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July 26 ASI Weekly


ASI Awarded Trade Promotion Funds

    The American Sheep Industry Association was one of 48 organizations awarded funds last week through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Trade Promotion Program to help offset the effects of an ongoing trade war between the United States and China.

The 48 recipients are among the cooperator organizations that applied for $200 million in ATP funds in 2018 that were awarded earlier this year. As part of a new round of support for farmers impacted by tariffs imposed by China, those groups had the opportunity to be considered for additional support for their work to boost exports for American agriculture, food, fish and forestry products.

ASI requested $1.7 million in ATP funds, and was awarded $1.5 million to assist in developing new markets for American wool and sheepskins. ATP is a cost-share program that is designed to reimburse non-profit agricultural trade organizations, non-profit state and regional trade groups, agricultural cooperatives and state agencies that conduct approved foreign market development activities and have suffered damages as a result of tariffs.

The American wool and sheepskin industries have most certainly seen the effects of 10 and then 25-percent tariffs that have been placed on their products going into China – which has long been the top buyer of American wool and sheepskin exports.

From September 2018 to March 2019:

  • The total dollar value of wool exported to China has dropped 85 percent (when compared to the previous year). China was the top market for raw wool and consumed 72 percent of total American wool exports.
  • The total dollar value of sheepskins exported to China has dropped 67 percent (when compared to the previous year). China was also the top market for sheepskins and consumed 80 percent of American sheepskin exports.

“The American wool and sheepskin industries are thankful that USDA leaders have noticed the detrimental effects of tariffs on our products, and that they have included ASI in the most recent round of ATP allocations,” said ASI Deputy Director Rita Samuelson. “We’ll put this money to use to develop new markets and expand existing markets for these quality American products.”

Funds from the program will be used to support the quality samples program, trade missions, trade fairs and other marketing programs to increase the visibility of American wool and sheepskins in countries where manufacturing is on the rise or in countries that don’t currently use American wool or sheepskin products in their manufacturing.

Click Here for a list of groups that received funding in both January and July of this year.

In addition to support for American wool, USDA plans to purchase up to $17 million in American lamb meat through the Agricultural Marketing Service’s Food Purchase and Distribution Program. The purchase is part of a $1.4 billion buy of surplus commodities of fruit, vegetables and meat.

The purchased products will be distributed through the Food and Nutrition Service to food banks, schools and other outlets serving low-income individuals.

AMS will buy affected products in four phases, starting after Oct. 1, with deliveries beginning in January 2020. The products purchased can be adjusted between phases to accommodate changes due to: growing conditions; product availability; market conditions; trade negotiation status; and program capacity. AMS will purchase known commodities first. By purchasing in phases, procurements for commodities that have been sourced in the past can be purchased more quickly and included in the first phase.

To expand the AMS vendor pool and the ability to purchase new and existing products, AMS will ramp up its vendor outreach and registration efforts. AMS has also developed flyers on how the process works and how to become a vendor for distribution to industry groups and interested parties. Additionally, AMS will continue to host a series of free webinars describing the steps required to become a vendor. Stakeholders will have the opportunity to submit questions to be answered during the webinars. Recorded webinars are available to review by potential vendors, and staff will host periodic Question and Answer teleconferences to better explain the process.

Click Here to learn more. 


Montana Chalks Up Another Victory for U.S. Sheep Experiment Station

    On Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Dana Christensen issued an order in favor of the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station. The order came on an appeal of an earlier decision denying Cottonwood Environmental Law Center, Gallatin Wildlife Association and the Yellowstone Buffalo Foundation’s motion to enjoin sheep grazing in the Centennial Mountains along the Montana/Idaho border.

In noting that this was the third round of motions in the third lawsuit filed by the plaintiffs on this matter, the court found again that the threshold for an injunction had not been met. The plaintiffs in this appeal argued irreparable harm would be caused by grazing sheep due in part to claimed new information not included in the environmental decision-making process. They also argued that due to sheep grazing they “cannot enjoy the Continental Divide Trail” for fear of being chased by grizzly bears and “cannot hike with their dogs on the Continental Divide Trail for fear they will be bit by aggressive sheep guard dogs.”

These arguments were augmented by their final claim that sheep grazing would result in irreparable harm to their interest in making the area secure for dispersing grizzly bears.

In a brief decision on the merits – given the court’s knowledge of these issues from the lengthy prior record (see Montana Judge Sides with U.S. Sheep Experiment Station, June 14, 2019 ASI Weekly) – the court ruled against the plaintiff’s request for an injunction. The court cited specifically that the information presented was considered in the environmental decision-making process, and the complete lack of any information that the hiking scenarios were likely or that sheep grazing would have adverse effect on grizzly bears.


ASI Looking to Fill Executive Assistant Opening

    The American Sheep Industry Association is looking to fill the position of executive assistant at the association headquarters in Englewood, Colo.

    The assistant serves as administrative support for the executive director’s office. This includes communications with the executive board, board of directors and officers in coordination with the executive director. This position provides administrative and program assistance to all aspects of the association. As an extension of the executive director, the assistant handles duties that create an effectively functioning office.

Job Duties include: Provides administrative assistance to the executive director, deputy director and program managers; manages correspondence and member updates with member organizations including industry partners, associate-, individual- and state-membership programs; programs and manages the ASI telephone system, computers, mailing/shipping system, office supplies, copiers and printers; organizes and oversees the executive board and annual board of directors meeting; responsible for all of the organization’s database information, including input and management to ensure distribution of email list for the weekly mailing, newsletter and producer addresses for monthly tabloid, council/committee member information, annual state member updates and industry and government lists; coordinates with the executive director on the regular office schedules of staff, including absences and travel; coordinates the weekly staff meeting; manages the wool outreach application and reporting process, manages the scrapie outreach application and reporting process.

    ASI is looking for a candidate with four years of experience in administrative support; experience in office management; superior writing, communication and record organization skills; proficient computer skills, including competency in Microsoft Office Word, Excel, Outlook, Access and Adobe Acrobat; and a proven team member in an office environment.

    Resumes should be sent to by Aug. 5, for consideration. Questions and requests can be addressed to Peter Orwick at 303-771-3500, ext. 103 or Rita Kourlis-Samuelson at ext. 105.


SustainaWOOL Finds New Home at AWEX

    New England Wool Pty Ltd and Italian fabric makers Successori Reda and Vitale Barberis Canonico have transferred ownership of The SustainaWOOL Integrity Scheme to the Australian Wool Exchange.

SustainaWOOL launched in 2015 in response to demand from consumers and retailers. Since its inception, more than 950 farms have been accredited, making it the largest sustainability program in the wool industry worldwide.

“The SustainaWOOL Integrity Scheme provides wool producers the opportunity to showcase the efforts that allow them to produce a quality and sustainable product from their valued stock,” said Andrew Blanch, Managing Director of New England Wool. “We want to share the opportunities with all wool producers and users around the world to help us work and grow together in an increasingly competitive and sustainability conscious landscape.”

In a landmark decision to expand the program to all professional wool producers in Australia, the owners, developers and managers of SustainaWOOL signed a memorandum of understanding in May 2019 to relinquish 100 percent ownership of the program to AWEX, a fully independent industry body.

Globally, customers of wool are demanding evidence of sustainability through independent and credible integrity programs.

Click Here for more information. 


Video of the Week

Brooklyn Tweed of Portland, Ore., recently visited with Diego Paullier of Chargeurs to take a look at the start of the process involved in creating the company’s worsted-spun yarns. The yarns are 100-percent sourced, scoured, spun and dyed in the United States.

Look for more on Brooklyn Tweed and the company’s unique, breed-specific yarns in the September issue of the Sheep Industry News.

Click Here to watch the video. 

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