June 21 ASI Weekly
Military Joins Wool Council for Colorado Tour
The American Sheep Industry Association’s American Wool Council hosted a handful of special guests from the United States military in touring a Colorado range sheep operation this week.
The council meets annually each summer to recommend ASI’s budget for the coming fiscal year, as well as deal with other wool-related business of the association. After a Thursday morning meeting of the council, the special guests from the United States armed forces arrived and both groups headed to Castle Peak outside Eagle, Colo., to catch up with sheep from Julie Hansmire’s flock. Guests thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to see her operation first-hand and enjoyed a picnic lunch in the presence of Hansmire’s sheep, herders, Border Collies and livestock guardian dogs.
The military guests represent a variety of branches of the armed services and are tasked with designing military uniforms and gear, as well as coordinating purchasing of materials that go into manufacturing such products. The United States military is the largest domestic buyer of American wool. Current new products include the reintroduction of the World War II uniform – known as Pinks and Greens – that includes wool from head to toe, as well as the use of wool in the Army’s new cold weather system.
“We were fortunate today that we also combined things with having the military up here on an educational tour and a chance for them to see the American sheep industry and how it starts from the ground up.” said ASI Wool Council Chair Randy Tunby of Montana. “Many of the people who are part of the military group were able to join us and saw the end product on the mill tour in South Carolina two years ago. But this gives them an opportunity to see the sheep on the ground, and we want to thank Julie Hansmire for hosting us.”
The two groups met again this morning to further discuss the decades-old partnership of American wool and the American military, and where that partnership can go from here. The military representatives headed home around lunchtime while the Wool Council continued its business meeting into the afternoon.
Look for more on the meeting and tour in the August issue of the Sheep Industry News.
APHIS Corrects Updated Scrapie Documents
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service issued a notice updating its scrapie regulations and program standards in March. These updates included several major changes, which are needed to continue the fight to eradicate scrapie from American sheep flocks and goat herds.
Scrapie is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy disease that affects the central nervous system in sheep and goats, and is eventually fatal. As part of the updates, several paragraphs were added or redesignated in the March notice.
However, the corresponding references in the footnote section were not updated.
Solar Company Expands Sheep Grazing Program
Community solar provider Nexamp kicked off a new solar grazing program recently with the deployment of approximately 150 sheep on its solar farm in Newfield, N.Y. The sheep will be used to provide sustainable vegetation management at the site throughout the growing season. Solar grazing provides a variety of important benefits to the sheep farmer, the sheep, the community and the solar farm developer.
“Subscribers get involved with our community solar program for two reasons – they save money on their electricity costs and they support the growth of clean, renewable energy in their local community,” said Zaid Ashai, Nexamp chief executive officer. “Because sustainability is such a key part of our DNA as a community solar provider, the ability to further reduce carbon emissions with solar grazing is very appealing. We no longer have gas-powered equipment running on the site and we are able to provide a steady stream of income to the sheep farmers while the sheep enjoy a safe, healthy environment in which to graze.”
More sheep are being placed at the 30-acre Newfield site as the season progresses. Nexamp also is implementing solar grazing with more than 40 sheep already at its site in Seneca, N.Y., and soon will be starting the program at its Upton, Mass., location. With dozens of projects across the Northeast, solar grazing is poised to play a significant role in Nexamp’s plan for site maintenance in the future.
Solar grazing takes community solar to the next level by extending the benefits of the program beyond subscribers to farmers and their sheep. Nexamp will continue to expand the solar grazing program throughout 2019, developing agreements with local farmers in other communities to meet vegetation management needs in a sustainable approach with sheep.
Ranching Industry Supports Wallace Nomination
The American Sheep Industry Association joined the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Public Lands Council this week in offering support for the advancement of Rob Wallace’s nomination as assistant secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks at the Department of the Interior.
Wallace’s nomination advanced this week out of the Senate Committee on Environmental and Public Works. The assistant secretary oversees the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service, which collectively manage 170 million acres of public lands.
“When it comes to balancing the interest of all of the Department of Interior’s multiple use stakeholders, Rob Wallace has the ranching industry’s confidence,” said Public Lands Council Executive Director Ethan Lane. “Like ranchers across the West, Assistant Secretary Wallace has a proven conservation track record and a deep understanding of federal land management. Livestock producers welcome his confirmation and look forward to partnering with him on a range of priorities; including modernizing the Endangered Species Act and managing the impact of unchecked recreation.”
Australian Wool Market Continues Downward Slide
The penultimate sale of the 2018-19 wool selling season produced another week of losses, following in the footsteps of price reductions experienced during the previous two weeks.
As the Fremantle region had another one-week recess, only Sydney and Melbourne were in operation. The total national offering was only 19,072 bales. From the opening lot, it was immediately apparent that buyer confidence was low.
Prices across all microns were generally discounted by 20 to 40 cents, then slowly but noticeably deteriorated as the day progressed and the market struggled to find a solid level. By the end of the day, most types and descriptions were selling at levels 40 to 60 cents below those achieved at the previous sale.
This was reflected in the individual Micron Price Guides, which fell by a similar amount. As a result, the AWEX Eastern Market Indicator lost 52 cents on the first day of selling. The second day of selling, the market generally recorded further losses but not to the same extent as day one. Some broader MPGs in the Southern region managed small increases as the market found a level. Despite a more positive tone, the EMI lost a further 5 cents, closing the week at 1,766 Australian cents – an overall loss of 57 cents.
The EMI is now 350 cents below the record it achieved in August of last year – a reduction of 16.5 percent. The EMI has fallen 307 cents since the corresponding sale of 2018 – a loss of 14.8 percent.
The oddment market had an up and down week, losing 20 to 30 cents on the first selling day, then recovering 5 to 10 cents of those losses on the second. Fremantle returns next week for the final sale of the season. Currently, there are 30,872 bales rostered for sale, with selling in all three centers.
Ford Incorporating Wool into Car Insulation
Researchers at Deakin University’s Institute for Frontier Materials have worked with Ford to create a new wool-based insulation, which they say has environmental and other benefits over synthetic materials currently in use.
Led by Dr Maryam Naebe, IFM academics worked with Ford Motor Company researchers to engineer the new textiles, “using blended waste and virgin wool insulated fibers covered with a thin nonwoven fabric via needle-punching.”
Naebe said that car companies are moving toward lighter, natural-fiber materials and away from polyester, polyethylene and polystyrene interiors.
“The automotive industry is in need of a high performance, cost-effective, low carbon footprint, and biodegradable alternative for insulation,” Dr. Naebe said.
According to Naebe, the final product has similar sound absorption, thermal resistance and air flow properties to what’s being used currently, but with the added benefits of wool, such as odor-resistant, flame-retardant and antibacterial properties.
Source: AU Manufacturing
- PRODUCER EDUCATION