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Wool Lab Equipment Set to Arrive in August

Equipment for the newly expanded, commercial wool testing lab in San Angelo, Texas, is on its way to the United States after shipping from Australia. Traveling by boat, the equipment is expected to arrive at the Port of Houston around the first of August.

The Bill Sims Wool & Mohair Research Laboratory was established at San Angelo’s Texas AgriLife Research in 1985, but wool testing in the state has been going on for a century. In fact, the lab will celebrate 100 years of operation in August with a special session during the annual Sheep and Goat Field Day.

Lab Manager Dr. Dawn Brown hopes to have the new equipment installed in time for the celebration. The lab’s high-capacity scouring system will allow for six samples to be washed about every seven minutes, while new dryers will allow for 24 samples to be dried every 30 minutes. The commercial testing equipment was built for the Sheep Venture Company – a for-profit subsidiary of the American Sheep Industry Association – and will be made available to the laboratory under a usage agreement.

This is the second year that the New Zealand Wool Testing Authority has provided commercial testing services for American wool. Brown said NZWTA has been a valuable partner in not only handling wool testing but in providing technical assistance and advice in modernizing the Texas lab and ensuring accuracy and consistency between labs.

Click Here for information on sending wool samples to NZWTA, including the recently updated Import Permit.


Managed Grazing Webinar Set for Tuesday

The Skills and Principles of Managed Grazing on Improved Pastures will be the topic of discussion for the next American Sheep Industry Association-sponsored webinar, which will be conducted on July 20 at 8 p.m. eastern time. Woody Lane, Ph.D., of Lane Livestock Services will be the featured presenter.

The webinar will focus on managed grazing – the knowledge of how forages grow combined with the skills of moving sheep, estimating intake, balancing the needs of forages and sheep, and managing pastures by grazing sheep in sustainable and efficient ways.

“We’ll describe how to decide when to open the gate, when to move sheep off the paddock, and practical tips about stocking density, electric fences, weed control, gate latches, the grazing wedge and a new way of describing grazing systems,” according to the webinar description. “Basically, we’ll describe how to manage improved pastures to capture sunlight efficiently and profitably.”

Click Here to register for the free webinar.

Click Here to review previous webinars in the American Sheep Industry Association Let’s Grow-sponsored series hosted by Dr. Jay Parsons of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Lamb Burger Introduced at Taziki’s

The American Lamb Board and Taziki’s Mediterranean Café are working together to promote American lamb with the introduction of the new Taziki’s Lamb Burger. The partnership includes in-restaurant signage and a social media presence.

Taziki’s Mediterranean Café began testing this new lamb addition to its menu on July 12. The test markets for Taziki’s Lamb Burger include Nashville, Tenn., Panama City, Fla., Birmingham, Ala., and the communities of Little Rock and Northwest Arkansas.

According to Taziki’s Mediterranean Café, lamb is one of its most popular protein options and now customers who are fans of lamb gyros or family feasts can experience American lamb in a new way. The Taziki’s Lamb Burger is two patties of savory, seasoned ground lamb, topped with grilled peppers and onions, feta cheese and Taziki sauce served on a grilled kaiser bun.

“We thank Taziki’s Mediterranean Café for their commitment to using American lamb. Serving local lamb supports the nation’s shepherds and their families,” said ALB Chairman Gwen Kitzan. “American lamb is known for its distinctive yet mild flavor, and we are excited for the new seasoned Taziki’s Lamb Burger.”

“Since lamb is a customer favorite, introducing a new lamb product was a priority for 2021,” said Taziki’s Founder Keith Richards. “We believe this new Lamb Burger will be a hit and we look forward to our customers’ valuable feedback.”

Customer response from the four test markets will help determine if the new Lamb Burger will be added to Taziki’s menu nationwide in 2022.

Source: ALB


USDA Plans to Expand Meat Processing Capacity

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced on July 9 that it intends to make significant investments to expand processing capacity and increase competition in meat and poultry processing to make agricultural markets more accessible, fair, competitive and resilient for American farmers and ranchers.

This is one of several key steps that USDA will take to increase competition in agricultural markets, pursuant to President Joe Biden’s executive order on promoting competition and as part of USDA efforts to build a more resilient supply chain and better food system. Together, USDA’s actions will help farmers, ranchers, farmworkers and consumers all get a fair shake.

Specifically, USDA announced its intent to invest $500 million in American Rescue Plan funds to expand meat and poultry processing capacity so that farmers, ranchers and consumers have more choices in the marketplace. USDA also announced more than $150 million for existing small and very small processing facilities to help them weather COVID-19, compete in the marketplace and get the support they need to reach more customers. USDA is also holding meatpackers accountable by revitalizing the Packers and Stockyards Act, issuing new rules on Product of USA labels, and developing plans to expand farmers’ access to new markets.

“The COVID-19 pandemic led to massive disruption for growers, food workers, and consumers alike. It exposed a food system that was rigid, consolidated and fragile. Meanwhile, those growing, processing and preparing our food are earning less each year in a system that rewards size over all else,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “To shift the balance of power back to the people, USDA will invest in building more, better and fairer markets for producers and consumers alike. The investments USDA will make in expanding meat and poultry capacity, along with restoration of the Packers and Stockyards Act, will begin to level the playing field for farmers and ranchers. This is a once in a generation opportunity to transform the food system so it is more resilient to shocks, delivers greater value to growers and workers, and offers consumers an affordable selection of healthy food produced and sourced locally and regionally by farmers and processors from diverse backgrounds. I am confident USDA’s investments in expanded capacity will spur millions more in leveraged funding from the private sector and state and local partners as our efforts gain traction across the country.”

In the coming months, USDA will take additional steps to promote competition and make a series of additional investments under USDA’s Build Back Better Initiative focused on building a better food system.

Click Here to read the full story.

Source: USDA


FSIS to Reduce Overtime/Holiday Fees

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 – enacted on March 11 – provided the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service with $100 million from fiscal years 2021 through 2030 to reduce the amount of overtime and holiday inspection costs borne by official small and very small meat (including Siluriformes), poultry or egg products establishments.

Small and very small plants are critical to the nation’s food supply and USDA is working to strengthen and build fairer markets for these producers through critical infrastructure and business investments. This funding will reduce the financial burden for these plants and help rebuild the economy.

FSIS is committed to supporting small and very small establishments. To implement its ARP provision, FSIS is reducing the overtime and holiday fees for very small and small establishments. The fee reductions will be retroactive back to Oct. 11, 2020, provided the establishments submit the required form before the deadline of March 11, 2022. Establishments are encouraged to submit the form within 30 days of publication of the Federal Register notice announcing the fee reductions.

Based on agency calculations, the $100 million ARP funds will be expended in approximately three years.



Australian Market Makes Solid Run into Break

The Australian wool market held the second sale of the new season – and the last before the annual three-week, mid-year recess – this week. The national offering remained large, with higher prices in the previous series combined with this final selling opportunity, bolstering quantity.

Nationally, there were 49,003 bales available to the trade. With two large offerings to start the season, there have been 34,180 more bales offered than at this point last season – an increase of 51.7 percent. There was strong buyer sentiment from the outset as wool for any orders requiring shipment during the recess needed to be purchased this week. Although toward the end of the series there was a noticeable softening, overall the market recorded general increases.

As Sydney and Fremantle did not sell on the final day of the previous series – where Melbourne recorded solid gains – the individual Micron Price Guides in the North and West had the largest increases, of between 2 and 43 cents. Only the 16.5 micron MPG in the North recorded a loss. The AWEX Eastern Market Indicator added 8 cents for the week, closing at 1,428 Australian cents.

After a noteworthy price of 8,100 cents was achieved in the previous series (the highest in more than three years), that record seasonal price has already been broken – not once but twice. This week a 12.7-micron line of Merino fleece and a 12.6-micron line of Merino necks both sold for 9,000 cents. This was the highest greasy sold price in more than six years.

After struggling last week, the crossbreds were the strongest performing sector this week. Increases of between 24 and 60 cents helped push the crossbred MPGs into positive territory for the season.

Sales will resume the week of Aug. 9.

Source: AWEX


Podcast Celebrates Working Dogs

For millennia, humans have leveraged relationships with canine partners to make a living from the land with greater efficiency, safety and productivity. Whether herding livestock, guarding flocks, eliminating pests and warning of unseen dangers, these unsung heroes of agriculture have been critical to survival and success.

Now, a new podcast gives working farm dogs the credit they deserve. Farm Dog explores the fascinating history and current practice of humans working with dogs to make a living from the land. Its biweekly interview format lets the audience listen in to chats with experts covering individual breed descriptions, dog training advice, real world farm and ranch experiences and more. Herding dogs and livestock guardian dogs are frequent topics, but terriers, hunting dogs, and good ol’ all-around farm dogs are up for discussion, too.

“If it’s a dog, and it produces, protects or provides for our rural lives, we’ll talk about it,” said Aaron Steele, the creator and host of Farm Dog.

Click Here to listen to the podcast.


Breaking Bobby Bones Visits Montana Sheep Ranch

Catch the upcoming edition of Breaking Bobby Bones on the National Geographic channel Sunday at 10 p.m. eastern time as the syndicated radio host challenges himself to master the art of sheep ranching with some help from Montana sheep producer Evan Helle of Duckworth.

“We had a blast shooting this and getting to know Bobby, and we think you will too,” read a Duckworth Instagram post on the upcoming show.

According to the post, the season finale of the show will be available for streaming on a variety of services (Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube TV, Hulu and more) following its premiere on Sunday evening.

Click Here to learn more about the show.

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