25 States Represented on ASI Spring Trip
This week, more than 80 members of the American Sheep Industry Association – representing 25 state affiliates – gathered in Washington, D.C., for the annual Spring Trip to meet with federal officials and their congressional representatives.
The meeting formally began on Tuesday with an ASI informational briefing and agency visits. Those in attendance were hosted at the U.S. Department of Agriculture for a full agenda of USDA speakers and joined by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Key topics included the trade situation with China and the need for direct assistance for American wool and sheepskins, Wildlife Services, Forest Service grazing allotments and rangeland management, and the importance of research. In addition, as the administration has announced a trade agreement with the United Kingdom as one of its priorities, ASI members were able to express to the USTR their concerns about the impact that bringing lamb in from highly subsidized nations would have on the domestic market.
While some took the afternoon to begin their visits to the Hill, many continued the agency focus with a meeting at the Environmental Protection Agency. At EPA, sheep producers heard about the agency’s progress on rewriting and implementing the Waters of the United States Rule, discussed predator control issues and future engagement opportunities for agriculture.
From there, many headed to the Department of Interior for a meeting with the secretary’s office to focus on grazing on Bureau of Land Management lands, issues with predation by species protected under the Endangered Species Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and the agency’s efforts to celebrate ESA successes by delisting recovered species.
The meeting with Interior also proved a great opportunity to engage with the department regarding the recent announcement of a plan by Interior to provide USDA Wildlife Services with additional funding to hire bear conflict specialists in Montana. This was a tremendous step in the right direction to address issues producers and communities are facing from these species and came as a result of many years of working closely with ASI and the Montana Wool Growers Association.
“Our time with the agencies is always appreciated and we sincerely thank secretaries Perdue and Bernhardt, as well as Administrator Wheeler for making their staff available to the industry,” said Benny Cox, ASI President. “The chance to hear about and give feedback on programs the sheep industry relies on is a huge part of this trip. This year, we had a lot on the agenda to accomplish and a lot of wins to celebrate.
“We have heard clearly from sheep producers on the impact that Chinese tariffs have had on their ability to market wool and sheepskins. This has been a tough time for many in our industry and we were able to advocate vigorously for assistance with the USDA and USTR,” Cox continued. “We were also pleased to be able to share our appreciation for the administration’s support of the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station, the continued efforts to defend predator control, and additional assistance to handle issues with grizzlies in Montana.”
Following the agency visits, ASI members took to the Hill on Wednesday to visit directly with their congressional representatives and staffs in the U.S. House and Senate. For most, trade issues topped the list of priorities, namely ensuring wool and sheepskins are included in any future trade adjustment assistance program in the coming months. In addition, sheep producers took the opportunity to discuss the importance of livestock transportation and animal care concerns in response to the Electronic Logging Mandate, the importance of a viable guest herder program under special procedures, increased funding to hire additional staff at the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station, ensuring the continued full implementation of the scrapie program, supporting Wildlife Services, and the continuation of our bighorn sheep report language directing the land management agencies to work with the USDA Agricultural Research Service.
“I cannot overstate the importance of ensuring legislators hear directly from sheep producers on the issues that affect them the most,” said Cox. “This is a critical trip for the future of the sheep industry, and I thank the many sheep producers from 25 states who took time from their operations to join us in Washington, D.C.”
Tips for Shearing Season
Check out a quick list of Do’s and Dont’s for shearing season.
Archive of Artificial Lamb Rearing Webinar Available
If you missed the American Sheep Industry Association Let’s Grow Program-sponsored webinar on artificial lamb rearing on March 3, you can now view the archived presentation.
Rusty Burgett of the National Sheep Improvement Program presented on the topic, walking producers through the process of transitioning a nuisance to a potential profit center. As the industry identifies which ewes are capable of having and rearing multiple births, efficiently raising orphan lambs artificially can have a positive impact on the overall enterprise finances.
Click Here for the one hour and twenty minute presentation.
Click Here for access to all 32 Let’s Grow-sponsored webinars.
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 bachelors degree in agricultural education or animal science; four full-time (or equivalent) years of paid work experience in lamb and wool production.
Applications for the position are due by April 13, and the desired start date is July 1.
Click Here for the full job posting.
Australian Market Sees Decline
The Australian wool market followed the lead of other global markets this week – recording losses across the board. There were 43,579 bales offered nationally, and of this total 25.5 percent was passed in and 6.2 percent was withdrawn prior to sale as sellers were either unprepared or unwilling to accept the reduced prices.
The amount of wool put through auction this season is still well down. Compared to the corresponding sale of the previous season, there have been 126,694 fewer bales offered for sale – a reduction of 10.5 percent.
This week, better-style wools, wools carrying less than 1 percent vegetable matter and those possessing favorable additional measurement results attracted excellent buyer support. As a result of this support, these types were the least affected by the falling market. These wools, however, were in limited supply and the lower-yielding wools and those with less-favorable additional measurement results did not have the same buyer support. They continually lost ground as the series progressed, with some falling by 50 to 100 cents for the week.
Many of these lesser-style wools are not included in the make-up of the individual Micron Price Guides. As a result, falls in the MPGs did not reflect reductions in some sectors of the market. Across the country MPGs fell by 19 to 85 cents. On the back of these losses, the AWEX Eastern Market Indicator fell by 41 cents for the series – closing at 1,521 Australian cents. Due to currency movements, when viewed in USD terms, the EMI posted an even larger fall of 52 USc.
Next week’s offering increases as wool that was unable to be sold in Week 35 continues to make its way to market. There are currently 50,237 bales on offer in Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle, with Melbourne selling for three days to accommodate the larger quantity.
- PRODUCER EDUCATION