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ASI Offers Supply Chain Comments to USDA/AMS

In response to a Federal Register notice on supply chains in agriculture production, the American Sheep Industry Association recently offered comments calling for support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for increased access to lamb processing in the United States.

The problem was exacerbated with the closing of the Mountain States Rosen plant in 2020, and even the addition of two new plants in the past year has failed to completely right the ship in the lamb packing industry.

“Even a year later, these new small to mid-sized packers lack adequate fabrication facilities to fully participate in the food supply chain,” read ASI’s comments to Dr. Melissa R. Bailey with USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service. “These families that have chosen to invest in the domestic lamb supply chain lack the ability to fully realize the potential of their investment. Many local and regional processing facilities utilized by small to mid-size sheep and lamb producers lack the resources to invest in infrastructure to meet the growing demand for processing lamb at a local level. This was further evidenced during the COVID-19 pandemic and the lack of processing capacity at the local level. Utilizing resources authorized under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021; grants and guaranteed loans to these small and mid-sized facilities to invest in fabrication facilities and encourage the entry of additional packing entities would be tremendously helpful in enhancing the geographic distribution of the industry’s infrastructure.

“USDA grants and guaranteed loans as offered through USDA Rural Development could address those deficiencies and provide economic drivers for the sheep and lamb industry as well as the rural communities where these facilities are located.”

ASI’s comments also addressed the need for nylon sacks for the storage and shipment of American wool. These sacks are manufactured exclusively in China and have been subject to tariffs and supply shortages, which creates a barrier to market participation for American wool growers.

Click Here to read the full comments.


SheepCast: Climate Solutions, Transportation & Wolf Litigation

This week’s SheepCast takes a look at the overwhelming Senate passage of the Growing Climate Solutions Act, the status of the wolf delisting litigation and an update on transportation exemptions for livestock haulers.

Click Here to listen to the podcast.


Festival Archives Donated to Idaho Library

The Trailing of the Sheep Festival – which is celebrating 25 years in 2021 – has gifted its historical archives to The Community Library in Ketchum, Idaho. A special ribbon-cutting and dedication event will be held on June 30 at 5 p.m. at the library to recognize and celebrate the gift of the estate of Patricia Crandall Lane, which helped make this project possible. This event is open to the public.

The Community Library will own, curate and maintain the Trailing of the Sheep Festival archives, and an internship program has been established to help work on the project. The inaugural Patricia Crandall Lane Trailing of the Sheep Festival Archives intern is Kaili Smith, a Wood River Valley local of Basque descent. A graduate from the University of Redlands with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and anthropology, she is next starting her graduate degree at City University of London. This summer, she will be processing part of the Trailing of the Sheep Festival archive that is now a part of The Community Library collection.

​“I look forward taking an in depth look at the history of the festival and its connection to the rich history of sheepherding here in Idaho and the West,” she said.

Patty Lane regarded herself as an authentic Sun Valleyite. She was born in the Sun Valley hospital, then occupying the third floor of the Lodge. Her mother was Jeanne Rodger Lane Moritz – one of the 17 women who founded The Community Library Association, and her father was John Crandall “Pete” Lane, a native Idahoan and the owner of Pete Lane’s, the Sun Valley ski store, and a founder of the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation. Her grandfather was John Pusey “Jack” Lane, a merchant and livestock man who established his businesses in Ketchum, Idaho, a century ago.

Her home growing up was on the Box L Ranch – the Lane family sheep property just south of Ketchum that spreads the width of the Wood River Valley and up on Elkhorn Gulch. Patty’s happiest professional years were in sales at Pete Lane’s. In addition to many other jobs, she served as a trustee of The Community Library. She enjoyed retirement in Hailey, Idaho, with her friends and her dogs. She died in 2016 and left a generous gift to the Trailing of the Sheep Festival from her estate.

The 2021 Trailing of the Sheep Festival is scheduled for Oct. 6-10 and includes non-stop activities at multiple venues in the area. To learn more, visit

Source: Trailing of the Sheep Festival


Lamb Burger on the Menu During ALB Cooking Class

Nearly 150 home cooks attended a recent virtual cooking class sponsored by the American Lamb Board. Educating consumers on the use of American lamb in their home kitchens is a key part of ALB’s industry growth efforts.

For the Zoom class, ALB teamed with Homemade, a partner of the Nature Conservancy that offers weekly cooking classes and an earth-friendly food blog. The effort aligns with ALB’s Outdoor Cooking Adventures campaign, which challenges consumers to showcase their outdoor cooking prowess with American lamb.

Participants in the class joined chef Joel Gamoran – host of A&E’s hit series Scraps – in making a Lamb Banh Mi Burger, a Vietnamese take on the American classic. The dish uses ground lamb – with its perfect fat content and clean finish – mixed with garlic, ginger, fish sauce, honey and lime with a side of pickled vegetables. Topped with sriracha mayonnaise and cilantro on a brioche bun, it is perfect summer fare and an ideal use for American lamb.

Delectable American lamb creations can be found at Producers who are interested in ALB’s digital assets for the Outdoor Cooking adventures campaign can contact


Capra Foods Raises $1.1 Million Through Harvest Returns

Texas-based Capra Foods announced this week that it has successfully raised $1.1 million on the Harvest Returns agriculture crowdfunding platform.

Capra Foods is an industry leader in the lamb proteins market. Capra’s lamb is sold throughout the United States, primarily through respected targeted retailers of high quality, health-oriented food products, including Whole Foods Market.

Capra’s current facility has reached capacity and will utilize the recently raised capital to increase production capabilities and grow its captive flock to 7,500 Dorper ewes.

“Capra Foods had one of its best years in our history in 2020,” said Capra Foods CEO Aaron Cook. “Yet we are still not able to meet the ever-increasing consumer demand as lamb had the highest percentage growth of all proteins from the same time period a year ago, coming in at over 30 percent. We are excited to share our second successful fundraise with our partners at Harvest Returns as we focus on our mission to produce the highest quality lamb from our ranches to your dinner table. Harvest Returns shares the same passion we have for providing investors regenerative agriculture opportunities, and we were thrilled to partner with them again.”

Source: Harvest Returns


Australian Market on the Rise Once Again

The Australian wool market continued to trend higher, recording an overall increase for the sixth consecutive selling series. Fremantle did not hold a sale this week. With only Melbourne and Sydney selling, 33,330 bales were available to the trade – 9,166 bales fewer than the previous series. This was the smallest national offering since October of last year.

The smaller offering came under heavy buyer pressure. Buyers fought hard from the outset in an attempt to secure meaningful quantity of the reduced selection. The strongest buyer sentiment occurred on the first selling day, and this is where most of the rises were felt. The individual Merino fleece Micron Price Guides added between 4 and 50 cents for the day. These rises – combined with rises in all other sectors of the market – helped push the AWEX Eastern Market Indicator up by 24 cents for the day. The buoyant market resulted in only 4.1 percent of the day’s offering failing to meet seller reserve.

The second selling day demand was still strong – although the bidding was more subdued – and the market recorded very little change. The MPGs for 17 through to 22 micron moved between -11 and +8 cents for the day. Only the 16.5-micron MPG recorded any significant change, adding 20 and 40 cents in Sydney and Melbourne, respectively.

The result of these movements – combined with small losses in some crossbred and oddment types – resulted in a 4-cent drop in the EMI for the day. These daily movements ended with a weekly rise in the EMI of 20 cents, closing the week at 1,468 Australian cents.

Fremantle returns to the selling program next week. This return combined with this week’s price rises enticed more sellers to the market, and pushed the national offering higher as 44,406 bales are expected to be offered with all three centers in operation.

Source: AWEX


USDA Offers Grants to Expand Meat Processing

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced this week $55.2 million in competitive grant funding available through the new Meat and Poultry Inspection Readiness Grant program. The new program is funded by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.

“We are building capacity and increasing economic opportunity for small and midsized meat and poultry processors and producers across the country,” said Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. “Through MPIRG, meat and poultry slaughter and processing facilities can cover the costs for necessary improvements to achieve a Federal Grant of Inspection under the Federal Meat Inspection Act or the Poultry Products Inspection Act, or to operate under a state’s Cooperative Interstate Shipment program.”

USDA encourages grant applications that focus on improving meat and poultry slaughter and processing capacity and efficiency; developing new and expanding existing markets; increasing capacity and better meeting consumer and producer demand; maintaining strong inspection and food safety standards; obtaining a larger commercial presence; and increasing access to slaughter or processing facilities for smaller farms and ranches, new and beginning farmers and ranchers, socially disadvantaged producers, and veteran producers. Eligible meat and poultry slaughter and processing facilities include commercial businesses, cooperatives and tribal enterprises.

MPIRG’s Planning for a Federal Grant of Inspection project is for processing facilities currently in operation and are working toward federal inspection. Applicants can be located anywhere in the states and territories. Whereas, MPIRG’s Cooperative Interstate Shipment Compliance project is only for processing facilities located in states with a Food Safety and Inspection Service CIS program.

Applications must be submitted electronically through by 11:59 p.m. eastern time on Monday, Aug. 2. AMS offers webinars for applicants to help walk them through the request for application. Additionally, grants management specialists are standing by to answer any incoming questions and emails during regular business hours. For more information about grant eligibility and program requirements, visit the MPIRG webpage or email

Source: USDA


Apply Now for Livestock Conservancy Microgrants

The application period for Heritage Livestock Microgrants from The Livestock Conservancy is now open. Application can be submitted at

In 2020, The Livestock Conservancy awarded more than $22,000 to farmers, ranchers and shepherds raising endangered breeds of livestock and poultry across the country. Now in its fourth year, the microgrants program continues to put funding into the hands the people doing the hard work day-after-day to steward these genetic treasures for the security of tomorrow’s food and fiber systems.

“Small financial awards can make a big difference for heritage breeders,” said Livestock Conservancy Executive Director Dr. Alison Martin. “These strategic investments are selected by a panel of judges as excellent examples of livestock conservation in action across the United States.”

Applications for $500 to $2,000 grants may be submitted for one of three categories:

  • National Microgrants, open to all residents and organizations residing and actively working with heritage breeds listed on the Conservation Priority List in the United States.
  • Youth Microgrants, open to all youth residents of the United State between the ages of 8-18 years old and actively working with heritage breeds listed on the Conservation Priority List.
  • Emergency Microgrants, open to all residents and organizations residing in the United State and actively working with heritage breeds listed on the Conservation List, who need help to offset losses incurred due to unforeseen circumstances such as the COVID-19 pandemic or natural disasters, as well as the costs associated with unexpected rehoming or rescues due to owner death, disability or surrender. Applications in this category are accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis.

Complete applications must be submitted no later than Aug. 15.

Source: The Livestock Conservancy


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