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ASI Lists Industry Priorities for Farm Bill

In preparation for its Spring Trip to Washington, D.C., later this month, the American Sheep Industry Association has updated several issue briefs that sheep producers will share with their congressional delegations. Among them, is a brief on issues that are important to the sheep industry in the development of the new Farm Bill.

The Farm Bill brief calls for the continuation of the Wool Apparel Manufacturers Trust Fund, U.S. Wool Research and U.S. Pima Cotton as trade laws in the past three decades have had a devastating impact on the tailored clothing and textile industries in the United States. Tariffs on imported fabrics used in tailored clothing – 25 percent on worsted fabrics and 11 percent on cotton fabrics – far exceed the duty rates imposed on imported tailored clothing. This “tariff inversion” operates as a “Made in America” tax. A special rule in several trade agreements grants tailored clothing made in numerous countries duty-free entry, further compounding the negative impact of the underlying tariff inversion.

This is why ASI supports an extension of sections 12602, 12603 and 12604 of the 2018 Farm Bill. These programs are consistent with recent congressional efforts to strengthen American manufacturing and reduce the offshoring of jobs. Many of the programs’ beneficiaries are spinners, fabric makers and cut-and-sew operators who pivoted to become part of a vital personal protection equipment supply chain during the initial COVID outbreak. Many are also the companies and growers that produce the fiber, fabric and apparel for military uniforms.

For more than two decades, these programs have been successful in maintaining domestic factories, saving American jobs, and increasing markets for domestic wool and cotton. Collectively, these programs’ beneficiaries still pay more in tariffs than they collect back in payments. However, the programs’ designs fairly balance the interests of each stakeholder in the production chain and creates a more level playing field against foreign competitors.

While the ASI brief calls for the continuation of marketing assistance loans and loan deficiency payments for wool, the association asks that there be a re-examination of the wool loan rate and an adjustment to provide an effective risk management tool for sheep producers.

In addition, ASI calls for continuing the Sheep Production and Marketing Grant Program, which is intimately connected to the National Sheep Industry Improvement Center and its ability to provide funding for projects that strengthen and enhance the production and marketing of sheep and sheep products in the United States.

ASI also supports continuing funding for animal disease prevention and management programs such as the National Annual Vaccine and Veterinary Countermeasure Bank – among others – established in the 2018 Farm Bill. The association also calls for $5 million to fund research and development to support the approval of new animal drug products for sheep, especially antiparasitic drugs.

The brief also expresses support for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service, specifically its Market Access Program, Foreign Market Development Program and Quality Samples Program. With more than half of the American wool clip exported each year, access to foreign markets is critical to the industry. ASI uses funds from each of these programs to support the marketing of American wool overseas.

In addition to the Farm Bill brief, ASI updated or developed briefs on the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station, Scrapie Eradication, Bighorn Sheep in Domestic Grazing Allotments, and Wildlife Services.

Click Here to read each of the briefs.


Australian Wool Market Sees Small Gains

Buyers were met with another large sale this week as more than 48,000 bales were offered on the back of large sales during the previous three weeks. The recent surge in wool resulted in an overall February offering of 193,385 bales, which was the largest monthly offering in 11 months and the largest February offering in eight years.

Crossbreds contributed to the lift in volumes increasing to 25 percent of the January/February total (up from 21 percent in the pre-Christmas period), but this is in line with the trend from previous years. The market handled the sizable offering effortlessly with the AWEX Eastern Market Indicator firming 4 cents for the week. A weaker Australian dollar appeared to assist the overall result in local terms given the EMI eased 9 cents when converted to U.S. currency.

A staggered roster saw Melbourne and Fremantle open on a positive note on Tuesday with prices around 10 cents higher for Merino types. Wednesday saw all three centers in action and the market movements varied with each location. Sydney had odd pockets of strength thanks to a designated superfine sale, but was otherwise cheaper.

Melbourne was mostly dearer while Fremantle recorded only minor movements. The Eastern-only final day closed out the week with a 5-cent gain in the EMI after good support was recorded in Sydney on the back of a stylish superfine selection. Crossbreds closed 10 cents lower for most microns after losing ground on the final day. Merino cardings firmed slightly while Merino skirtings made only minor movements for the sale.

The large sales continue into next week with more than 51,333 bales forecast in three centers, including another three-day Melbourne sale. A public holiday on Monday has resulted in Fremantle and Sydney holding auctions in a Wednesday/Thursday pattern.

Click Here for the Full Australian Wool Market Report.

Source: AWEX


Get to Know ALB’s Karissa Isaacs

The American Lamb Board is pleased to welcome new member Karissa Isaacs of Milliken, Colo., to serve the American lamb industry.

Isaacs is the director of producer resources for Superior Farms. In her role on with ALB, Isaacs represents first handlers. Isaacs works directly with producer partners to develop programs to improve production efficiencies and consistency through camera grading, genetic research and producer education.

She grew up in the sheep industry and focused her education on lamb quality, obtaining her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Colorado State University in animal science, emphasizing meat quality. During Isaacs’ education, she worked on numerous lamb quality projects, including her thesis on Differentiating Flavor Differences in American Lamb and the National Lamb Quality Audit.

Isaacs joins the other ALB members, representing six producers, three feeders, three first handlers and one seedstock producer. Two producers must own 100 head or less of lambs annually; one producer must own 101 to 500 head of lambs annually; and three producers must own more than 500 head of lambs annually. At least one feeder must feed less than 5,000 head of lambs annually and at least one must feed more than 5,000 head of lambs annually. Current ALB members are:

  • Andrew Allman, first handler, Gill, Colo., serving his first term from 2022-2025.
  • Travis Anderson, first handler, Brownsville, Ore., serving his first term from 2020-2023.
  • Carlos Barba, first handler, Naperville, Ill., serving his first term from 2021-2024.
  • Peter Camino, feeder, Buffalo, Wyo., chair (more than 5,000 head), serving his second term from 2018-2024.
  • Mike Duff, seedstock producer, Blackfoot, Idaho, serving his first term from 2021-2024.
  • Jeff Ebert, producer, St. George, Kan., vice chair (representing producers with 100 head or less).
  • David Fisher, producer, Sonora, Texas (less than 500 head), serving his first term from 2022-2025.
  • Don Hawk, feeder (at-large), Danville, Ohio, treasurer.
  • Dave McEwen, producer, Galata, Mont. (less than 500 head), serving his first term from 2021-2024.
  • Jimmy Parker, producer, Vinemont, Ala., (101-500 head), serving his first time from 2022-2025.
  • Steve Schreier, feeder, Tracy, Minn. (less than 5,000 head), serving his first term from 2022-2025.
  • Sally Scholle, producer, Littlestown, Penn., secretary (100 or less head), serving her second term from 2018-2024.
  • Gary Visintainer, producer, Craig, Colo. (representing producers with 500+ head).

ALB members must be nominated by a certified producer organization and submit a completed application. The U.S. Department of Agriculture will be soliciting nominations for 2024 board seats this spring.

ALB staff and board members are available to provide program updates at state and association meetings and field days. Please contact to schedule.

Source: ALB


Conservancy Hosting Much Ado About Mutton Dinner

On March 14, The Livestock Conservancy will celebrate the versatility of heritage sheep during a multi-course mutton dinner from Gage & Tollner Chef and Partner Sohui Kim, Executive Chef Adam Shepard, and Chef de Cuisine Sydne Gooden.

Highlights include Cotswold mutton provided by Ewetopia Farms and special guest hostess, model and actress Isabella Rossellini – a Livestock Conservancy ambassador. Half the proceeds from this charitable event will protect endangered livestock and poultry breeds from extinction.

Click Here for reservations and to view the full menu including Mutton tartare, Lamb liver pate gougeres, Mutton Ragu with Cavatelli and Roasted Mutton Loin. Tickets are $250.

Source: The Livestock Conservancy


Video of the Week

Experience Wool released a new video this week entitled From the Field: Reducing Wildfire Risk in which Public Affairs Officer Darcy Weseman of the Umatilla National Forest describes the valuable role sheep can play in the reduction of wildfires on our public lands.

Click Here to watch the video.

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