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ASI Research Update: Record Keeping

University of Wisconsin-Madison Sheep Unit Research Program Manager Todd Taylor joins the American Sheep Industry Association Research Update podcast this month to discuss Record Keeping for Management Decisions with host Jake Thorne of Texas A&M AgriLife.

“If you take a little bit of time to keep a little better track of issues that are created from day to day and look back at those records, you can get rid of problems quickly and not create more,” said Taylor, who has worked with university flocks in Wyoming, Texas and Wisconsin in his career.

Taylor admitted there’s a bigger emphasis on record keeping in university flocks than there might be with the average commercial producer.

“Everything from vaccination protocols and programs to keeping track of any animal that was sick, specifically what we gave them, how much we gave them, keeping a better track of withdraw dates than what maybe we even do,” Taylor said. “Some of us get a little complacent in our personal flocks. We treat an animal, we try to remember that we treated it, but maybe it doesn’t always get written down or get recorded in a database or anything like that. With university systems, you’re more required to do those things on a day-to-day basis.”

Generally, Taylor keeps records in two areas – health and performance – and both are used in decision making for the flock.

“We’re still doing most of our selection criteria in terms of replacement ewe lambs and buck lambs that we want to keep and grow out based on performance records for the most part and maybe some on pedigree,” Taylor said. “As far as the health things, that’s what we use as probably our ewe culling criteria.”

Click Here to listen to the podcast.


Online Survey Looks at Tagging Challenges

The American Sheep Industry Association is surveying producers on the challenges of tagging animals on the farm or ranch premises.

The purpose of the online survey is to identify what the primary issues/concerns are at the farm/ranch level that limit the application of tags prior to animals leaving the premises. This information will help in identifying technology needs to reduce barriers to on-farm/ranch tagging.

Click Here to take the survey.


Photo Contest Deadline is Approaching

There’s less than two weeks remaining to submit entries in the 2023 American Sheep Industry Association Photo Contest. Winning entries will be featured in the October issue of the Sheep Industry News.

Entries must be received in the ASI office by 5 p.m. mountain time on Tuesday, Aug. 1, to be considered. Only the top three photographers in each category will be notified of their winnings.

Rules and prizes for the 2023 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 prizes of $125 going to the first-place photographer in each of the five categories listed below; $75 for the runner-up in each category; and a $50 prize for third place in each of the five categories.

The five categories in this year’s contest are:

  1. Shepherd/Shepherdess – Photographs of producers, shepherds or others working with sheep.
  2. Scenic (East) – Photographs of sheep outdoors located east of the Mississippi River. Photos entered in this category cannot include people.
  3. Scenic (West) – Photographs of sheep outdoors located west of the Mississippi River. Photos entered in this category cannot include people.
  4. Working Dogs and Protection Animals – Photographs in this category should show herding dogs, livestock guardian dogs or any other livestock protection animal in their natural environments. Photos must also include sheep in some fashion as proof that these truly are working animals.
  5. Open – Photographs with subject matter that does not fall into the four above-listed categories.

Entries should be emailed to Sheep Industry News Editor Kyle Partain at with the subject line of ASI Photo Contest. Those mailing entries should send photos to ASI, Attn: Photo Contest, 9785 Maroon Circle, Suite 360, Englewood, CO 80112.

Click Here for full contest rules and information.

ALB Survey Needs Producer Input

The American Lamb Board is seeking the help of American lamb producers and feeders on their environmental stewardship and other sustainability practices to better inform consumers and direct checkoff programs. Producers can help by completing ALB’s Sustainability Survey, which is open now through Aug. 14.

“It’s so important to have solid data that actually represents what our diverse American lamb industry does, the progress we’ve made, and helps us continually improve productivity, animal care and sustainability,” said Peter Camino, ALB chair from Buffalo, Wyo. “The U.S. lamb industry is often misrepresented, so we need solid, new data to correctly tell our story.”

“The 2023 American Lamb Sustainability Survey will help us communicate with retailers, chefs and consumers. We know people most likely to buy American lamb care about these issues,” he said.

In addition, ALB will use the information to guide its industry education and research efforts so that checkoff funds are invested where they will make the most difference. Findings will be compared to those from a similar survey conducted in 2011.

The survey – which takes about 30 minutes to complete – will help identify areas of improvement and opportunities for further growth to help strengthen the American lamb industry. Upon completion, all producers and feeders who complete the survey will receive an American lamb cap and be entered to win a paid trip (registration, airfare and hotel) to the 2024 American Sheep Industry Association Annual Convention.

Strict privacy standards are in place. Responses will not be identified with specific individuals. Please note that there are a few mandatory questions at the beginning of the survey that require specific data so responses can be properly categorized. It might be helpful to have this data on hand before you begin the survey. These questions are listed below, but as the survey is customized based on your production system, only some of these questions are applicable:

  • Number of acres your flock grazes on in a typical year.
  • Percentage of forage land you lease rather than own.
  • Average age of ewes that lambed in 2022.
  • Number of ewes culled in 2022.
  • Number of replacement ewe lambs retained in 2022.
  • Number of ewes in your 2022 flock.
  • Number of lambs docked/marked in your 2022 flock.
  • Number of lambs weaned in your 2022 flock.
  • Number of lambs marketed/finished in 2022.

Source: ALB


Festival to Host Pen of Three Competition

The Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival will once again host a pen of three commercial carcass competition.

The Pen of three competition is an opportunity for sheep producers – including 4-H and FFA members – to receive both a live evaluation by a commercial lamb buyer and indexing measurements taken after harvest to determine loin eye, back fat and leg score to assist them with genetic, breeding and feeding decisions for their respective flocks. The competition is open to members of the Wisconsin Sheep Breeders Cooperative. Entries are $25 per pen.

During the live evaluation, a lamb buyer will be available to answer questions regarding factors important for placing, purchasing and transport of lambs. There will also be a presentation: A Market Perspective, which will take place in the Indoor Arena. There is no cost to attend the presentation.

Sheep producers participating in the event will also be on hand to discuss their sheep, the breed and breeding program, feeding, management and their views regarding this reality-based competition.

Participation by the public is also encouraged. Interested festival goers can place pens according to their preference and estimate the loin eye size of a lamb of their choice. Results of this portion of the event will be posted in the online version of the Wisconsin Shepherd and on the Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival website.

Payouts will be based on live and carcass evaluation. The Meat Science and Biologics Discovery Building Meats Lab is buying the lambs.

Click Here for more information and to enter the competition.

Through the support of an American Lamb Board grant, the festival welcomes Nick Forrest to its Sheep 101 and Producer Education series. With more than 35 years as a lamb producer, Forrest brings to both producer and consumer audiences the experience of 45 years as a meat, deli and bakery manager for Kroger Company, past American Lamb Board president, American Culinary Federation of Cincinnati board of directors, director on the American Sheep Industry Association’s Lamb Council and director of the American Lamb Roadshow. He is currently working with Four Hills Farm in sales and as a merchandiser for Ohio Whole Foods stores promoting fresh American lamb.

Forrest will present educational sessions on Friday, Saturday and Sunday covering such topics as how to sell lamb to ethnic, meat and farmer’s markets and restaurants. He will provide examples of lamb producers and their businesses and offer resources to help producers in promoting American lamb.

On Sunday, partnering with the Dairy Sheep Association of Wisconsin, he will bring his culinary skills and knowledge to a special consumer educational session in the Activity Center on cooking with lamb using Wisconsin sheep cheeses.

Source: WSBC


Suffolks Plan Sheep Genetics Webinar

The United Suffolk Sheep Association is hosting a free Sheep Genetics 101 webinar with Joe Emenheiser, Ph.D., of the University of Connecticut on Monday at 8 p.m. eastern time.

The webinar will also be available live on the association’s Facebook page, and archived on the USSA website after the live presentation.

Click Here to register on Zoom.


Archived Guard Dog Webinar Now Available

For producers who missed a recent webinar titled Livestock Protection Dogs: Research and Use, an archived version of the webinar is now available.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services and USDA/Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s Sheep and Goat Sector hosted the webinar in mid-July. Dr. Dustin Ranglack of Wildlife Services was joined by Colorado sheep producer Julie Hansmire and Texas A&M AgriLife’s Bill Costanzo in discussing the use of livestock protection dogs.

WS supports innovative and effective approaches for managing conflicts between humans and wildlife. One potentially valuable strategy is the use of LPDs. LPD breeds originated in Europe and Asia, where they have been used for centuries to protect livestock from wolves and bears. LPDs have been used in the United States since the mid-1970s. To view recent publications on Wildlife Services’ LPD research, please see: Search Results – WS Digital Collections (

Click Here to view the webinar.



Leadership School Develops Industry Leaders

Preparing the next generation of leaders for the American lamb industry is critical to a viable future. The American Lamb Board continues to support the National Lamb Feeders Association’s Howard Wyman Leadership School because it provides education and networking opportunities for young sheep producers.

The 2023 school took place on July 9-13 in Columbus, Ohio. During the five-day event, 28 participants were lead through the Lamb 509 program hosted by Ohio State University, an educational program designed to enhance sheep producers’ understanding of meat quality and marketing. The hands-on program included live animal evaluation and carcass fabrication.

Educational sessions covered grid marketing, use of ultrasound, nutrition throughout lamb growth, impacts of stress on meat quality and use of lamb cuts including value-added products, plus a cooking demonstration and sampling. The group spent the final day touring Ohio sheep production locations, including a stop at ALB board member Don Hawk’s Skyline Farm and the Mt. Hope Auction.

“The Howard Wyman Leadership School is a great way for young American lamb producers to learn about a cross-section of the lamb industry,” says ALB Chairman Peter Camino, Buffalo, Wyo.

The school is named for NLFA organizer Howard Wyman and emphasizes the feeding, marketing, harvesting and merchandising of lamb and lamb products. Attendees must be at least 20 years of age and are selected through an application process. Each year, the school is held in a location that facilitates tours of lamb farms/ranches, feedlots, processing facilities and marketing outlets.

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.

House Committee Will Consider Ag-FDA Spending Bill

On July 14, the House Committee on Rules announced it may meet the week of July 24 to provide for floor consideration of H.R. 4368, the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2024.

The committee advised members to have amendments submitted by Wednesday of this week. The bill was approved by the full Committee on Appropriations on June 26 following a long and contentious markup. Movement on the bill might be complicated by the House Freedom Caucus, which sent a letter last week to Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) saying they would not vote on appropriations bills unless FY2024 spending is cut to $1.47 trillion – the FY2022 spending level.

Democrats have strongly opposed the proposed cuts, but Democratic votes might be needed to pass the bills. Ag-FDA Subcommittee Chairman Andy Harris (Md.) did not join the letter. Without passing the bills or a continuing resolution, a partial government shutdown would occur beginning on Oct. 1.

House Interior-Environment Appropriations Bill

On Wednesday, the House Appropriations Committee held a full committee markup of the Fiscal Year 2024 Interior-Environment Appropriations Act. The bill included budgetary cuts to programs surrounding the Environmental Protection Agency, Arts and Humanities, and the Bureau of Land Management.

All amendments raised were heavily debated amongst party lines. Key points of contention revolved around Republican credibility and Democratic spending. The bill was ultimately reported favorably out of committee with a 33-27 vote.

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