Auditing Firm Selected for AWA Program
The American Sheep Industry Association has selected CloverLeaf Animal Welfare Systems as the official American Wool Assurance auditing firm, a step that was necessary to allow America’s wool producers to achieve Level III – Certified status within the program.
“We’re confident that CloverLeaf will be a valuable partner in working with our wool producers to help them achieve their goals within the American Wool Assurance program,” said ASI Deputy Director Rita Samuelson. “We received bids from several auditing companies, but appreciate that CloverLeaf specializes in animal welfare certification, training, facility design and government response support.”
CloverLeaf President Jason McAlister said wool growers will find his company knowledgeable about agriculture in general and eager to work with producers to see that they meet program standards.
“What I want producers to know about us is that we are everyday folks with ag backgrounds and down-to-earth values,” McAlister said. “We are not a corporate auding firm with hundreds of auditors. I hire and train every CloverLeaf auditor to be respectful of your time, your process and you as a person, and producers are encouraged to call me personally with any questions.”
CloverLeaf auditors have completed online training, passed exams and are preparing to complete shadow audits this summer as the final step in the AWA training process.
Wool growers looking to move from Level II – Process Verified to Level III will need to complete an audit. They’ll then need to undergo an evaluation every two years – using one of nearly two dozen trained evaluators from around the United States – and an audit every four years with CloverLeaf. An audit might seem daunting to those who have never undertaken the process, but McAlister said producers shouldn’t stress over the process.
“We will call and visit with you over the phone or on Zoom, giving you all the information you need about our visit. We will make sure you know exactly what we will be looking for, and we will send you the standard and the actual audit form we will be using,” he said. “We want everyone to have a good understanding of what we do, so that it doesn’t feel like an investigation. We are here to verify the good practices that you do daily. There will be no secrets as everyone will have the opportunity to ask questions and be prepared.
“We have clients call us with questions multiple times, and that is perfectly acceptable. We encourage questions. We will set up a time and date to come to visit you well in advance to help keep travel costs low. We will conduct the audit as stated with no surprises and discuss our findings in real-time. We will follow up with you via phone or Zoom to discuss corrective measures, if needed.”
The cost of an audit is $500 plus travel costs – which is a third of the average industry price for audits in the beef, pork and poultry industries according to McAlister.
Click Here for more information on the AWA program.
Australian Wool Market Slows in Final Month
The Australian wool market heads into the final month of the 2021-22 wool selling season with a second week of overall losses, although there were selected pockets in the market that recorded increases. There was also a noticeable rise in buyer sentiment toward the end of the series.
The national offering fell by 10,545 bales to 34,514 bales. With only four selling weeks left for the season, the total amount offered continues to track well above the previous season. Year-to-date, there have been 1,719,102 bales put through the auction system – 130,644 more than the corresponding sale of the previous season for an increase of 8.2 percent.
Across the county, the individual Micron Price Guides ranged between +24 and -50 cents, interestingly both of these movements occurred in Melbourne in the 17 and 16.5 micron MPGs, respectively. These price movements – combined with losses in all other sectors of the market – had the net effect of a 6-cent fall in the AWEX Eastern Market Indicator. The EMI closed the week at 1,414 Australian cents. In a similar pattern to the previous week, due to a further strengthening of the Australian dollar – the AUD climbed by 0.63 cents since last week – when viewed in U.S. dollar terms, the market recorded an overall increase. The EMI added 5 U.S. cents for the series, closing at 1,013 cents.
After being the strongest performing sector in the previous series, lack of buyer support resulted in the oddments suffering the largest falls this week. General losses in locks, stains and crutchings of between 45 and 60 cents pushed the three Merino Carding indicators down by an average of just more than 50 cents.
Next week, the national offering decreases due in part to it being a non-sale week in Fremantle. Currently, there are expected to be 33,095 bales on offer with only Sydney and Melbourne in operation.
Click Here for the full Australian Wool Market Report.
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.
USDA Drought Working Group Report
This week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released the Drought Resilience Interagency Working Group’s summary report. The report highlights accomplishments – including the formalization of new drought-related interagency Memorandums of Agreement – coordinated water supply operations, financial assistance, drought roundtables, listening sessions and webinars.
The report also highlights the investments – through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law – being made for drought-related projects in California. The full report can be read here.
Congress is still working through the appropriations process for Fiscal Year 2023. Throughout the month of April, the House Appropriations Committee collected requests from members for the 2023 fiscal year. The Senate Appropriations Committee – which is normally slightly behind the House – wrapped up its member request submission process last week, officially closing out the submission process in both chambers.
The House Appropriations Committee will begin the committee markup process this month. Subcommittees will plan to markup their bills June 13-22, with full committee markups scheduled for June 22-30.
Opportunities/Challenges Facing Ag and Rural Communities
Last week, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry convened a hearing with Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to discuss opportunities and challenges farmers, families and rural communities are currently facing. Members discussed the need for funding for climate change and conservation programs, wildfire relief, nutrition programs, and diversity and inclusion programs. Members also raised concerns about inflation, supply chain issues and high input prices.
There was significant discussion around the drought the West is experiencing. Members emphasized the worsening drought conditions and the effect they have during wildfire season. Sec. Vilsack said that USDA continues to advocate for additional funding and reminded the committee that aid and reforestation funding for states experiencing drought is available.
Source: Cornerstone Government Affairs
Pipestone Program Seeking Instructor
The Pipestone Lamb and Wool Management Program – a sheep management education/consulting program offered by Minnesota West Community & Technical College – has an opening for a lamb and wool management instructor.
Instructors in the program work with sheep producers in the Pipestone, Minn., area and around the world through the Member Producer Program, webinars, short courses, tours and online courses.
Required qualifications for the position include: must qualify for Minnesota state credentialing in lamb and wool instruction; a bachelor’s degree in agricultural education or animal science; four full-time (or equivalent) years of paid work experience in lamb and wool production.
Click Here for more information and to apply.
Source: Pipestone Lamb and Wool Program
ALB Offers Industry Funding Program
The American Lamb Board has combined its two industry funding/support programs, the Local Lamb Promotional Funds Program and the Supplier Cooperative Funds Program. The new program – the Promotional Partnership Program – is designed to create more flexibility for industry partners.
Applications can be made year-round, which allows industry partners to apply for funding as opportunities arise. The program is designed to support local or branded promotions that expand ALB’s efforts to build awareness and demand for American lamb.
Most recently, ALB’s Industry Funding Program has supported the Washington Wool Growers Association’s Lamburger Booth at the Central Washington State Fair, the Idaho Wool Growers Association’s lamb sampling at a consumer harvest festival, and the Indiana Sheep Association’s activation at a food and wine festival in Indianapolis.
There are four categories of funding/support available:
- Cash sponsorships for events or educational conferences. This category is primarily intended for industry organizations who have existing, successful events or conferences that they host regularly with existing sponsorship packages available.
- Donation requests for promotional materials from LambResourceCenter.com, such as spice tins, reusable grocery bags, hats, aprons and socks, up to $100 value. Materials should be used for non-industry events.
- Donation requests for lamb products to sample at local events or conferences (cannot be industry related). Requests cannot exceed $1,000 and if the partner is providing the lamb, an invoice is required to reflect reasonable wholesale pricing.
- Branded promotional partnerships. This category is designed for lamb suppliers and direct marketers to help offset the cost of branded marketing and promotional activities. These activities could include but are not limited to participation at events or conferences, development of point-of-sale materials and/or packaging, website design, digital marketing and in-store sampling. This category requires the partner to invest at least 50 percent of the total cost of the project and provide documentation.
All applicants are required to acknowledge ALB support and provide a short final written report detailing the results. ALB staff is happy to provide consulting and guidance to industry members who are interested in tapping into its expertise, such as event execution, social media campaigns and website development.
To request an application, contact Rae@AmericanLamb.com.
Sign Up By June 30 for NASS Ag Census
Agriculture producers who did not receive the 2017 Census of Agriculture and do not receive other U.S. Department of Agriculture surveys or censuses have until June 30 to sign up to receive the 2022 Census of Agriculture at nass.usda.gov/AgCensus.
USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service will mail ag census survey codes for responding securely online to every known U.S. producer this November. Hard copy questionnaires will follow in December.
The ag census – conducted for over 180 years – remains the only source of comprehensive and impartial agricultural data for every state and county in the nation. It includes every operation – large or small, urban or rural – from which $1,000 or more of agricultural products are produced and sold, or would normally be produced and sold, in the ag census year.
“The Census of Agriculture is a collective voice that tells the story and value of American agriculture. The data influence action and inform policy and program decisions that directly impact producers, their operations and everyone they touch – and that’s all of us,” said Barbara Rater, NASS Census and Survey Division director. “This is why a complete count – with every producer getting and taking the opportunity to be represented in these data – is so important.”
On the NASS webpage, producers can also access frequently asked questions, explore past and current ag census data, access tools to help spread the word about the upcoming ag census, learn about ag census special studies and more.
NASS builds its distribution list for every Census of Agriculture between and during ag census years through the official sign-up webpage and multiple National Agricultural Classification Surveys. To learn more about the 2022 Census of Agriculture, visit nass.usda.gov/AgCensus.
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