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Festival to Spotlight Women in Ranching

This year’s Sheep Tales Gathering at the Trailing of the Sheep Festival in Idaho will present unique stories from three different ranches in the West.

Marcia Barinaga’s ranching story is steeped in her family’s Basque heritage, starting a ranch on her own in California. What began as a dairy farm has now transitioned into one that produces fiber. Alongside Marcia will be Julie Hansmire’s story of continuing the family ranch after losing her husband. Although a hard-working rancher by day (and often night), Julie tries to make time for a life outside of ranching in Colorado.

Also, not to be missed are the stories of the mother/daughter team of Andrée and Bianca Soares, who manage the family’s commercial sheep and goat business, sharing a commitment to both targeted grazing and protecting the land from the threat of wildfire. This conversation will be moderated by multi-generation Idaho rancher Mike Guerry.

Each fall, the Trailing of the Sheep Festival honors the 150+ year annual tradition of moving sheep (trailing) from high mountain summer pastures down through the valley to traditional winter grazing and lambing areas in the south. This annual migration is living history and the focus of a unique and authentic festival that celebrates the people, arts, cultures and traditions of Idaho’s sheep ranching families, while highlighting the principal contributors – the Basques, Scottish and Peruvians.

The five-day festival – Oct. 5-9 this year – includes non-stop activities in multiple venues focusing on history, folk arts, a sheep folklife fair, lamb culinary offerings, a wool festival with classes and workshops, music, dance, storytelling, and championship sheepdog trials. In addition, the always entertaining Big Sheep Parade with 1,500 sheep hoofing it down Main Street in Ketchum, Idaho, remains a highlight of the festivities.

Click Here for more information.

Source: Trailing of the Sheep


Australian Wool Market Takes Break

The Australian wool market is taking its annual mid-year, three-week recess. Sales will resume in Week 6, the week beginning Aug. 8.


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.

House Passes First FY 2023 Minibus Appropriations Package

This week, the U.S. House approved a six-bill, minibus appropriations package on a 220 to 207 vote. The package includes the Fiscal Year 2023 Transportation and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies; Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies; Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies; Financial Services and General Government; Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies; and Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies funding bills.

The Agriculture appropriations bill provides $27.2 billion – an 8-percent increase compared to FY 2022. The bill includes language supporting the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station, the National Scrapie Eradication Program, Wildlife Damage Management, and Wildlife Services Methods Development.

Several amendments were adopted on the floor. A division-by-division summary can be found here. The text of the Rules Committee Print can be found here. A list of adopted amendments can be found here. The Rule for H.R. 8294 – with a list of all amendments and a description provided by the sponsor – can be found here.

The U.S. Senate is expected to release its FY 2023 appropriations bills sometime next week.

House Holds Hearing on H-2A and H-2B

This week, the House Committee on Education and Labor Subcommittee on Workforce Protections convened a hearing to review and assess the impact H-2 Visa Programs – H-2A and H-2B – have on workers.

Members and witnesses raised concerns that H-2A employers are discriminating against American farm workers and the lack of protection from extortion and workforce abuse endured by workers. Members highlighted the need for the same labor protections afforded to workers in other industries.

Members also criticized the Biden Administration’s immigration policy and handling of the Southern border and said that Congress cannot meaningfully discuss reforming the H-2 Programs until the border is secure and under control. Witnesses noted that employers participating in the H-2 programs – who comply with the many regulations and are subject to oversight from DOL – are frustrated that other employers are hiring undocumented workers with virtually no governmental involvement. It was also stated that from the worker perspective, workers participating in the programs to legally enter the United States are being deterred from doing so due to the high number of migrants crossing the border illegally that still receive similar jobs to those received by H-2 participants

Witnesses encouraged Congress to pass the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, which they stated would give opportunities for farm workers to work in the United States with a path to permanent residency. Additionally, witnesses advocated for the passage of the Fairness for Farm Workers Act, which they said would protect farm workers and afford them the same rights as workers in other industries.

Source: Cornerstone Government Affairs 


Applications Now Being Accepted for Microgrant Program

The Livestock Conservancy Microgrants Program continues to put funding into the hands of its most important conservation partners – those stewarding genetic treasures for the security of tomorrow’s food and fiber systems. The Livestock Conservancy awards more than $22,000 annually in $500 to $2,000 microgrants to farmers, ranchers, shepherds and breed organizations keeping endangered breeds of livestock and poultry from going extinct across the country.

“Small financial awards can make a big difference for heritage breeders,” said Dr. Alison Martin, Livestock Conservancy executive director. “These strategic investments are selected by a panel of judges as excellent examples of livestock conservation in action across the United States.”

Grant applications may be submitted for one of four categories:

  • National Microgrants: Residents and organizations of the United States working with livestock and poultry breeds listed on the Conservation Priority List. Support will be provided through this competitive program for a variety of farm-related operations, including, but not limited to, livestock, poultry, processing, milk, meat and egg production and sales, agritourism, wool milling, promotions and marketing.
  • Youth Microgrants: This U.S.-based program provides funding for youth projects for individuals 8 to 18 years of age who are actively working with breeds listed on the Conservation Priority List.
  • Premier 1 Microgrant: This program provides funding for residents and organizations of the United States working with livestock and poultry breeds listed on The Livestock Conservancy’s Conservation Priority List. Support will include fencing products available through Premier 1 Supplies and other project related needs.
  • Breed Association Microgrants: This program is open to U.S.-based associations and clubs working with breeds listed on The Livestock Conservancy’s Conservation Priority List. Funds are intended to help associations and clubs improve services for their membership and conservation of their breeds. Applicant organizations must be in existence for a minimum of three years, meet their state’s requirements for operating as a business or corporation, be incorporated (no Sole Proprietors or Partnerships), and have board approval to pursue the project. Suitable expenditures of Breed Association Microgrants include, but are not limited to, marketing materials, website improvements, gene banking, software, educational events, developing strategic plans, DNA studies, flock or herd rescues.

Complete applications must be submitted no later than Aug. 19 and include a detailed plan for the use of the grant funds, a clear timeline for achieving proposed goals, a detailed project budget for matching funds or other resources, how the project will impact the breed and other producers, and how you will evaluate the success of your project. Applications should also include two letters of recommendation from a professional relationship or educator. If the applicant is under the age of 18, a letter of support from a parent or guardian is also required.

Click Here for more information.

Source: The Livestock Conservancy


Lamb Board Undertakes Strategic Planning

The world isn’t the same place it was in 2018 when the American Lamb Board released its last long-range plan. As the board undertakes the development of a new strategic plan, it’s facing dynamics never before encountered by the industry.

“Instability in our economy, economic viability of sheep production, consumer uncertainty, increases in non-traditional markets, domestic industry infrastructure deficiencies, supply chain issues and increasing pressures from imports are examples of critical issues top of mind with the board,” says Chairman Peter Camino. “We are determined to find ways for the U.S. Lamb checkoff to help our industry through our role in promotion, research and producer outreach.”

The current plan – which expires this year – prioritizes increasing the quality and consistency of American lamb and regaining market share from imports. Developed and implemented on the heels of the Industry Roadmap, it was a significant refocusing of resources.

“We need to give consumers more reasons to desire and ask for U.S. lamb, even though we are premium priced,” adds Camino. “Our assessment of the past four years shows that we’ve made progress in many areas, but we need to push harder and farther.”

For example, the current plan calls for an increase in retail sales of lamb of 10 percent. The latest IRI sales data and analysis shows a 9-percent increase since 2017.

“We’ve done well with our promotional efforts to get awareness of lamb as a year-round option to add spark to meals,” says Camino.

Source: ALB


Ag Groups Request Support for Beagle Brigade

The American Sheep Industry Association joined a coalition of agricultural associations this week in calling for leaders in both the U.S. Senate and House to support passage of the Beagle Brigade Act of 2022. The bill would authorize the National Detector Dog Training Center.  The center is the primary training facility for the so-called “Beagle Brigade,” which helps protect America’s natural resources and agricultural producers from foreign animal and plant diseases and pests.

“The $1 trillion U.S. agriculture sector is a key component of the American economy and is fundamental to our national security,” read the letter to the majority and minority leaders in both the Senate and the House. “The introduction of foreign animal and plant pests and diseases costs the American economy tens of billions of dollars annually. The Agriculture Canine Teams of the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection perform critically important agricultural inspections at the nation’s ports of entry. These teams play a vital role in trade and travel safety, and work every day to prevent the introduction of harmful foreign animal and plant diseases and pests into the United States. The introduction of foreign animal diseases – such as Foot and Mouth Disease, African Swine Fever, or virulent Newcastle Disease, or plant diseases, such as tomato brown rugose fruit virus, maize lethal necrosis, or citrus greening disease – would have a devastating impact on U.S. agricultural producers, their communities, and the economy if introduced into the United States.

“The U.S. Department of Agriculture trains these dogs and their CBP handlers at the National Detector Dog Training Center in Newnan, Georgia. These specially trained teams are utilized by CBP to sniff out potentially contaminated products at U.S ports of entry, and prevent their introduction into the U.S. The Center also oversees the private adoption of retirement-age trained dogs and dogs that do not complete training. Congress has consistently supported this work, including through the passage of the Protecting America’s Food and Agriculture Act of 2019, which authorized the training of additional canine teams. The Beagle Brigade Act would provide specific authorization for this highly successful training center and lay the groundwork for its continued success in the future. It would also require a report from USDA on current and emerging threats to domestic agriculture and natural resources and improvements that could be made through the Center to minimize these threats.

“We ask Congress to support the National Detector Dog Training Center and the important work done by the Agriculture Canine Teams at our international ports of entry to guard against national security threats, address public safety risks, and grow the economy. To achieve this goal, we urge you to support S. 3678/H.R. 8432.”

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