-of-concept studies relating to wool, small- and medium-sized meat processors, and live animals/animal health.

“Blockchain technology is an emerging technology and not much tangible work has been done to see where it fits into the agriculture model. Consumers keep asking for more information about where their food comes from and blockchain may be a solution to help pass this information along, providing more value back to the producer. A combination of proof-of-concept work and multiple surveys will allow us to see where the industry is at in terms of acceptance, perceptions, and will help us begin to understand the costs and benefits associated with the integration of technology. The project has an expected completion date of May 2023.”

Newman interned with Mountain States Rosen for a summer, which led to collaborating with Dr. Cody Gifford of the University of Wyoming on a research project entitled Estimating Commercial Lamb Carcass Value Within USDA Yield Grade and Camera Grade as Carcass Weight Changes. She’s also interned with Superior Farms at the company’s Denver plant.

Newman led the university’s efforts to receive certification of its sheep flock through ASI’s American Wool Assurance Program. The school’s flock was the first in the United States to reach Level III – Certified status in the 2-year-old program.

“I’m grateful that this scholarship is truly an investment in the future generation of our industry,” wrote Dr. Whit Stewart of the University of Wyoming in recommending Newman. “Having received this prestigious scholarship in 2015, I can say that Courtney is more deserving than I was at that stage in my career. She’s the type that reassures me that our industry will be in good hands amidst the challenges the future will bring.”


Australian Wool Market Slides into Recess

In the final sale before the mid-year recess, the Australian wool market recorded an overall loss for the third consecutive series. It was the largest sale in 29 months with 55,210 bales offered during the week. Combined with the last sale, the first two weeks of the season offered 104,070 bales, which made it the largest opening fortnight to a wool selling season in 18 years.

Although the wool on offer received good overall buyer support, prices steadily declined during the first two days of selling. Main buyer support continued to be in the good-style, higher-yielding types, particularly those possessing favorable additional measurement results. These types were the least affected by the falling market, as opposed to the lesser-style types. The falls in the Merino fleece combined with losses in the skirtings, crossbred and oddment sectors pushed the AWEX Eastern Market Indicator down by 20 cents on the first day and then by a further 6 cents on the second. Despite a week-on-week fall of 19 cents, the EMI goes into the three-week recess on a positive note after rising 7 cents on the final day of selling. It was a Melbourne-only roster on Thursday and the rise snapped a six-day losing streak – the longest in almost four months.

There continues to be strong interest in some specialty, non-mulesed types, and buyers are prepared to pay large premiums to secure these wools. An example of this was a line of 20.2 micron wool that sold for 1,774 cents clean. This line attracted a premium of more than 330 cents as similar type and spec mulesed lots were selling for around 1,430 cents.

The market pauses beginning next week for the annual mid-year, three-week recess. Sales will resume in Week 6, the week beginning Aug. 8.

Click Here for the Full Australian Wool Market Report.

Source: AWEX


Wyoming Wool Initiative Has Lofty Goals

Last year, the University of Wyoming Sheep Program launched the UW Blanket Project, designing, creating and selling limited edition blankets made from the wool of the UW sheep flock. Those blankets sold out in three months to 29 states and three countries. Now, that program has become the Wyoming Wool Initiative, and it’s more than just blankets.

The initiative used the funds from last year’s blanket sales to buy a sock machine, which will be housed at Mountain Meadow Wool in Buffalo, Wyo. The mill partnered with the school to create last year’s blankets. The socks will be made with wool from Wyoming producers.

“Being number one in the country in terms of wool production and value, it’s important that we have [an] immediate tie back to our producers,” said Whit Stewart, UW Extension’s sheep specialist and head of the initiative. “And so that’s something that we’ll continue to expand upon with the program.”

The initiative is unique because it’s self-sustaining. The proceeds from last year’s blanket sales funded the purchase of the sock machine, and sales from this year’s limited-edition blankets, the socks and any future products will continue to fund it.

Not only that, the initiative wants to give back to the Wyoming sheep industry by sharing research and information.

“But we don’t need to be the source of saying ‘Here are the products that need to be made, and this is how it’s done.’ We want to be the clearinghouse of information for private industry to come to us and say, ‘How do I make this work? How can you help me connect the dots?’ That’s really what we’re leveraging,” said Stewart.

This year’s blankets will be available mid-August from the book store. Due to supply chain issues, the delivery of the sock machine from Italy was delayed, and the socks will be available after further research and development. Stewart said they hope to have at least two patterns available and may partner with design students in the future to create limited edition runs.

Source: Wyoming Public Radio


Conservancy Offers Training for Breed Associations

Breed association officers and registrars have few resources for training and continuing education. Beginning Aug. 18, The Livestock Conservancy will offer a series of online workshops addressing best practices to help organizations identify gaps and improve their organizational management.

This training series aligns with the best practices required for accreditation, so it will be especially beneficial to officers and leaders of breed associations and clubs. The training is divided into nine modules, with the live online training held from 6:30 to 7:30 pm eastern time on the third Thursday of each month.

Organizations or individuals may register for a single module or for the entire series. The cost is $35 per module or $280 for the series. Module fees may be applied to an organization’s accreditation application.

  • FREE Session: Breed Organization Accreditation Program Overview and Cultivation Leadership Breed Organization Training Q&A, Aug. 18.
  • Module 1 – Establishing and Managing Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws, Sept. 15.
  • Module 2 – Managing Membership, Oct. 20.
  • Module 3 – Developing a Board of Directors Part 1, Nov. 17.
  • Module 4 – Developing a Board of Directors Part 2, Dec. 15.
  • Module 5 – Ensuring Accountability and Transparency, Jan. 19, 2023.
  • Module 6 – Managing External Communications, Feb. 16, 2023.
  • Module 7 – Managing Internal Communications, March 16, 2023.
  • Module 8 – Managing Risk, April 20, 2023.
  • Module 9 – Managing a Herdbook and Registry, May 25, 2023.

Click Here for more information.

Source: The Livestock Conservancy


Cornerstone Provides Legislative Update

The American Sheep Industry Association’s lobbying firm – Cornerstone Government Affairs – offered an update this week on legislative issues in Washington, D.C.

FY 2023 Appropriations

U.S. House Democratic leaders are working to move all 12 Fiscal Year 2023 appropriations bills before the August recess. The bills have been combined into two, six-bill omnibus packages. The first package – H.R. 8294 – contains Transportation, House, and Urban Development, Agriculture, Energy and Water Development, Financial Services, Interior and Environment, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs.

Specifically for the American Sheep Industry Association, the House Interior Appropriations report includes language about bighorn sheep and grazing allotments.

BIGHORN SHEEP: The committee is aware that the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management use the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ occupied bighorn habitat maps, telemetry data and recent bighorn observations in conducting Risk of Contact analysis, and that risk of contact models are currently being run on a statewide basis where sufficient data exists. The committee expects the agencies to continue to share findings transparently and promptly with other federal land management agencies, state and local governments, state wildlife agencies, and state and federal animal health professionals, including the Agricultural Research Service, permittees and stakeholders.

This will ensure the inclusion of the most directly affected interests in a common understanding of the Risk of Contact analysis, the search for suitable alternative allotments, and the development of options for wild and domestic sheep. The USFS and BLM are further directed to continue to engage the Agricultural Research Service, research institutions, state wildlife agencies and other scientific entities to ensure the best professional scientific understanding of the risk of disease transmission between domestic and bighorn sheep is known before making management decisions that impact permittees.

VACANT GRAZING ALLOTMENTS: The Bureau of Land Management and USFS are directed – to the greatest extent practicable – to make vacant grazing allotments available to a holder of a grazing permit when lands covered by the holder of the permit or lease are unusable because of drought or wildfire.

The House Ag Appropriations bill maintains funding for the National Scrapie Eradication Program and the Wildlife Services Methods Development at the FY 2022 level, and carries language about the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station. The bill also includes a $1.25 million increase for Wildlife Damage Management.

U.S. Sheep Experiment Station: The committee recognizes the unique and valuable contributions the USSES makes toward increasing production efficiency and improving sustainable rangeland ecosystems. The committee is pleased by the collaboration of a diverse variety of stakeholders on the use of pastures, monitoring of wildlife interactions and studies of mutual interest. The committee encourages ARS to engage directly with stakeholders and state and federal agencies with biological expertise to expand research programs and urges ARS to continue engaging collaborators to ensure the station functions as an agricultural research facility while also evaluating opportunities through a domestic livestock/wildlife collaboration.

The House Rules Committee is scheduled to meet next week to grant a rule for a structured amendment process for floor consideration. The House will then consider the second, six-bill package the following week.

While the House continues to move through the appropriations process, timing in the U.S. Senate is uncertain. The Senate has yet to reach a consensus on the defense and non-defense spending numbers the appropriations subcommittees need to draft their bills. Further complicating things, Senate Appropriations Chair. Patrick Leahy (Vt.) is currently recovering from surgery after he broke his hip. With the delay, Congress is expected to pass a continuing resolution and conference the bills after the election.

Hearings for the 2023 Farm Bill

The House Agriculture Committee is preparing for the 2023 Farm Bill with several hearings. The Committee is also scheduled to meet this week to discuss Title VIII, Forestry, and Title V, Credit, with specific interest in the state of credit for young, beginning and underserved producers. The committee will also meet next week to discuss stakeholder perspectives on Title XI, Crop Insurance.

Drought conditions intensifying across the U.S.

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor has showcased expanding drought conditions across much of the Corn Belt. The National Drought Migration Center stated that areas of Illinois, Missouri and Indiana all faced flash drought conditions last month. These conditions have since spread across the Midwest and are now beginning to affect the Eastern Corn Belt. Northeastern parts of Nebraska and Northwestern parts of Iowa have both maintained persistently dry conditions.

The NDMC also stated that the Delta region has experienced variable conditions and is still under intensive watch. According to the drought monitor map, the U.S. drought conditions have increased to 44.3 percent. This is a 2-percent increase from the previous week and a 5-percent increase from three weeks ago.

Source: Cornerstone Government Affairs


ALB Hosts San Francisco Cooking Demo

Mention Nik Sharma to cooking enthusiasts and it’s likely you’ll attract attention. Perhaps it’s because of how he uses an extensive background in biochemistry to understand flavor. Or perhaps it’s just because his food is so delicious and unique.

The American Lamb Board brought Sharma back to the San Francisco area for an exclusive cooking demonstration on July 7. Sharma demoed two lamb recipes, Lamb Kofta with Almond Gravy and Lamb Chops with Scallion Mint Salsa from his latest cookbook, The Flavor Equation. Both this and his first cookbook, Season, have been finalists for several accolades, including from the James Beard Foundation.

“This event is one marketing tactic by the Lamb Board that is reaching consumers and food influencers most likely to purchase our product,” said ALB Chairman Peter Camino. “The reach of this one event will go well beyond just those who attend through use of social media and the power of word-of-mouth in the food community.”

Several years ago, Sharma moved from Bombay, India, to America to study molecular genetics. Much to the vexation of his parents, he quit his career in science and transitioned into cooking. His blog, A Brown Table, became very successful and led to new opportunities in his career. Recently, he launched a rapidly growing weekly newsletter, This Is a Cook-Letter.

Sharma is a contributor to the New York Times and was the former food columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle. He has also written for Food and Wine Magazine, Taste and Saveur. His columns appear regularly in Serious Eats, a website with more than 7 million visitors a month, The Guardian Feast and the Food52 website, which reaches more than 25 million people monthly.

Source: ALB


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