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Coalition Seeks Withdraw of BLM’s Proposed Rule

The Public Lands Council – of which the American Sheep Industry Association is a member – submitted two letters this week to the Bureau of Land Management expressing concerns about a proposed rule that would greatly affect grazing on public lands. The following letter was submitted on behalf of sheep and cattle grazers from all across the Western United States

“On April 3, the Bureau of Land Management published the proposed rule on Conservation and Landscape Health. The rule – which amends a longstanding interpretation of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act – has raised significant concern among the grazing community,” read the letter to BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning.

“The undersigned organizations represent cattle and sheep producers who have, for generations, been partners with the BLM in managing the 245 million acres of federal land in the West as well as hundreds of millions of acres of private land nationwide. These producers are the original conservationists of these landscapes, having managed lands, waters, wildlife and adverse conditions to ensure the resources remain healthy and resilient to provide for the diverse needs of people, animals and the environment. These producers have always been the BLM’s primary partner in fulfilling your mission of managing landscapes for multiple use and sustained yield. Yet, in the promulgation of the proposed rule, the BLM neglected to engage with these partners.

“The proposed rule was developed without any stakeholder discussion or advanced notice. Despite the ongoing discussions about sage grouse plan revisions, mitigation, conservation practices, grazing regulations revisions and resource resilience, the BLM did not provide any indication they were promulgating this proposal. Individually, each of the components of the proposed rule would have warranted substantive and detailed discussion. Together, they demand the BLM do the necessary work of engaging with stakeholders to avoid conflict and develop durable outcomes. This discussion certainly should be longer than 75 days during one of the busiest times of year for federal grazing permittees.

“The five public information sessions have done little to compensate for the agency’s lack of advanced discussion. Instead of holding dialogues in places where federal grazing permittees and other multiple use stakeholder groups operate, the agency elected to host briefings in urban centers. Each of these sessions has featured a briefing, after which BLM staff have been unable to answer questions about future implementation of the proposed rule, instead urging attendees to answer those questions in the public comments. The format of these events, the expectation that permittees from 12 Western states would drive to just three urban centers, and the lack of meaningful dialogue with stakeholders at the briefings has left the grazing community with the conclusion that the BLM is not committed to open dialogue on this proposal.

“To create a ‘durable mechanism’ to improve landscape health, these concepts would have been more appropriately explored in one of the agency’s more appropriate tools like a Request for Information, an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, or – most appropriately – a scoping period attached to a programmatic Environmental Impact Statement. Instead, the agency moved straight to a proposed rule, inappropriately bypassing key stakeholder discussions and regulatory processes that would have informed a more durable process. For this reason, the undersigned organizations request BLM withdraw the proposed rule and begin again, engaging with stakeholders in a forum that would promote open dialogue and address fatal flaws in the existing proposal.

“If the BLM instead forges ahead with the proposed rule, the undersigned organizations request a 105-day extension to the public comment period, to allow for a full 180 days. The undersigned organizations are actively engaging with other multiple use groups across the West, doing the hard work that should underpin federal lands management. Additionally, we request the agency hold public meetings and forums for discussion in each of the states where user groups were previously omitted: Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska. While we appreciate the agency’s recognition that some groups may prefer virtual meetings, virtual meetings should not replace in-person engagement in states where broadband access often precludes robust participation.

“Over the last several generations, ranchers have been at the front of the line helping the BLM conserve wildlife habitat, reduce wildfire risk, support balanced multiple use, reduce on-range conflicts and identify areas of greatest need. We urge the BLM not to compromise that relationship by forging ahead with a rule that will undoubtedly result in ranchers and other multiple use groups being forced from the landscape over time. We support durable conservation, we support creative partnerships, and we have always been willing to do the hard work that partnership requires. We urge you to seriously consider our request and be willing to engage with this community into the future.”

The second, similar letter was submitted on behalf of a coalition of associations representing livestock, farming, energy and outdoor associations.


DLA Plans Wool Sock Purchase

The Defense Logistics Agency has issued a major solicitation for wool socks, according to American Sheep Industry Association Military Consultant Mitch Driggers.

The solicitation calls for production of 830,000 pairs of wool socks per year for three years, which would require approximately 40,000 pounds of wool yarn per year. The solicitation closed for bids on May 23, and bids are now being evaluated. A contract award is expected in the next few weeks. The specs for the socks called for 22-micron wool.


Australian Wool Market Down Once Again

The Australian wool market recorded an overall loss for the fifth consecutive series, albeit by the smallest of margins. With quantities dictating no need for a sale in the West, the national offering reduced to 33,435 bales.

The positive tone evident at the end of the previous series was on display during the opening selling day this week. By the close of the day, the Individual Micron Price Guides for Merino fleece in Sydney and Melbourne finished between fully firm (no change) and 26 cents dearer. With only small movements in the other sectors, the EMI managed a 3-cent rise.

On the second day, the market retracted. The movements in the Merino fleece MPGs ranged between plus 4 and minus 38 cents. With little change in the other sectors, the EMI posted a 4-cent fall. The net result was a 1-cent drop in the EMI, which closed the week at 1,209 Australian cents. The EMI is now 230 cents lower than at the same time last year – a 16-percent drop.

After last Tuesday (when the EMI was 1,207), the EMI is at its lowest point since January 2021, when it was at 1,202 cents. Worth noting – due to currency movements – when viewed in U.S. dollar terms the EMI recorded a 22-cent gain.

Although there has been an increase in the number of bales offered this season, the total dollar amount sold is tracking well below the previous year due to consistently lower prices. At the conclusion of this series, there has been $2,294 million of wool sold through the auction system – $136 million lower than the corresponding sale of the previous season.

Fremantle returns to the selling program next week, bolstering the national offering. Currently, there are expected to be 45,325 bales on offer, with all three centers in operation

Click Here for the Full Australian Wool Market Report.

Source: AWEX


Taziki’s Adds Second Lamb Burger to Menu

In a continued partnership with the American Lamb Board, Taziki’s Mediterranean Café will now feature two American lamb burgers on its menu. The Mediterranean Lamb Burger – a previous summer promotion fan favorite – will be added to the permanent menu.

“We are also very pleased to once again partner with the American Lamb Board and feature 100 percent American lamb in our delicious burgers,” said Taziki’s CEO Dan Simpson.

“Taziki’s is known for serving fresh ingredients and we thank them for their commitment to using American lamb in their lamb burgers,” said ALB Chairman Peter Camino.

In addition to the permanent inclusion of the Mediterranean Lamb Burger to its menu, Taziki’s is introducing a Southern-Style Lamb Burger as a limited-time special this summer.

“We appreciate Taziki’s commitment to using American lamb on their menus and are happy to again partner with them to promote lamb burgers,” said ALB Executive Director Megan Wortman. “This new lamb burger illustrates how the distinctive taste of domestic lamb blends well with various flavor profiles. It’s a fabulous lamb burger with a southern twist.”

ALB first partnered with Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe in 2020 on a limited-time 100 percent American lamb take-out promotion. Even with the Covid-19 restrictions during that time, American lamb as a percent of Taziki’s total sales was up, accounting for 11.5 percent during the 2020 promotion period compared to 10.3 percent during the same time in 2019. The data showed that American lamb items increased share within the Taziki’s menu and led the company to consider what other American lamb items to test on its menu.

The Mediterranean Lamb Burger tested in 2021 as a potential permanent menu item. The test markets included Nashville, Tenn., Panama City, Fla., Birmingham, Ala., and the communities of Little Rock and Northwest Arkansas. Taziki’s ran another promotion for the Mediterranean Lamb Burger from June-September 2022 that was an overwhelming success.

Because of its popularity, about half of Taziki’s locations continued offering the 100 percent American lamb burger for an additional month beyond the promotion period. Taziki’s Mediterranean Lamb Burger is made of two griddle-cooked, seasoned American lamb patties on a toasted kaiser bun with feta cheese, sliced tomato, grilled onions and peppers, and Taziki sauce.

The Southern-Style Lamb Burger is packed with two griddle-cooked, seasoned American lamb patties on a toasted kaiser bun with spicy pimento cheese, sliced tomato and grilled red onions with a choice of side, starting at $12.49. The new Southern-style burger pays homage to Taziki’s founder’s roots by combining Southern and Greek staples.

From June 12 to Sept. 3, the nearly 100 locations of the fast-casual Mediterranean brand will feature the Southern-Style Lamb Burger as well as an Athens Cobb Salad on their menu.

For more information, visit

Source: ALB


UNR Requests Proposals to Operate Sheep Ranch

The Nevada System of Higher Education on behalf of the University of Nevada-Reno and its College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources is seeking proposals for a vendor to lease or operate the sheep operation/ranch at the Great Basin Research & Extension Center in Eureka County, Nev.

Proposals in response to this RFP shall be valid for a period of 120 days from the due date of the proposal. There is a mandatory site visit of the facility – located at 951 7th Street, Eureka, Nev. – on June 22 at 11 a.m. pacific time. No alternate arrangements for site tours will be accommodated. Email Betsy Brownfield if you plan on attending.

Respondents are required to submit a proposal based upon the Statement of Work and RFP requirements as presented.

Click Here for more information.

Source: University of Nevada-Reno


Sheep Center Accepting Grant Proposals

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced on June 1 that the National Sheep Industry Improvement Center Board of Directors is accepting grant proposals for the Sheep Production and Marketing Grant Program. The SPMGP was established to foster improvements in the American sheep industry and will be accepting proposals through Sept. 15.

This year, the center has budgeted approximately $300,000 to support projects consistent with the grant program objectives. The average grant amount during the last four years is $29,000. Financial assistance provided by the center must accomplish one or more of the following objectives:

  • Strengthen and enhance the production and marketing of sheep and sheep products in the United States through the improvement of infrastructure, business, resource development and the development of innovative approaches to solve long term problems.
  • Provide leadership training and education to industry stakeholders.
  • Assist all segments of the industry in addressing sustainable production and marketing of sheep and sheep products.
  • Promote marketing of sheep and sheep products through an organized method that can measure tangible results.
  • Enhance the sheep industry by coordinating information exchange and seeking mutual understanding and marketing within the industry community.

The board will review each proposal and make funding recommendations to the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service for approval.

For more information about applying, contact Program Manager Steve Lee at 207-236-6567 or, or send mail to: National Sheep Industry Improvement Center, 1578 Spring Water Way, Highlands Ranch, CO 80129.

The National Sheep Industry Improvement Center was established in 2008 and awarded approximately $1.9 million in 2019 for a five-year grant through AMS’s Sheep Production and Marketing Grant Program.

Click Here for additional information.

Source: NSIIC


Legislative Update from Washington, D.C.

The American Sheep Industry Association’s lobbying firm – Cornerstone Government Affairs – offered an update this week on legislative issues in our nation’s capital.

2023 Agricultural Trade Outlooks Decline

On May 31, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released its updated Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade, cutting its February exports forecast by $3.5 billion. The outlook also indicated lower than expected imports, resulting in an estimated trade deficit of $17 billion.

While commodities such as soybeans and cotton saw increased forecasts of up to $32.3 billion and $6 billion, respectively, competition with Brazil is expected to lower corn exports to $14.5 billion. Drought conditions and competition with Canada and Argentina have lowered wheat predictions to $7.4 billion.

Veterinary Drugs Added to U.S. and EU MRA

On May 31, European Union and U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials agreed to update regulations for veterinary medicines. In signing an expanded Mutual Recognition Agreement, the U.S. and E.U. will allow food and trade authorities to accept health and safety inspections completed by either party, limiting redundant inspections of animal drugs.

The decision was preceded by months of information sharing on inspections and regulatory frameworks that determined which E.U. member states had the capacity to meet FDA standards.


Proposed Ordinance Would Ban Slaughter in Denver

A proposed citizen-initiated Denver ordinance to ban any facility where livestock animals are killed to produce food could cost hundreds of workers their jobs as well as create a larger ripple effect into the state’s economy if it successfully makes it onto the ballot and passes.

The proposal, titled Prohibition of Slaughterhouses, is currently in the signature gathering phase and would prohibit “the construction, maintenance, or use of” any meat processing facilities in Denver beginning Jan. 1, 2026, as well as “require the city to prioritize residents whose employment is affected by the ordinance in workforce training or employment assistance programs.”

The legislative intent of the proponents includes seeking an increase in plant-based protein sources, as well as pushing the claim that livestock is a major contributor to climate change, though no explanation is provided as to how pushing existing meat processing outside of Denver city limits would reduce greenhouse gas emissions. If enough signatures are gathered it would appear on the April 2024 municipal election ballot.

Among the businesses that will be directly impacted by the passage of the measure is Superior Farms. It has been processing lamb in Denver since the 1950s.

Gary Pfeiffer, executive vice president for sales and marketing for the company, said Superior Farms is still trying to wade through the measure and its impact on its business. Management at the 70-year-old Denver staple only learned about the ballot measure a little more than a week ago.

“We are still gathering information on this. It just snuck up on us,” Pfeiffer said. “We have only received basic information. The fact it is this far along without any information on it is interesting. It will obviously impact us directly. Most of our employees live in the city. We are an employee-owned company. This is pretty distracting.”

Click Here to read the full story.

Source: Complete Colorado


Feeder Lamb Marketing Webinar Planned

The University of Minnesota and North Dakota State University Extension will host a feeder lamb management and marketing webinar on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. central time.

A panel discussion of lamb feeders will discuss a variety of topics relevant for sheep farmers with operations of any size. The sheep industry has battled recent volatility and costs of production that make the decision of whether to feed or market lambs an important decision.

“Sheep production and profitability hinges on animal health, management and marketing for the 2023 lamb crop,” said Travis Hoffman, NDSU/UMN Extension sheep specialist. “Knowing what we can do to capitalize on our year’s worth of work can help with decision making.”

Farmers and ranchers, 4-H members, ag business professionals and those interested in sheep are invited to attend.

“Join us to ask questions and learn from experts about how to prepare lambs for your feeding operation or make them more sought after at the marketplace,” said Hoffman.

Pre-registration is required. Register at The Zoom link will be emailed to participants upon registration. If you are unable to attend the live session, you will receive the recording via email. For additional information, contact Brenda Miller at or Travis Hoffman at

Source: UM/NDSU Extension


Video of the Week

Pendleton Woolen Mills was featured in a recent report from Fox 12 Oregon as the station got a behind the scenes look at the manufacturing process at the company’s Washougal, Wash., mill.

Click Here to watch the video.

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