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ASI Calls for Support of Wildlife Services

Approximately 250 agriculture, transportation and affiliated groups signed on to the American Sheep Industry Association’s annual letter of support for Wildlife Services, which was sent to congressional leaders this week.

The wide range of services provided by the agency protects not only American livestock and crops, but also American lives as civilian and military aircrafts are routinely engaged in bird strikes that create life-threatening encounters. Such strikes have decreased thanks to mitigation efforts by Wildlife Services.

“Wildlife causes more than $12.8 billion in damage each year to natural resources, public infrastructures, private property and agriculture. USDA Wildlife Services works to prevent, minimize or manage this damage and to protect human health and safety from conflicts with wildlife. Wildlife damage to U.S. livestock, aquaculture, small grains, fruits, vegetables and other agricultural products has been estimated to reach nearly $1 billion annually,” read the letter to congressional leaders of both the agriculture and appropriations committees. “Wildlife predators cause more than $232 million in death loss to livestock; field crop losses due to wildlife total $619 million annually; losses to vegetables, fruits and nuts total $146 million annually; and 70 percent of catfish farmers incur wildlife-related damage. The annual industry-wide value of lost catfish sales revenue to cormorants averages $47.2 million, ranging from $25.8 million to $65.4 million, depending upon predation levels in any given year. As a result, WS is an essential program to U.S. agriculture.

“WS assists farmers and ranchers in 50 states and three territories to reduce the impact of predators on their animals, protecting 8.9 million head of cattle, 5.1 million head of sheep and 56 million head of other livestock in 334,000 direct control actions. In FY23, WS provided more than 20,800 technical assistance activities that enabled 6,061 livestock producers to implement improved husbandry and methods such as use of guard animals, exclusion, fencing and predator dispersal.

“In collaboration with state wildlife agencies, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Tribes, WS addresses livestock depredation and protects human health and safety related to wolves and grizzly bears. WS manages conflicts with gray wolves or Mexican gray wolves in 11 states. WS conducted operations with grizzly bears in three states, dispersing 22, capturing-relocating seven and lethally removing six in FY23. Congressional funding of $4.5 million in FY23 supported protecting livestock from large carnivore predation in 12 states using nonlethal strategies such as range riding, fladry installation and electric fence construction. WS filled 30 full-time positions and one part-time position to implement these strategies. WS’ National Wildlife Research Center evaluated the effectiveness of activities to reduce depredation.

“It has been WS’s cooperative nature that has allowed it to accomplish all of the above listed programs and has made it the most cost effective and efficient program in the federal government in the areas of wildlife damage management and public health and safety.”

Click Here to read the full Senate version of the letter.

Click Here to read the full House version of the letter.


RAPP Funding Application Submitted by ASI

Consideration of proposals for the new U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service Regional Agricultural Promotion Program is underway. The American Sheep Industry Association submitted an application for RAPP in early February that would expand its current international marketing programs and look at potential in newer markets.

RAPP was created to foster market diversification and thus excludes the markets of Canada, Mexico, the European Union and China, at least during the first tranche of funding. USDA says it expects to award up to $300 million in funding during this first tranche. It hopes to make funding available to participants by June 1.

In total, RAPP will make $1.2 billion available for investments in international marketing during the five years of the program.


Australian Market Shows Positive Movement

After six consecutive selling series of no overall positive movement, the Australian wool market finally managed an overall increase – albeit by the barest of margins.

The national offering fell slightly to 38,137 bales. Compared to the corresponding sale of the previous season, there have been just 8,280 more bales offered – an increase of 0.7 percent.

In the Merino fleece, the market movements were varied, although across all microns any good style wool possessing favorable additional measurement results continued to attract strong support and generally recorded only positive movements. The other standout was the 19.5-micron group. Strong demand pushed prices higher as the individual Micron Price Guides for 19.5 micron were the only ones to post an increase in all three centers (between 7 and 16 cents). The MPG movements across the country ranged between minus 26 and plus 16 cents for Merino fleece.

The market was stronger on the first selling day, the AWEX Eastern Market Indicator adding 4 cents as the EMI closed day one at 1,161 cents. The second day, the market eased across all three selling centers. The EMI gave back 3 cents of the first day’s gain, closing the week 1 cent higher at 1,158 Australian cents. After rising during the last series in USD terms, currency movement prevented the EMI from doing so again. The EMI dropped 4 U.S. cents, closing at 755 U.S. cents.

Although the total amount of bales offered so far this season continues to track above the previous season, the total dollar amount of wool sold is well down. The $47.64 million sold this week pushed the season to date total to $1,479 million. This is $146 million dollars less than last season, with more wool sold.

Next week, a similar quantity is expected. There are currently 41,1154 bales rostered for sale nationally, with again only two selling days required.

Click Here for the Australian Wool Report Prices in US Dollars Per Pound.

Source: AWEX


ALB Offers Funding Opportunities

The American Lamb Board allocates funds through the Cooperative Funding Program for local sheep producer groups, lamb suppliers and direct marketers to cost-share marketing efforts that align with ALB’s mission to grow awareness and demand for American lamb.

Applications can be submitted now until April 30. Once the application process closes, no additional applications will be reviewed until Oct. 1.

“Previously, we accepted and reviewed applications year around, but by changing the program to review applications twice a year, we can more effectively and efficiently look at allocating funds to the programs that we believe will have the greatest impact,” said ALB Chairman Jeff Ebert.

While the timing of the application process is changing, ALB will continue to allocate funds to assist efforts by state/local industry groups, American lamb suppliers and direct marketers as the budget allows. The program will continue supporting projects where applicants are prepared to share costs and provide additional resources to the funded project.

For the Cooperative Funding Program, ALB will prioritize funding opportunities designed to build consumer demand for American lamb by targeting consumers, chefs, retailers and other non-industry audiences.

ALB has new funding available for industry groups looking for money to support educational programs targeting sheep producers. ALB is now accepting applications from industry groups interested in hosting educational workshops or field days targeting emerging sheep producers. ALB sees a real opportunity right now for the American lamb industry to grow and is increasing efforts to establish a consistent, year-round supply of American lamb to meet consumer demand and reduce the need for imported products.

ALB has allocated funding to support up to 10 workshops/educational programs designed to educate and inspire those who might be new to raising sheep or are considering adding sheep to their operation. Each successful applicant will receive up to $2,000 to help offset the costs of hosting an emerging producer educational program.

In addition to funding, ALB also has program templates from a pilot workshop in Kentucky to help guide applicants interested in hosting workshops. Applications are due May 31.

Click Here for the applications.

ALB is funded by the mandatory American Lamb Checkoff. No projects influencing local, state or government policy or action will be funded, as required by law.

For more information about the program, including FAQs, and to download an application, visit:

Source: ALB


April Workshop Planned in Wisconsin

The University of Wisconsin Madison Arlington Research Station Sheep Unit and Division of Extension has created a two-day workshop for sheep producers on April 4-5.

Here’s a taste of what’s on the menu: basic health and parasite management; biosecurity; breeds and breed classification; general handling, facilities and equipment; genetic selection; pasture management/grazing; reproduction; and recordkeeping.

Arlington Research Station Sheep Unit Manager and experienced shepherd Todd Taylor and the UW-Madison Division of Extension Small Ruminant Outreach Specialist Carolyn Ihde will be joined by guest presenters Rusty Burgett of the National Sheep Improvement Program and Dr. Scott Bowdridge of West Virginia University.

Get ready to roll up your sleeves and dive into the thick of day-to-day operations with this hands-on training. Sessions will include demonstrations and opportunities for real-world experience for the ultimate learning opportunity, covering everything from biosecurity plans to keeping records and standard operating procedures. Lunch is included on both days.

Preregistration is required so organizers can prepare adequate materials and food for attendees. The registration fee is $75 per adult and $15 per youth. (18 and under must be accompanied by a paid adult).

For more learning and networking, extend your plans and stay for the Wisconsin Sheep

Breeders Cooperative Arlington Sheep Day Educational Sessions, Annual Meeting,

Awards, and Wine and Sheep Cheese Tasting on Saturday, April 6. Additional registration is

required for the WSBC event. For more information, contact Todd Taylor at

Click Here for more information.

Source: University of Wisconsin Extension


Starter Flock Applications Due Today

Applications are due today for the Columbia Sheep Breeders Association starter flock program. The goal of the program is to cultivate new members that are going to be active breeders and participate in the association for years to come.

The program is open to anyone 18 years old or older who has not been a senior or junior member of the association in the past.

Click Here for more information.

Source: Columbia Sheep Breeders Association


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.

Congress Averts Partial Government Shutdown

Late Wednesday evening, the U.S. House of Representatives came to an agreement and put together another short-term Continuing Resolution buying themselves more time to pass the remaining appropriations bills for Fiscal Year 2024.

This comes at a close call as first tranche of funding deadlines for the Agriculture-FDA, Military Construction-VA, Energy-Water, and the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development spending bills as outlined in H.R. 2872 were set to expire March 1. This new stopgap measure still models the previous laddered approach with the first deadline being March 8 and includes the aforementioned spending bills in addition to Interior-Environment and Commerce-Justice. The remaining appropriations bills will fall under a new March 22 deadline.

On Thursday, H.R. 7463 was passed on the House floor by a 320-99 vote and later sent to the Senate, where it passed 77-13. The continuing resolution was sent to the president’s desk. He signed it Friday afternoon to avert yet another partial government shutdown. This marks the fourth continuing resolution Congress has seen since October and puts us nearly halfway through FY 2024 while preparation for FY 2025 is already underway.

Sec. Vilsack Testifies to Senate Ag Committee

Wednesday, U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack testified before the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry in a hearing titled, Oversight of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

This was the second time in the last month that the secretary provided testimony before members on Capitol Hill. Republicans and Democrats agreed on the need to pass a bipartisan Farm Bill. Republicans focused on the current state of the farm economy, expressing concern about the forecasted decrease in net farm income, high inflation, high interest rates, burdensome regulations and declining commodity prices, whereas Democrats called attention to protecting nutrition and climate-smart conservation programs.

Other topics discussed include ramifications of California’s Prop 12, foreign ownership of American farmland, safety nets for farmers through crop insurance and disaster assistance, the Packers’ and Stockyards Act, support for small and medium-sized farms, strengthening local and regional food systems, foreign ownership of farmland, the agricultural trade deficit, and staffing challenges at USDA.

The sheep industry received a special shoutout by Sen. Michael Bennet (Colo.) as he recognized and honored the life of Pat O’Toole, who was a sixth-generation sheep and cattle rancher out West and prominent figure in the agriculture industry.


Senators Request Closure of Tax Loophole

Two U.S. senators looking to crack down on the number of packages from China that enter the country duty-free are calling on President Joe Biden to take executive action, saying U.S. manufacturers can’t compete with low-cost competitors they say rely on forced labor and state subsidies in key sectors.

U.S. trade law allows packages bound for American consumers and valued below a certain threshold to enter tariff-free. That threshold – under a category known as “de minimis” – stands at $800 per person, per day. The majority of the imports are retail products purchased online.

Alarmed by the large increase in such shipments from China, lawmakers in both chambers have filed legislation to alter how the U.S. treats imports valued at less than $800. Now, Sens. Sherrod Brown (Ohio) and Rick Scott (Fla.) have sent a letter to Biden calling on him to end the duty-free treatment altogether for those products.

Click Here to read the full story.

Source: Associated Press


Support the National Conservation Legacy Center

The National Conservation Legacy Center will open in 2024 or 2025 as a world class destination. The center will be the flagship of the National Museum of Forest Service History, a 501 C(3) nonprofit organization independent of the U.S. Forest Service, and the museum is looking for financial support of its capital campaign to build the new center.

The museum was started in 1988 to preserve and share America’s conservation legacy. The museum works with teachers across the country to bring conservation history into classrooms, host virtual and traveling exhibits, and maintain a 31-acre campus in Missoula, Mont.

The only museum of its kind, the National Conservation Legacy Center expects 80,000 to 100,000 visitors annually, and the striking mass timber design will attract widespread media attention. A world-renowned museum exhibition design firm – Art Processors – is working with the museum to design and bring to life a unique participatory, immersive experience for visitors.

After two years of research and design, the museum is finally able to share with its partners the opportunity to be a part of this extraordinary new facility. Your support enables the museum to share its extensive Conservation History collection with a national audience, host blockbuster exhibitions, create educational programs for students and families and extend its community reach.

Click Here to learn more.


Video of the Week

Bollman Hat Company has acquired equipment from Littlewood Dyers, another historic Pennsylvania company. The company suffered a flood in 2021 and didn’t intend to return to business after the catastrophic situation.

That led to Bollman contracting to buy pieces of the company’s equipment to meet its own demands.

Click Here to watch the video.

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