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ASI Research Update: Pasture Lambing

Michigan sheep producer Isaac Matchett of Matchett Sheep Farm joins guest host Richard Ehrhardt, Ph.D., of Michigan State University to discuss Pasture Lambing Systems on this month’s ASI Research Update podcast.

“Our pastures are all on tillable farmland, which allows us to fertilize, reseed, maintain and make improved pastures,” said Matchett, whose family lambs 1,700 ewes in Northern Michigan. “But I believe that pasture lambing can be a tool that works in a lot of different scenarios and in a lot of different types of pasture environments across the country.”

Click Here to listen to the podcast.


 NLFA Leadership School Visits Oregon

The National Lamb Feeders Association conducted its Howard Wyman Sheep Industry Leadership School in Brownsville, Ore., this week as NLFA President Reed Anderson and his wife, Robyn, played host to producers with a wide range of sheep industry experience.

Nearly 20 producers – ranging in age from young to old with a few in-between – slogged their way through a typical cold, wet spring week in Oregon’s Willamette Valley to see the area’s unique grass seed grazing operation. The three-day school started with a tour of the Andersons’ Kalapooia Valley Grass Fed Processing plant, which harvests lamb and beef. The Andersons opened the facility a decade ago when they – like many in the sheep industry – struggled to find reliable processing options for their animals.

Discussions on the area’s rye grass seed fields and how they are utilized for sheep grazing permeated much of the school, but time was also designated to look at wool handling, shearing, artificial insemination of sheep, foot rot and more. Dan Gutzman and Ethan Hanneman of Pendleton Woolen Mills also joined the group to discuss the company’s continued investment in new wool processing equipment.

The American Sheep Industry Association and the American Lamb Board provided NLFA with additional financial support for the school. The next leadership school will be in the Sacramento, Calif., area in the summer of 2026.

Look for more on the school in the May issue of the Sheep Industry News.


Australian Wool Market Falters Before Break

The Australian wool market closed lower this week, falling for the third successive series. After being forecast to be nearly 5,000 bales higher this week, 6.4 percent of the offering was withdrawn prior to sale. The final amount on offer was similar to last week with 44,437 bales available to the trade.

The sales in Sydney this week were held at the Sydney Royal Easter Show. This was the first time the auction has been held at the show since before the COVID-19 pandemic. This provided an excellent opportunity to showcase Australian wool auctions to the lager community.

The major downward impact on the market was felt in the fine Merino fleece types. The individual Micron Price Guides for 18.5 micron and finer fell by between 20 and 61 cents. There was noticeable buyer interest in wool measuring between 19.5 and 21 micron, and the downward movement in the MPGs in this range was less severe with some small increases recorded.

The AWEX Eastern Market Indicator dropped 10 cents for the series, closing at 1,142 Australian cents. The EMI continues to track down for the calendar year. The EMI opened 2024 at 1,212 cents and has now lost 70 cents for the year – a fall of 5.8 percent. The small reduction in the EMI highlights the stagnant nature of the market. In the 29 selling days of the year, the EMI has only had a double-figure movement on four occasions.

For the 2023-24 season, the EMI is trading higher. The EMI opened the season in July 2023 at 1,126 cents. Since then, the EMI has risen by 16 cents – a modest 1.4-percent increase. The oddments continue to trend higher, in contrast to the rest of the market. Strong competition pushed prices higher as the three Merino Carding Indicators closed up by an average of more than 6 cents.

Next week the market heads into the annual Easter recess. Sales resume the week of April 8.

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

Source: AWEX


Texas A&M Offers Market Outlook Webinar

David Anderson, Ph.D., of Texas A&M AgriLife will host a Sheep and Goat Market webinar on Wednesday at noon central time. He will delve into the current trends and future projections for the sheep and goat markets. Don’t miss out on a valuable opportunity to gain insights and strategic perspectives.

Click Here to register.

Source: Texas A&M AgriLife


SDSU Extension Offers Colostrum Survey

South Dakota State University’s dairy extension team would like to know what methods farmers use for colostrum on sheep farms.

The survey will take approximately five to 10 minutes of your time. Participation is voluntary and anonymous; your responses cannot be linked to you, your dairy operation or your business.

If you have any questions about this survey, please contact SDSU Student Intern Emilie Josse at or SDSU Extension Dairy Specialist Maristela Rovai at

Click Here to take the survey.

Source: SDSU Extension


Study Shows Effectiveness of Lamb Checkoff

The American Lamb Checkoff Program has substantially increased the annual value of American lamb despite the modest funding available for promotion, according to Texas A&M University’s 2024 report Return on Investment in the American Lamb Checkoff Program conducted by agricultural economists Dr. Gary Williams and Dr. Oral Capps, Jr.

According to the study, lamb consumption increased by $1.17 billion to $1.31 billion. Researchers attributed the increase to ALB’s promotional efforts, which increased both lamb consumption rates and retail lamb prices. This lift resulted in an average annual growth of between $58.7 million and $62.4 million.

“The purpose of the lamb checkoff has been to increase demand for American lamb,” says ALB Chairman Jeff Ebert. “The results of this study confirm that despite a small budget, ALB’s promotional efforts have successfully resulted in increased demand for lamb.”

In this study, researchers also found an increase in consumption value to be an impressive metric of program success, citing that checkoff expenditures amounted to only about 0.04 percent of the total value of consumption during that period. Compared to the value of lamb consumed annually, the lamb checkoff program spends extremely little on lamb promotion. For every $100 in retail revenue from lamb, only about 4.3 cents were spent to promote lamb consumption.

The study also examined the demand for lamb related to income and found that per capita income has “become a statistically significant driver for the demand for lamb.” This finding is important because it implies that more lamb is sold as the economy and consumer incomes grow. The study found that a 10-percent increase in income results in a 2.7-percent increase in the demand for lamb.

Regarding competitive meats, beef prices are the most significant driver influencing lamb demand. A 10-percent increase in the price of beef results in about a 6.8-percent increase in the demand for lamb. On a smaller scale, a 10-percent increase in the price of pork correlates to a 1.2-percent increase in the demand for lamb. There was no correlation related to poultry prices; therefore, the study indicates that consumers do not consider lamb a substitute meat for that market.

Another measure of the checkoff program contribution is the cost-to-benefit ratio. The Texas A&M study reported that the average return to industry stakeholders was approximately $16.60 for each promotional $1 invested. The study concluded that for every dollar in additional assessment NOT paid by stakeholders – and thus not spent on lamb promotion – industry stakeholders lose an average of $16.60 in potential additional industry revenue.

Click Here to learn more.

Source: ALB


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.

HPAI Detected in Domestic Livestock

On Monday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced that highly pathogenic avian influenza has been detected at four dairy farms – two in Texas and two in Kansas. The current HPAI outbreak began in February 2022 and has impacted both poultry and wild bird flocks.

The detections at the dairy farms seem to have been introduced by wild bird populations. The announcement from APHIS follows an announcement from the Minnesota Board of Animal Health that HPAI was detected in goats – the first detection in domestic livestock reported in the United States. This case occurred on a farm whose backyard poultry flock had recently tested positive for HPAI. Since the current outbreak began, HPAI has been detected in more than 200 wild mammals.

USDA confirmed there is no threat to human health and that milk and meat remain safe to consume. It also confirmed that the affected cows do not appear to be transmitting the disease to other members of their herd.

House Ag Conducts China Hearing

On March 20, the House Committee on Agriculture held a hearing titled, The Danger China Poses to American Agriculture. The first panel featured witnesses including South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, and the House Chair and Ranking Member of the Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, Reps. Mike Gallagher (Wis.) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (Ill.), respectively. The second panel featured American Soybean Association President Josh Gackle, former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Investment Security of the U.S. Treasury Nova Daly, and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture Kim Tom.

There was bipartisan concern about the impacts of Chinese influence on American agriculture and national security. Members of both parties agreed on the importance of remaining competitive in the global agricultural market. Republicans focused on the variety of threats China poses to the United States, including intellectual property theft, cybersecurity attacks and acquisition of farmland by foreign interests.

Democrats warned that policy decisions might inadvertently impact the Asian American community and that aggressive tariffs could have negative impacts on the United States and its trading allies. Other topics discussed include trade promotion programs within the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the farm, and potential improvements to the tracking and reporting system for land purchases.

House Ag Subcommittee Looks at FY 2025 Budget

On March 21, the House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration held its hearing to review the president’s Fiscal Year 2025 budget request for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack spoke to the broad scope of USDA’s work and its impact on rural America in defending spending increases in the request.

There was bipartisan agreement on the importance of USDA in promoting food security and rural development. Republicans were concerned about the level of spending as well as the secretary’s use of the Commodity Credit Corporation. Subcommittee Chairman Andy Harris (Md.) focused on the use of federal nutrition benefits to purchase unhealthy foods and supported putting restrictions on what federal benefits may be used to purchase.

Democrats praised the budget request for investing in rural businesses and staffing shortages at USDA. They supported the requested increase for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women and Children and the creation of a contingency fund for WIC.

Other topics discussed included the struggles of small- and medium-sized farms due to increased input costs, foreign farmland ownership, staffing capacity and employee retention, and support for agriculture disaster assistance and crop insurance. The FY 2025 budget request included $25.2 billion in discretionary spending for USDA – an increase of $2.2 billion or 10 percent more than the FY 2024 enacted level.

Click Here for a recording of the hearing.


Western Caucus Warns Against New ESA Rules

Today, Senate Western Caucus Chair Cynthia Lummis (Wyo.) and House Western Caucus Chair Dan Newhouse (Wash.) raised serious concerns about the Biden Administration’s reversal of key reforms to the Endangered Species Act by the Trump Administration that increased stakeholder engagement, defined critical habitat and ensured species recovery plans were effective. The Biden Administration’s new rules will empower D.C. bureaucrats to enact one-size fits all regulations and levy a hefty burden on landowners, businesses and workers throughout Wyoming and the west.

“The Biden Administration rolling back key reforms to the Endangered Species Act puts radical environmentalists in the driver’s seat in determining the future of land use out West,” said Lummis. “Beyond giving D.C. bureaucrats the power to infringe on property rights and shut down good paying jobs, the reforms reject common sense in favor of big government regulations. These rules will not change the fact that less than 2 percent of species listed are recovered, but they will cost Wyoming and the west dearly.”

“The decision to reverse critical reforms to the ESA is yet another example of how the Biden Administration is beholden to extreme activists,” said Newhouse. “These misguided changes won’t improve the ESA’s goal of recovering species but will instead further impede on private landowners’ rights. The ESA needs true reforms to help save species without burdening rural communities, and the Congressional Western Caucus urges the Biden Administration to immediately reconsider this decision.”

Click Here to read the full statement.

Source: Congressional Western Caucus

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