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APHIS Awards Grant to ASI’s Secure Sheep & Wool Supply Plan

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is providing more than $180,000 in Farm Bill funding to support the American Sheep Industry Association to expand awareness with sheep and wool producers, as well as those that work with and support them – associations, extension, veterinarians, transporters and regulatory officials – about foot-and-mouth disease preparedness and the resources in the Secure Sheep and Wool Supply Plan.

Producers who have a deeper understanding on how to prepare for and respond to an FMD outbreak will be better positioned to protect their flock and maintain business continuity. This makes for a more resilient American sheep industry, which benefits producers, states and consumers. The project is expected to take two years to complete.

The grant will build capacity for broad outreach and education through multiple virtual train-the-trainer programs for sheep association leadership, extension specialists and veterinarians. The training program will include support for advanced trainers to deliver outreach direct to sheep producers in their states or regions. On-farm demonstrations throughout the United States with expert support has been successful in other livestock industries for teaching enhanced biosecurity and contingency planning principles.

Attendees at the 2024 ASI Annual Convention in Colorado will have the opportunity to see first-hand implementation of the SSWS Plan on a sheep feedlot and in a sheep processing plant through an in person/on-site tour. Participants will hear about lessons learned from these operations, which may be applied at their own premises. Increasing the number of people who have the training, networking and resources to provide outreach about FMD preparedness and the SSWS Plan is critical for the American sheep industry.

“Consistent access to safe, healthy and affordable food is a critical need for all consumers,” said USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt. “These Farm Bill-funded preparation activities are vital to helping us safeguard U.S. animal health, which in turn allows U.S. producers to continue to feed our country and the world.”

The information developed from the grant will improve the SSWS Plan resources for sheep producers and stakeholders. ASI and USDA provided funding to develop the SSWS Plan and associated resources for producers.

ASI looks forward to collaborating on this project with industry stakeholders and Dr. Danelle Bickett-Weddle, a consultant with Preventalytics. ASI provides unique resources for sheep producers to prepare for, respond to and enhance their resiliency for an FMD event.

Click Here to learn more about the SSWS Plan.


Experience Wool Video Showcases American Ranchers

On National Ag Day 2023 earlier this week, the American Wool Council released its video American Spirit to honor all of the American ranchers working day in and day out to provide food and fiber to American consumers. Make sure to follow @ExperienceWool on all social media channels to catch more videos throughout the year.

Click Here to watch the video.


Research Update Podcast Looks at Lamb Trade

Lamb Trade Dynamics is the latest topic of discussion on the ASI Research Update podcast. Tyler Cozzens, Ph.D., of the Livestock Marketing Information Center joins podcast host Jake Thorne of Texas A&M AgriLife to discuss this important topic.

Click Here to listen to the podcast.


USDA Announces Sec. 32 Purchase Details

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service issued a solicitation invitation for more than 483,000 pounds of American lamb earlier this week. Offers must be submitted by Tuesday. Lamb purchased through the program will be for use in domestic food distribution programs.

The solicitation calls for diced lamb, lamb leg roasts, lamb loin chops and lamb shoulder chops.

The American Sheep Industry Association requested a Section 32 purchase by USDA of American lamb in 2022 in support of the industry as prices declined and frozen stocks increased. USDA announced its intent to make such a purchase in December of 2022.

Click Here for more information.

Source: USDA/AMS


Sheep Producers Named to WS Advisory Committee

The American sheep industry is well represented on the newly appointed National Wildlife Services Advisory Committee. Five sheep producers were appointed to the committee. Among them are Curry Campbell (Texas), Dave McEwen (Mont.), Bernard Peterson (Nev.), Burton Pfliger (N.D.) and Cat Urbigkit (Wyo.)

The 20 members – including four returning advisors – were named in early March by Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack. The NWSAC advises the secretary on recommendations for policies and activities for USDA’s Wildlife Services program.

The NWSAC membership represents a broad range of agriculture and wildlife interests. Nominees are selected to represent program stakeholders including academia, airport safety, farming and livestock producers, and state wildlife agencies, among other interest groups. The NWSAC serves as an open forum for diverse interests to have a voice in the policies, guidance and strategic planning for WS.

Committee members are appointed for a two-year term and can serve up to three consecutive terms. Reappointed members include: Urbigkit, Prosser, McEwen and Regan.

As a commitment to transparency and accountability, WS established the NWSAC in 1986. By re-chartering the NWSAC in early 2022, USDA recognized the valuable public forum it has provided for more than 35 years, enabling those affected by the WS program to have a voice in its policies. Annual meetings of NWSAC allow the public an opportunity to participate and provide input to the secretary on overall policy and guidance for the operation of the WS program, resources to accomplish the WS mission, impacts of depredating wildlife, public health and safety problems created by birds and other wildlife, and research activities and priorities to address wildlife damage management needs.

The newly reconstituted advisory committee is planning to meet in the fall of 2023.



Wildlife Services Posts FY 2022 Data

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s wildlife damage management program, Wildlife Services, posted its annual Program Data Reports for fiscal year 2022. The reports are available on the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service webpage, representing the 27th year that WS has shared this information about its wildlife damage management activities.

In the United States, wildlife is a public resource held in trust and managed by government agencies for present and future generations. Wildlife is a highly valued natural resource that provides important ecosystem services, food and clothing, and recreational activities that generate billions of dollars of economic activity annually. While wildlife contributes a lot of positive value to the human environment, they also can have negative impacts on agriculture, human health and safety, property and natural resources. Predators cause an estimated $232 million in losses to livestock producers annually and bird damage to crops exceeds $150 million each year. Bird and other wildlife strikes with aircraft cost hundreds of millions of dollars in damage, delay flights and threaten human health and safety.

WS carries out its activities with a combination of congressionally appropriated and cooperator provided funding. In FY 2022, WS received $109.2 million in appropriated funds (49 percent of its total budget) to manage wildlife damage operations in every state and territory, conduct research and to support special programs, such as managing feral swine damage and rabies in raccoons and other wildlife. Funding from program cooperators – including federal and state agencies, counties, livestock producers, and other agricultural producer groups, other organizations, businesses and individuals – allowed WS to maximize its scope and effectiveness. During FY 2022, WS received $111.5 million in cooperator-provided funding (51 percent of its total budget) for operational wildlife damage management. In FY 2022, APHIS spent its budget as follows:

  • 36.5 percent to protect agriculture, including livestock, row crops, aquaculture and timber.
  • 31.5 percent to reduce or prevent wildlife hazards to human health and safety, such as wildlife collisions with aircraft and disease transmission.
  • 19 percent on protection of property.
  • 13 percent on natural resource protection, including threatened and endangered species.

Click Here for the full report.



Australian Wool Market Records Small Gains

The Australian wool market managed to halt its downward slide, albeit by the smallest of margins. The sale reduced in size compared to previous weeks after 9.4 percent of the offering was withdrawn prior to sale. There were 40,224 bales on offer nationally – 3,825 fewer bales than the previous series.

The main driver in the market recording an overall increase was strong demand in the medium to broad Merino fleece types. Market results were quite varied between the three selling centers. The Fremantle region was the strongest performer for the series, recording increases across all sectors. The individual Micron Price Guides in the West for Merino fleece climbed by between 10 and 25 cents. Gains in the skirtings and oddments helped push the Western Indicator up by 17 cents for the week.

In Sydney, losses were recorded across all Merino fleece MPGs finer than 19.5 micron. These Northern MPGs dropped by between 6 and 25 cents. This, combined with falls in the oddment and skirting sectors, pushed the Northern Indicator down by 7 cents. The Melbourne market was extremely varied depending on micron. The MPGs for 18.5 micron and finer fell by between 9 and 103 cents (17 micron most affected), while the MPGs for 19 to 21 micron climbed by between 15 and 55 cents. The Southern indicator added 9 cents for the week.

The AWEX Eastern Market Indicator managed a 1-cent rise, closing at 1,318 Australian cents. The Australian dollar added over a full cent (1.03) compared to the U.S. dollar since the close of the previous series. This meant when viewed in USD, buyer’s purchases were comparatively dearer, thus preventing the market from recording a larger increase. This is highlighted when viewing the EMI in USD terms, as it gained 14 U.S. cents for the week – an increase of 1.6 percent (compared to the 0.08 percent increase in AUD terms).

Click Here for the Full Australian Wool Market Report.

Source: AWEX


Survey Needs Producers’ Perspectives on Solar Grazing

The Bock Agricultural Law and Policy Program at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is conducting a survey on sheep producers’ perspectives on the solar grazing industry and needs your response before the survey closes on April 30.

The survey is designed to take roughly five minutes, and asks sheep producers to rate their familiarity with solar grazing and their perceived impacts of solar grazing on their local economy, environment and community. Respondents are also asked to elaborate further on their personal opinions toward the practice. The goal is to utilize the responses to determine how opinions of solar grazing differ between regions and farm sizes, and to understand any potential barriers to expanding the solar grazing industry.

Respondents do not have to practice solar grazing to take this survey. Respondents may provide their email at the end of the survey to receive a $5 Amazon gift card. Emails will not be shared with anyone outside of the research team and will not be used to contact respondents about future studies.

Click Here to take the survey.

Source: University Illinois


ASI Supports Trust the Science Act

The American Sheep Industry Association called on leaders of the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources this week to support and pass H.R. 764, the Trust the Science Act.

“Our association policy supports that H.R. 764 would require the Secretary of Interior to reissue the 2020 Department of the Interior final rule that delisted gray wolves in the lower 48 United States and ensures that the reissuance of the final rule will not be subject to judicial review,” wrote ASI President Brad Boner of Wyoming. “Gray wolves are fully recovered and should remain delisted in the lower 48. We add that predator losses and predator management expenses are frequently the second largest expense of a sheep operation in the United States.”

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