ASI Leads Call for Support of Wildlife Services
The American Sheep Industry Association recently led a coalition of more than 200 associations in calling for Congressional support of budgetary needs for Wildlife Services. The American sheep industry has long been one of the biggest supporters of the U.S. Department of Agriculture/Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service agency, and for good reason.
“Wildlife causes more than $12.8 billion in damage each year to natural resources, public infrastructures, private property and agriculture,” read coalition letters to leaders in both the U.S. Senate and House. “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. 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 resulting in losses of $6 to $12 million annually from double-crested cormorants in Mississippi alone. As a result, WS is an essential program to U.S. agriculture.
“WS assists farmers and ranchers in 50 states and two territories to reduce the impact of predators on their animals, protecting 4.5 million head of cattle, 3.4 million head of sheep, and 550,000 head of other livestock in 375,000 direct control actions. In FY 2021, WS provided more than 20,500 technical assistance activities that enabled 44,115 livestock producers to implement improved husbandry and methods such as use of guard animals, exclusion, fencing and predator dispersal. These activities included 31 predator management workshops attended by more than 1,200 individuals from 10 states, dispersal of more than 200,000 double-crested cormorants, removal of 7,900 cormorants at aquaculture facilities in 29 states to protect farmed fish from avian depredation. The industry is worth $1.5 billion nationally (per National Marine Fisheries Service).”
But the agency continues to work in ways that protect all Americans – not just farmers and ranchers – from dangerous interactions with wildlife.
“WS processed more than 14,600 strikes with civil aircraft with more than 10,000 strikes with military aircraft also reported. More than 255,000 wildlife strikes with civil aviation have been reported to the National Wildlife Strike Database for civil aviation since WS began keeping records in 1990. Reported wildlife-aircraft strikes continue to increase as airport managers and biologists prioritize reporting all wildlife strikes to the FAA database. Damaging strikes have decreased as a result of wildlife mitigation and awareness efforts at airfields. WS provided 316 staff years of direct support to assist a total of 784 civil, military and joint-use airports including about 72 percent of all U.S. commercial passenger airports. WS trained 5,056 airport and military personnel to prevent wildlife from colliding with aircraft, improving travel safety. WS also provided direct staff support to reduce aviation hazards at 142 U.S. or coalition military airbases stateside and in southwest Asia, the Pacific Rim, Africa, Europe and in the British Indian Ocean Territory plus at 103 civil-military airports protecting American military aviation assets and personnel.
“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 letter of support to the U.S. Senate.
Click Here to read the full letter of support to the U.S. House.
NDSU/UMN Hosting Marketing Webinar
North Dakota State University Extension and University of Minnesota Extension will host a real-world sheep and goat marketing webinar starting at 6:30 p.m. central time on Tuesday. Sheep and goat farmers/ranchers, 4-H and FFA members, and consumers of lamb and goat meat are invited to attend to learn more about current agriculture dynamics and pricing.
“Sheep and goat prices have been rewarding to ranchers since the initial pandemic supply chain hiccup in early 2020,” said NDSU and UMN Extension Sheep Specialist Travis Hoffman. “Sheep and goat production has been resilient, and we will provide input from regional sheep and goat market leaders on current and future outlook.”
Zumbrota Livestock Auction Manager Jeremy Schafer will provide an update on small ruminant commerce in southern Minnesota. Justin Lumpkin of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Market Service will provide information on market prices and auction barns in South Dakota and North Dakota.
Fred Krueger – who owns and operates a North Dakota state-inspected harvest facility specializing in sheep and goat processing – will provide insight into non-traditional, or ethnic, marketing options. Trevor VanWell operates VanWell Livestock in Watertown, S.D., and will provide his perspective on sheep supply and lamb demand.
“Producers have found sheep and goat production a profitable venture,” said Hoffman. “Equally important, American consumers are wanting to try and expand their consumption of lamb and goat at their own family dinners. In 2022, marketing is key.”
Pre-registration is required at: z.umn.edu/MarchMarketing. Registered attendees will receive the Zoom link immediately upon registration. Registrants who are unable to attend the live session will receive the recording via email.
Archived Webinars Provide Valuable Resources
The American Sheep Industry Association has sponsored nearly 40 educational webinars in the past decade that are available on demand for sheep producers across the United States and around the world.
Webinar topics range from sheep nutrition and health to marketing lamb and wool to genetic enhancement to economics. The webinars touch on every facet of the industry and provide a valuable resource to producers from a wide range of experience and production styles. In addition to video of the webinar, slides from the webinar presentation are generally available for download and offline use.
Click Here for the full list of webinar topics.
Second Straight Loss Hits Australian Market
The Australian wool market stopped its up-and-down run this series, instead recording an overall loss for the second consecutive sale. The national offering decreased by 2,102 bales to 45,149 bales.
The overall offering was slightly better when compared to last week. There was 30.2 percent of the selection AWEX Style 4 or better (up 0.2 percent), 42.8 percent carrying less than 1 percent vegetable matter (up 2.1 percent) and 29.5 percent recording a strength result of 40 NKT or better (up 3.1 percent). There was strong buyer attention of these types, although despite strong demand the prices being achieved were generally 10 to 20 cents below those achieved in the previous sale. Lesser-style wool, wool carrying higher levels of vm and those with lower NKT results – particularly those with mid-breaks higher than 60 percent – did not attract the same levels of support and were generally 30 to 60 cents easier.
By the end of the series, the individual Merino fleece Micron Price Guides across the country had reduced by between 21 and 46 cents with losses felt across the entire spectrum. These negative movements – combined with falls in the skirtings (prices for pieces and bellies generally fell by between 10 and 20 cents), crossbreds (the MPGs for 26 to 30 lost between 7 and 43 cents) and oddment sectors (the three Merino Carding Indicators dropped by an average of 20 cents) – pushed the AWEX Eastern Market Indicator down by 24 cents. The EMI closed the week at 1,384 Australian cents.
This overall loss was not as severe as some observers predicted given currency movement. Due to a continual strengthening of the Australian dollar – the AUD added 1.76 cents compared to last week – when viewed in U.S. dollar terms the EMI actually recorded an increase. The EMI added 7 U.S. cents, closing the week at 1,037 U.S. cents.
Wildlife Services Posts 2021 Data
On March 22, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s wildlife damage management program – Wildlife Services – posted its annual Program Data Reports for fiscal year 2021. The reports are available on the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service webpage, representing the 26th year that WS has shared this information about its wildlife damage management activities.
APHIS Wildlife Services’ activities seek to reduce or eliminate more than an estimated $232 million in livestock loss due to predation and $150 million in bird damage to crops caused by native and invasive wildlife annually. Comprehensive estimates of all types of wildlife damage are difficult to gauge, but each year wildlife strikes cause approximately $200 million in loss to American civil aviation and also pose a potential loss of life. APHIS responds to requests for assistance from individuals, companies and other government agencies when wildlife causes or threatens damage to human health/safety, agriculture, natural resources and property.
In FY 2021, APHIS encountered about 26.6 million animals while responding to calls for assistance and dispersed nearly 25 million wildlife from urban, rural and other settings where they were causing damage. APHIS dispersed 93 percent of the animals encountered. Not all conflicts can be resolved with nonlethal methods alone. Of all wildlife encountered, WS lethally removed 6.6 percent – or approximately 1.76 million – in targeted areas to reduce damage. Invasive species accounted for 77 percent (1,352,838) and native species 23 percent (404,565) of the wildlife lethally removed.
- Of the wildlife lethally removed, 79 percent were either an invasive species or a species listed on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Depredation Order for blackbirds, cowbirds, crows, grackles and magpies, due to the damage they cause.
- The invasive species removed included more than 15,000 brown tree snakes in Guam, 143,905 feral swine and 1,028,650 European starlings.
- Of native wildlife lethally removed, 64,131 were coyotes. Coyotes reportedly kill more than 300,000 head of livestock annually and injure even more.
- 75,351 were native Northern pike minnow that APHIS removed to protect federally threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead in the Pacific Northwest.
Where WS uses lethal control, APHIS works to make full use of the resource which includes the donation of 188 tons of goose, deer/elk, and other meat – more than 1 million servings of protein – for people in need.
Click Here for the full report.
S.C. Offers Hunting License for Tagged Coyotes
A hunter who takes one of the coyotes tagged for the South Carolina Coyote Harvest Incentive Program can trade that tag for a free lifetime hunting license, and the hunter can designate anyone – including a child – to receive the lifetime license.
Each year, four coyotes in each of four game zones – 16 total – are tagged and released. The program was initiated in 2016, and coyotes tagged in any year qualify for the lifetime hunting license. To date, about half of the 96 tagged coyotes have been taken.
Tags from coyotes marked for research purposes do not qualify for the program. The special tags for the incentive program instruct hunters to contact the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. According to the SCDNR – based on current harvest estimates – the overall coyote population appears to be down more than 28 percent since 2011.
“This indicates that control efforts by hunters and trappers are having an impact,” according to the SCDNR webpage on the incentive program.