Court Rules in Favor of Public Lands Grazing
A federal district court in Washington ruled definitively against plaintiffs Western Watersheds Project and WildEarth Guardians this week in their lawsuit seeking to halt domestic sheep grazing on allotments in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. The Western Resources Legal Center represented grazing permittee Martinez Livestock in the case.
In part, the plaintiffs had argued that the U.S. Forest Service violated the National Environmental Policy Act by continuing to authorize grazing on the allotments without assessing new information related to potential interactions between domestic sheep and bighorn sheep.
U.S. District Judge Thomas O. Rice of the Eastern District of Washington found that plaintiffs’ concerns were “premature,” given that the Forest Service had acknowledged it had already begun the process of conducting supplemental NEPA analysis.
This win is a testament to the value of membership with industry associations such as the Public Lands Council and the American Sheep Industry Association, which strengthens WRLC’s ability to help in the courtroom. The court’s decision relied on Congress’s “unequivocal” delegation to the Forest Service and other land management agencies to set the priority and timing of environmental reviews for grazing decisions under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act and that, while such reviews are ongoing, the terms and conditions of grazing permits “shall be continued.” 43 U.S.C. § 1752(i), (c)(2).
These important provisions help ensure the government’s backlog of NEPA reviews do not negatively impact public lands ranchers – and were codified via a congressional appropriations rider in 2014 largely thanks to the hard work of PLC.
Congratulations are also in order to Martinez Livestock, whose exemplary grazing record was instrumental in defeating the plaintiffs’ previous preliminary injunction motion. Along with data showing an upward trend of bighorn sheep populations in the area and robust use of best management practices, the court had cited the Martinez’s record in finding that alleged risks to bighorn sheep were highly speculative.
Click Here for the court’s ruling.
Young Entrepreneur Tour Set for Aug. 10-11
The American Sheep Industry Association’s Young Entrepreneurs are planning a two-day tour to follow the American Lamb Board’s Lamb Summit in Michigan in August. Set for Aug. 10-11, the tour will include stops devoted to both the wool and lamb aspects of the industry.
The tour will kick off on Aug. 10 from Lansing, Mich. – site of the Lamb Summit – and travel to Zeilinger Wool Company in Frankenmuth, Mich. A stop at North Bay Fiber, a lamb lunch at Highway Brewing Company and a visit with Great Lakes Lamb are also planned for the first day. Matchett Sheep Farm and the Michigan State University Sheep Teaching and Research Unit top the schedule on the tour’s second day as attendees will arrive back in Lansing that evening.
Cost for the tour will be $200 per person, and those interested in attending should email Cody Chambliss at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible.
Click Here to join the ASI Emerging Entrepreneurs Facebook group and connect with young sheep producers all across the United States.
Click Here to register for ALB’s Lamb Summit.
WS Advisory Committee Seeking New Members
The American Sheep Industry Association is accepting applications from producers who would like to be nominated to serve on the National Wildlife Services Advisory Committee. Interested parties should submit the necessary background information form to ASI Executive Director Peter Orwick at email@example.com by July 15.
The advisory committee provides guidance from diverse stakeholders interested in the Wildlife Services program – including, agriculture, wildlife management, animal welfare, and public health and safety interests. Annual meetings of the NWSAC allow the public an opportunity to participate and provide input to the Secretary of Agriculture on overall policy and guidance for the operation of the WS program, resources to accomplish the WS mission, impacts of depredating wildlife, public health and safety problems created by birds and other wildlife, and research activities and priorities to address wildlife damage management needs.
The committee also serves as a public forum enabling those affected by the WS program to have a voice in the program’s policies. The committee was created by the Secretary of Agriculture under the Federal Advisory Committee Act, and members are appointed for a two-year term. Committee members are chosen to represent the diverse interests in the WS program and the multitude of industries to whom we provide services.
Click Here for the background information form.
Australian Wool Market Rebounds
The Australian wool market rebounded this series as an overall increase was predominantly driven by increases in Merino fleece types. With only Sydney and Melbourne in action this week, the national offering reduced to 31,097 bales – the smallest in nine months.
Main buyer focus continued to be on good style wools – higher than 63 percent dry yield – low vegetable matter wool – less than 1.2 percent vm – and wool possessing favorable length and strength measurements. The competition on these lots was intense at times. As buyers fought hard for these lots, the prices achieved gradually increased as the sale progressed. Lesser style wool and higher vm lots also increased, as buyers attempted to secure quantity as the market rose.
By the end of the series, the individual Micron Price Guides in Sydney and Melbourne for Merino fleece types had risen by between 18 and 70 cents and the continued support in the finer microns now has the 17 MPG at a near four-year high. Merino skirtings tracked a similar line with the better types attracting the most support.
The oddment market was again the weakest performing sector this week. Reduced buyer demand for locks, stains and crutchings resulted in the Merino Carding indicators dropping by an average of 15.5 cents. The falls in this sector prevented the EMI from recording a larger increase.
Fremantle returns to the selling roster next week, pushing the national offering higher. Currently, there are expected to be 37,994 bales on offer with all three centers in operation.
Click Here for the Full Australian Wool Market Report
Taziki’s Offers Lamb Burgers for Summer
Taziki’s Mediterranean Café and the American Lamb Board are partnering on a summer promotion to offer a new burger, made with 100 percent American lamb. Taziki’s Lamb Burger is made up of two griddle-cooked, seasoned lamb patties on a toasted kaiser bun with feta cheese, sliced tomato, grilled onions and peppers, and Taziki sauce.
“Taziki’s is known for serving fresh ingredients and we thank them for their commitment to using American lamb in their lamb burgers. Serving local lamb supports the nation’s shepherds and their families,” said Peter Camino, ALB chairman from Buffalo, Wyo.
The Mediterranean Burger concept featuring 100 percent American lamb was tested last year in a limited number of Taziki’s locations with great success and sales that exceeded expectations. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., Taziki’s Mediterranean Café has 90 locations spanning 16 states nationally, with most locations in the Southeast. If you have a Taziki’s near you, be sure to check it out.
Click Here for a list of locations.
To celebrate the lamb burger launch, Taziki’s is giving away Blackstone griddles and a Taziki’s prize pack. A social media campaign and signage in all 90 locations are also part of the summer promotion.
“We’re excited to put our unique Taziki’s twist on the current lamb popularity boom,” said Taziki’s CEO Dan Simpson. “We know our customers are looking for a hearty summer meal, and the lamb burger is the perfect comfort food.”
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.
Senate agriculture subcommittee holds hearing on western water crisis: On Tuesday, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Subcommittee on Conservation, Climate, Forestry and Natural Resources met with witnesses to discuss the western water crisis. The purpose of this hearing was to confront climate change induced issues, as well as determine how to build resilient forests and farmlands. Witnesses testified on how climate change is the driving factor for problems the West is facing, such as drought and wildfires, which impacts producers and communities alike.
Sen. Michael Bennet (Colo.) opened discussion by addressing climate change caused catastrophes. Mr. Mueller stated that rain provides 65 percent of water for the Colorado River, which 40 million people depend upon. However, every time the average temperature rises 1 percent, the average water level falls anywhere from 3 to 9 percent, crippling an already strained water table and impacting not only farmers and ranchers, but also urban areas. Mr. Lewis said that across the West, aquifer water supply is diminishing due to current agriculture practices. Although farmers and ranchers are somewhat adaptable when it comes to water usage, current practices are unsustainable due to the volatility of predicting rainfall.
Sen. Tuberville, Sen. Bennet and Sen. Marshall all asked the witnesses questions related to what policies they believe need to be enacted in the 2023 Farm Bill. Mr. Willis and Dr. Herbert suggested that programs such as the Conservation Reserve Program and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program need to be flexible in order to fit farmers’ needs. Mr. Willis stated that many farmers are interested in these programs, but due to the ridged nature, farmers are not willing to “bet the farm” on these programs in case they hurt their bottom line. Dr. Schultz also stated that she would like to see policy related to forestry that helps reduce fuel loads, remove invasive species, and offers a long-term investment in local communities, as well as funding for land-grant institutions to research climate smart practices. Mr. Lewis advocated for better investment on irrigation technology to help reduce overall water usage.
Doug McKalip announced as chief agricultural negotiator nominee: On Wednesday, the Biden Administration announced its’ intent to nominate Doug McKalip to assume the position of chief agricultural negotiator at the Office of the United States Trade Representative. Prior to this, McKalip has served in positions in both the White House and the USDA and has most recently served as senior advisor to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack.
His nomination comes after criticism from the agricultural industry over the unfilled position. The Biden Administration nominated Elaine Trevino to serve in the role last year, but she was unable to be confirmed due to “paperwork issues” and withdrew her nomination. McKalip is well regarded on both sides of the aisle and is expected to be confirmed.
Source: Cornerstone Government Affairs
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