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SSQA Module Available on AWA Website

A temporary version of the American Sheep Industry Association’s Sheep Safety and Quality Assurance module is now available to producers through the American Wool Assurance website.

Completion of the SSQA module is required for Level 1 certification in the AWA program, but the technology used in running the module needed some updating in making the move from the ASI website to the AWA website. Producers who have previously completed the SSQA module are not required to complete it again as part of the AWA process.

ASI began development of an industry-wide quality assurance program in 1991. Since then, through cooperative agreements with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Colorado State University, the University of Minnesota, and Texas A&M University, ASI has conducted a quality audit of meat, wool and milk from American sheep. In the final report of that audit, industry problem areas were identified, and preventative management strategies to assist in the reduction of quality challenges were developed. The mission of the SSQA program is to maximize consumer confidence in, and acceptance of, sheep products by using research and education to improve management during the production of safe and high-quality sheep products.

The SSQA module is undergoing a complete overhaul that is expected to be completed in 2022, but until that time producers can move forward in AWA certification with the temporary module. Updates to the module will include: information on production management, product quality consistency practices, animal well-being, sustainability and biosecurity. The new SSQA module will also offer a user-friendly manual, pocket resource guide, website and learning courses.

Click Here to learn more about the AWA and SSQA programs.


Michigan Producers Win ALB Video Contest

Great Lakes Lamb of West Branch, Mich., is the newest spokesman for American lamb with videos that highlight its focus on animal care, care of the land and the family’s role in the effort.

Great Lakes Lamb hopes telling its story will shed light on lamb production and producers’ commitment to sustainably producing quality lamb, and will help put trust in America’s farmers and ranchers and local food systems. Great Lakes Lamb was recently named the winner of the 2021 Industry Storytelling Video Contest sponsored by the American Lamb Board.

“We live here, we work here and we play here,” the Bristols and Palms said in their video. “We have a long farm heritage. We’ve been called to work as shepherds, and our family enjoys working together to raise lamb and find a comfortable balance between animals, plants and our shared environment.”

Great Lakes Lamb is owned and operated by Jim and Sherrie Bristol, along with their daughter and her husband, Elaine and Rick Palm. Around 600 sheep make their home on the farm, with meat lambs sold to market and by direct sale. Fine micron wool is sold through Mid-States Wool Growers Cooperative with the goal of becoming base-layer clothing for the United States military.

“It’s a pleasure to raise food for our own family and a bonus to raise food for others’ families,” said Sherrie, who is always quick to share her favorite recipes for kabobs, bratwurst, loins, burgers and sliders.

Providing quality meat means putting animal health front and center. Sheep are fed homegrown hay, corn, beans and barley. They are monitored daily for parasites and overall health, and ewes are sheared prior to lambing for cleanliness and easy nursing.

Great Lakes Lamb takes just as much care with its land. An environmentally verified cropping system through the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program, the company uses cross fencing for rotational grazing, frost seed and no-till plant to establish healthy forages, and has created a farm-wide system of livestock water access.

The entire family participates in the operation with duties ranging from sheep and crop care to mechanical prowess to communication with consumers and other producers. The family employs the latest in technical advancements, including tracking data in an electronic record keeping system and regular soil testing for pasture management. They are active members of the Michigan Sheep Producers Association, Michigan Farm Bureau and Mid-States Wool Growers Cooperative, working through channels for industry improvement, and regularly highlight farm operations through blog posts on their website.

Through its Industry Storytelling Video Contest, ALB enabled producers to share their stories with consumers, letting them see the people behind the product, and the hard work and dedication to quality that goes into American lamb. The videos will be used by ALB in its online and social media communications to consumers.

Source: ALB


SSWS Biosecurity Posters Available for Download

Biosecurity posters on protecting the sheep flock to prevent disease exposure for Farm Activities, Visitors with Direct Sheep Contact, and Visitors without Direct Sheep Contact are now available at

These 8.5 by 11-inch, full-color posters can be downloaded and printed for use on any operation. The posters are available in English and Spanish.

Click Here to download the posters.


Australian Wool Market Made Big Gains in 2020-21 Season

This week was the final sale of the 2020-21 Australian Wool Selling Program. The Fremantle region returned, raising the national offering to 42,847 bales. The total offering for the year climbed to 1,782,009 bales – 311,292 more bales than the previous season for an increase of 21.2 percent.

From the outset, buyer sentiment was not as strong as in recent weeks, resulting in price reductions across all Merino fleece microns. By the end of the series, the individual Micron Price Guides across the country had fallen by between 22 and 93 cents. These losses – combined with reductions in Merino skirtings and most crossbred types – were responsible for a 45-cent drop in the AWEX Eastern Market Indicator. The EMI closed the series and the season at 1,423 Australian cents.

Although the market finished on a softer note, the season as a whole was full of positives. The EMI opened this season at 1,110 Australian cents and then added a total of 313 cents for the year – an increase of 28.1 percent. When viewed in U.S. dollar terms, the EMI opened at 771 USc and added 299 USc – an increase of 38.7 percent. The previous season, the total dollar amount sold through the auction system was $1,972.74 million. For this season the total amount sold was $2,246.72 million.

The higher prices this season resulted in more wool reaching grower reserves. Compared to the 2019-20 season, the overall national passed-in rate fell by 5.4 percent to 11.6 percent. The highest greasy price of the season was 4,900 cents, which was achieved by a line of 12.8-micron Merino fleece in May.

Next week is the opening sale of the 2021-22 season and this sale is traditionally one of the larger sales on the program. That is due partly to sellers taking the first opportunity to sell into the new financial year. At that sale, 54,982 bales are expected to be offered nationally.

Source: AWEX


Additional Counties Approved for Emergency Grazing

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has now authorized emergency haying and grazing on Conservation Reserve Program land in 1,021 counties in the United States, most of them in the West. The list of counties has grown 4 percent in the last week.

Every week, USDA updates a map of counties eligible for emergency haying and/or grazing. As of June 24, the most recently published list of counties with permitted haying and grazing on CRP land includes 1,021 counties, or 32 percent of counties.

Of those counties, 860 have been designated in 2021. In June alone, emergency haying and grazing on CRP acres was authorized in 196 counties. Between June 17 and June 24, 39 counties were added to the designation list – an increase of 4 percent in one week.

Click Here to read the full story.

Source: Western Ag Network


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