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Congressional Leaders Call for Lamb Plant Investigation

JBS USA Holdings Inc. is expected to close today on its purchase of the Mountain States Rosen lamb processing facility in Greeley, Colo., but a number of congressional leaders from five Western states have asked Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim to investigate the acquisition.

“We understand that JBS is not the first potential buyer to express interest in the MSR facility. An earlier interested buyer intended to continue operating MSR’s Greeley facility and even expand its capacity,” read the letter from senators and representatives for California, Montana, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming. “However, it appears that after submitting a winning bid during bankruptcy proceedings, JBS is preparing to completely shut down all lamb processing at the site.

“We urge you to immediately open an investigation into this acquisition and take appropriate steps to prevent irreversible actions that might harm the ability of American sheep ranchers to get their products to market until the department can determine how best to protect competition in this significant part of America’s food supply.”

Signers of the letter included U. S. Senators John Barrasso (Wyo.), Steve Daines (Mont.), Mike Lee (Utah), Mitt Romney (Utah), M. Michael Rounds (S.D.) and John Thune (S.D.). U.S. Representatives who signed the letter included: Rob Bishop (Utah), Liz Cheney (Wyo.), Greg Gianforte (Mont.), Dusty Johnson (S.D.), Devin Nunes (Calif.) and Chris Stewart (Utah).


ASI Photo Contest Deadline is Monday

The deadline is fast approaching for the 2020 American Sheep Industry Association Photo Contest. The deadline to submit photos is Monday, Aug. 3, at 5 p.m. mountain time.

The top three finishers in each category will receive a cash prize and be featured in the October issue of the Sheep Industry News.

ASI made a change in adding a working dog category in 2019 and it was well received. This year, the association would like to invite those with other protection animals (llamas, donkeys, etc.) to submit photos in that category, as well.

Otherwise, rules and prizes for the 2020 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 awards of $125 going to the first-place photographer in each of the five categories; $75 for the runner-up in each category; and a $50 prize for third place in each of the five categories. Again, entries must be received in the ASI office by 5 p.m. mountain time on Monday, Aug. 3, to be considered. Only the top three photographers in each category will be notified of their winnings.

Click Here for complete contest rules.


AMS Announces Lamb Solicitation

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service issued a solicitation this week for the procurement of lamb products. Bids are due by Wednesday, Aug. 5, at 1 p.m. central time.

The solicitation is pursuant to the AMS Master Solicitation for use in the National School Lunch Program and other Federal Food and Nutrition Assistance Programs. Acceptances will be announced by midnight, Aug. 14. Deliveries are to be made between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31.

Products covered in the solicitation include 159,600 pounds of bone-in lamb chops and 160,000 pounds of lamb shanks.

Lamb items will be produced using previously frozen commercial stockpiles of lamb cuts and/or current fresh chilled lamb cuts. Finished product derived from cuts that have been previously frozen may not be comingled with finished product derived from fresh chilled cuts. Previously frozen cuts must be offered for examination and processing not more than nine months from the initial production date, provided they were vacuum-packaged and packaged in commercial containers that were adequate to maintain product excellence during freezer storage. The date of production and freezer records to document that the lamb cuts were stored at 10°F or below shall be made available to the AMS agent at the time of examination.

Questions about the procurement should be directed to Chanel Robinson at 202-690-3154 or

Source: USDA/AMS


Let’s Grow Webinar: Secure Sheep and Wool Supply Plan

Danelle Bickett-Weddle, associate director of Iowa State University’s Center for Food Security and Public Health, will lead a webinar entitled Protecting the Flock from Highly Contagious Diseases – Resources in the Secure Sheep and Wool Supply Plan on Aug. 4 at 8 p.m. eastern time.

The online webinar is the latest in a series of free webinars sponsored by the Let’s Grow Program of the American Sheep Industry Association. As always, Dr. Jay Parsons of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln will serve as the webinar host.

The most highly contagious disease of livestock is foot and mouth disease, and it remains a threat in almost 100 countries around the world. Sheep are referred to as the “silent shedders” among livestock species susceptible to this devastating animal disease. Preparedness and response planning for FMD has taken center stage in recent years. Learn about this disease, how the United States plans to respond should it be diagnosed in North America, and ASI’s Secure Sheep and Wool Supply Plan for continuity of business resources available to protect the flock.

Click Here to register for the webinar.


BLM, WS Renew Joint Commitment to Public Safety

The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service-Wildlife Services on Wednesday renewed their partnership for alleviating human-wildlife conflicts on BLM-administered public lands.

An updated Memorandum of Understanding clarifies respective roles and responsibilities for wildlife damage management and reducing predation on livestock across more than 245 million acres of public lands, mostly in the West and Alaska. The MOU will remain in effect for five years and replaces the previous agreement, signed in 2012.

“Under the Trump administration, the BLM has increased access to and recreational opportunities on public lands. Reaffirming our partnership with APHIS-Wildlife Services allows us to take steps to protect the safety and the recreational experience of public land visitors and their pets while helping to ensure abundant wildlife,” said BLM Deputy Director for Policy and Programs William Perry Pendley. “We also recognize the livestock community, as well as those with small children and pets in the urban-rural interface areas, must be protected from attacks by dangerous predators.”

“APHIS-WS and the BLM are federal partners who have collaborated for decades to protect people, livestock and natural resources on public lands. This newly signed MOU continues and refines that important tradition,” said Wildlife Services Deputy Administrator Janet Bucknall.

The MOU recognizes the importance of recreational activities on public lands. Both agencies will carefully evaluate the safety and recreation experiences of public land visitors and their pets prior to undertaking wildlife damage management activities in support of other multiple use management objectives.

Both agencies are committed to ensuring that any wildlife damage management activity on BLM National Conservation Lands will be consistent with the requirements of designating legislation or proclamations and other applicable laws. The BLM will share relevant information for meeting these requirements during its review of APHIS-WS annual plans and will complete a Minimum Requirements Analysis for any activities APHIS-WS proposes to conduct in Wilderness areas.

The BLM and APHIS-WS will continue to coordinate regularly and closely to ensure that wildlife damage management activities are analyzed under the National Environmental Policy Act. APHIS-WS will serve as the lead agency in preparing NEPA analysis of damage-management activities and the BLM as a cooperating agency, except in situations where the BLM specifically requests APHIS-WS assistance in managing wildlife damage on public lands it administers. In these instances, the BLM will serve as lead and APHIS-WS as cooperating agency. The BLM managers will continue to review APHIS-WS wildlife damage management plans annually and provide information, so these plans conform with the BLM resource management plans.

Source: BLM


USDA Investigating Unsolicited Seed Packages

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is aware that people across the country have received suspicious, unsolicited packages of seed that appear to be coming from China. USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is working closely with the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection, other federal agencies and state departments of agriculture to investigate the situation.

USDA urges anyone who receives an unsolicited package of seeds to immediately contact their state plant regulatory official or APHIS State plant health director. Please hold onto the seeds and packaging, including the mailing label, until someone from your state department of agriculture or APHIS contacts you with further instructions. Do not plant seeds from unknown origins.

At this time, USDA doesn’t have any evidence indicating this is something other than a “brushing scam” where people receive unsolicited items from a seller who then posts false customer reviews to boost sales. USDA is currently collecting seed packages from recipients and will test their contents to determine if they contain anything that could be of concern to U.S. agriculture or the environment.

USDA is committed to preventing the unlawful entry of prohibited seeds and protecting U.S. agriculture from invasive pests and noxious weeds. Visit the APHIS website to learn more about USDA’s efforts to stop agricultural smuggling and promote trade compliance.


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