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ASI Requests CFAP Coverage for Replacement and Slaughter Ewes

The American Sheep Industry Association filed comments on Thursday after the U.S. Department of Agriculture requested additional information on commodities not covered in the original Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.

In comments from ASI President Benny Cox of Texas, ASI requested that replacement and slaughter ewes be deemed as eligible commodities under the CFAP program.

“The American sheep industry appreciates the inclusion of lambs and yearlings (2 years and younger) and wool as eligible commodities under CFAP,” Cox wrote. “This has provided a level of much needed relief to a vast number of producers who experienced significant price declines and additional marketing costs due to the impacts of COVID-19 on the lamb and wool markets this year. However, sheep producers have also experienced COVID-19 induced losses of more than 5 percent for both replacement ewes and slaughter ewes during the mid-January to mid-April 2020 period.”

But that wasn’t the only issue addressed in ASI’s comments.

“We take this opportunity to provide additional comments for consideration regarding the CFAP for lambs/yearlings and wool. While recognizing the limitations of the program, the one-quarter of production from mid-January to mid-April does not accurately capture the full extent of the COVID-19 price declines and resulting impact on producer losses. The impacts of COVID-19 on the lamb market were prolonged well into May and continue to weigh on the American sheep industry.

“In late May, prices for slaughter lambs and yearlings had fallen to levels not seen in over a decade. Many producers did not have the opportunity to sell lambs and yearlings until after the mid-April date. As a result, these producers who experienced the worst of the price declines due to COVID-19 are not being fully compensated for their losses.

“Regarding wool, the production time period does not align well with the shearing season. The sheep shearing season continues well into May and June. For many sheep producers, particularly those located in the intermountain west, the mid-April date precludes many sheep producers being able to apply for assistance using their 2020 wool inventory and therefore are not being fully compensated for the losses on their wool clip due to COVID-19.”

The comment period is open through June 22.

Click Here to read ASI’s full comments.

Click Here to submit your own comments.


CFAP Livestock Webinar Set for Tuesday

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service announced the schedule of webinars designed to assist farmers and ranchers in applying for direct support through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.

Sheep producers will want to pay special attention to the webinar on Tuesday, June 16, at 3 p.m. eastern time, which is designed to cover non-specialty crops and livestock. Another webinar is scheduled for June 18 on Farm Service Agency programs.

Producers are also reminded of the CFAP Call Center that is available for producers who would like additional one-on-one support with the CFAP application process. Call 877-508-8364 to speak directly with a USDA employee.

Click Here for more information on the webinars.

Click Here for ASI’s COVID-19 resources.


Livestock Groups Oppose Great American Outdoors Act

As currently constructed, the Great American Outdoors Act won’t solve the United States government’s problem of adequately maintaining its public lands, which is why the American Sheep Industry Association joined the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Public Lands Council this week in opposing the pending legislation.

The Senate voted Friday in a procedural vote to advance the Great American Outdoors Act by 65 to 19. The bill still faces additional votes in the Senate, which are expected to take place on Monday, before final passage in that chamber.

“As introduced, the GAO Act, and every other bill that preceded it that contained similar provisions, is an irresponsible way to fix a very real problem,” read a letter sent from ASI, NCBA and PLC to Senate leaders earlier this week. “Currently, land management agencies like the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, and Bureau of Land Management face a staggering backlog of much-needed maintenance. Without question federally owned and operated infrastructure needs serious attention, but the GAO Act does not provide a meaningful and lasting solution.

“Federal agencies currently have more assets than they can afford to maintain. The GAO Act simultaneously recognizes and attempts to address this while also providing hundreds of millions of dollars each year for the government to buy more land through the Land and Water Conservation Fund. This approach is counterproductive and will result in a larger federal estate that will require increasing maintenance over time. It’s also worth noting that the bill does nothing to change the way federal agencies prioritize maintenance of assets so that history does not repeat itself. Simply providing funding without action to prevent future maintenance backlogs will only result in compounding maintenance challenges.

“The GAO Act provides for $900 million in mandatory funding for LWCF as a whole, meaning that at least 40 percent, or $360 million, each year will be eligible to buy land resources across the country. The federal government already owns more than 640 million acres, controlling a vast majority of the American West. More federal ownership is irresponsible, and in some places it will soon be impossible. In Nevada, federal agencies currently own more than 85 percent of the landscape, leaving precious little to support private enterprise.

“If passed, the GAO Act sentences hundreds of millions of acres of American land and water to a poorly-managed future. We understand some of the historic benefits that have resulted from LWCF funding in local communities through the use of state-side funding. We also acknowledge that sometimes, acquisition can provide continuity for discrete landscape. We do not, however, believe that acquisition on this scale would be anything but an utter failure by Congress to perform its oversight role.”


ASI SheepCast: International Market Outlook

This week, the American Sheep Industry Association’s SheepCast visits with Angus Gidley-Baird, a senior analysist with RaboBank focused on the international sheep industry. The podcast takes a look at the global market, impacts from Australia’s drought and recovery, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Click Here to listen to the podcast.


August Sale Set for Greeley Lamb Plant

Mountain States Rosen, LLC, a lamb meatpacker in Greeley that controls a fifth of the American lamb market, could lay off 222 people depending on the outcome of a bankruptcy auction in August.

The plant at 920 N. Seventh Ave. is expected to be sold in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy sale set for Aug. 11, according to a notification letter sent by the company to state labor officials. However, a subsidiary of Rosen submitted a stalking-horse bid of $10 million for the plant last month, meaning that it could retain control of the plant if it were to win at auction.

Employees of the plant are due to be formally notified on Friday that they may be either laid off and immediately rehired if Rosen’s subsidiary wins the sale, or permanently separated if the company loses.

Rosen’s parent company filed in Wyoming bankruptcy court in April, saying it had been in conversations to restructure $18.18 million in debt from CoBank, a Colorado financial institution that primarily handles agricultural financing. According to affidavits filed in the case, those negotiations fell apart, and widespread job losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic led to a steep drop in sales for high-priced proteins such as lamb. That drop was particularly acute this spring, when lamb sales usually spike during the Easter and Passover season.

Source: Greeley Tribune

Click Here to read the full story.


Low-Yielding Wools Cause Australian Market Slide

After two consecutive weeks of rises, the Australian market was unable to continue its upward trajectory this week and recorded general losses.

The market opened strong in Melbourne, with very little change recorded from the previous week. The Western region – which did not sell in the previous week – also opened strong but prices reduced as the sale progressed. The market continued to retract on the second day of selling, so much so that by the end of the week the individual Micron Price Guides in Sydney and Melbourne recorded losses of between 10 and 49 cents.

Many buyers attributed these losses to the inability to average the required 70 percent washing yield required for many Chinese orders. This was due to the large amount of lower-yielding wools on offer. In contrast to this, the limited number of high-yielding/better-style wools attracted strong buyer demand and were the least affected by the falling market.

The AWEX Eastern Market Indicator fell by 12 cents for the series to close at 1,171 Australian cents. As opposed to the previous series – due to minimal currency movement – when viewed in USD terms, the EMI fell by a similar amount. The EMI fell by 8 USc to close at 813 cents. The crossbreds recorded positive movements for the week as the crossbred MPGs rose by 5 to 10 cents for the series. The only exception was the 26.0 MPG in the North, which was unchanged.

The positive movements in the crossbred sector prevented the EMI from falling further than it did. The oddments also recorded upward movements as the three carding indicators rose by an average of 14 cents – again preventing the EMI from a larger fall. The Fremantle region does not sell again next week, and as a result the national quantity reduces again. There are currently 16,819 bales on offer, with only Sydney and Melbourne in operation.

Source: AWEX


Video of the Week

Utah sheep producer Wade Eliason was featured in a CNN report this week on farm labor shortages as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. He’s been unable to get herders into the country from Peru, and his daughters had to take up the slack during lambing.

Click Here to watch the video.


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