USDA/AMS Reopens Comments on Lamb Promotion Rule
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service is providing an additional 30 days for public comment on the proposed rule that would amend the Lamb Promotion, Research and Information Order under the Commodity Promotion, Research and Information Act of 1996.
AMS is reopening the comment period to encourage additional input on a topic identified during the initial comment period. AMS received a request for flexibility in the remittance of collected assessments by lower-volume or seasonal market agencies. Such flexibilities could allow small market agencies that fall below a specific threshold to remit assessments on a quarterly or annual basis, as opposed to the required monthly basis. The proposed rule will not increase assessment rates.
Reopening the comment period provides interested persons an additional opportunity to comment on the proposal. Comments are solicited from all stakeholders, notably those who would be impacted by the proposed amendments.
The reopening of comments was published in the Federal Register on Feb. 22. The public can provide comments until March 24, at www.Regulations.gov. For more information, contact Jason Julian, agricultural marketing specialist, at email@example.com or 202-731-2149.
Since 1966, Congress has authorized industry-funded research and promotion boards to provide a framework for agricultural industries to pool resources and combine efforts to develop new markets, strengthen existing markets and conduct important research and promotion activities. AMS provides oversight to 22 boards. The oversight ensures fiscal accountability and program integrity and is paid for by industry assessments.
ASI Asks Producers to Complete Survey
The American Sheep Industry Association is conducting an online survey on animal identification and animal disease traceability systems. The objective of this survey is to acquire information from sheep producers on their use of animal identification systems and the implementation of a national animal disease traceability program.
The survey will close today.
Click Here to complete the survey.
ALB Nominations Due to ASI by March 26
The American Sheep Industry Association is actively seeking nominations of sheep producers and lamb feeders to serve on the American Lamb Board. ASI is recognized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a Certified Nominating Organization to submit nominations for lamb producers and feeders who serve on the board.
ALB will have two producer openings to be appointed later this year and begin serving three-year terms in 2022. One opening is for a producer with between 101 and 500 lambs to fill the position currently held by Tom Colyer of Massachusetts. He is not eligible for reappointment. The second opening is for a producer with more than 500 lambs to fill the position currently held by Gwen Kitzan of South Dakota. She is not eligible for reappointment. To meet regional requirements, one producer must be from Region 1 as recognized by USDA.
There is also an opening for a feeder with 5,000 or more lambs. At least two nominations will be required to fill the slot currently held by Rob Rule of Iowa, who is eligible for reappointment.
ASI is looking to submit two eligible producers and feeders for each position. Anyone interested in applying should first consult with representatives from their state sheep association. Applications are due to ASI by March 26 and can be sent to ASI Executive Director Peter Orwick at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Composed of 13 members representing two geographical regions, the board administers a research and promotion program authorized by the Commodity Promotion, Research and Information Act of 1996. USDA encourages board membership that reflects the diversity of the individuals served by its industry.
Click Here for more information.
California Ram Sale Set for April 10
The California Wool Growers Association is hosting the 101st Annual California Ram Sale on April 10 at the International Agri-Center in Tulare, Calif.
More than 500 rams including crossbred, Hampshire, Oxford, Suffolk and white-faced rams will be offered from California, Colorado, Nevada, Idaho and Utah.
Ultrasound carcass measurements (i.e. loin eye area) and a Range Ram Index will be provided on all sale rams. The Range Ram Index utilizes ultrasound carcass data collected at the sale and will help to identify the potential genetic merit of those rams in passing superior genetic traits such as larger loin eye area or heavier carcass weights into producer flocks.
This years’ Ram Sale Trade Show will feature a variety of sheep health and equipment companies showcasing products developed to address sheep production, nutritional and health needs.
Ram sale information including the sale catalog, schedule, lodging information, directions, etc., is available on the CWGA website at www.californiawoolgrowers.org. To request a catalog, contact the CWGA office at 916-444-8122 or email@example.com.
The sale schedule is as follows:
- 9 a.m.: Buyer check-in & ram preview;
- 9:30 a.m.: Trade show opens;
- 11:30 a.m.: Complimentary buyer BBQ lamb luncheon;
- 1 p.m.: Ram sale auction.
Contributions and proceeds from the California Ram Sale support CWGA in its continued efforts to deliver lasting value to support and grow all segments of the California sheep industry.
For questions, contact the CWGA office at 916-444-8122 or firstname.lastname@example.org, Wes Patton at 530-514-7250 or John Olagaray at 209-663-7322.
Farm Workforce Modernization Act Re-Introduced
This week, Chair Zoe Lofgren (Calif.) and Rep. Dan Newhouse (Wash.) reintroduced the Farm Workforce Modernization Act.
During the last Congress, the American Sheep Industry Association worked with members, including Reps. Newhouse and Simpson (Idaho), to ensure that this legislation included a number of provisions that would be beneficial for sheep producers utilizing guest herders. The bill would provide for year-round visas for guest herders, and specifically for the sheep industry, would set aside an allocation of H-2A visas for those herders.
With fully one-third of the sheep raised in the United States under the care of a guest herder at some point in their life, guaranteeing access to this program and easing the financial and regulatory burden for American sheep producers is a top priority. ASI looks forward to working with Congress for meaningful H-2A reform.
Researchers Undertake Environmental Footprint Study
Environmental concerns about livestock production continue to gain traction, and the American lamb industry entered the spotlight when a 2011 Environmental Working Group Study characterized lamb as one of the largest contributors of greenhouse gas emissions. The study’s outcomes are still cited at influential conferences and in the media.
“Sustainability issues have proven to be very important to consumers. They are definitely not a fad. And, consumers are showing they are willing to make purchases based on their concerns, including the choices being made to select plant-forward meals and reduce meat consumption,” said Gwen Kitzan, chair of the American Lamb Board. “Food companies of all sizes are putting demands on producers and suppliers to provide environmental footprint data.”
Recently, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed a proclamation promoting March 20 – which is traditionally National Agriculture Day – as MeatOut Day. Influencers and celebrities are prominent in sustainability activism. For example, Bill Gates was quoted as saying, “I do think all rich countries should move to 100 percent synthetic beef,” as a way to address climate change.
ALB is working with a multidisciplinary team at Michigan State University to evaluate the environmental footprint of the American sheep industry in order to have accurate and robust data to contribute to this very important issue. The initial focus of the study has been to define a comprehensive model of GHG emissions for the diverse array of American sheep production systems, such as range, farm flock pasture and intensive, and feedlot. MSU will conduct a partial life cycle analysis of lamb production in these types of operations to quantify GHG emissions.
As work progresses, data will be assembled on various GHG mitigation strategies, primarily via land and crop management practices. During the final phase, MSU will define environmental improvement strategies that are the most feasible and impactful for sheep producers to employ according to their particular production system. A blueprint for producer education strategies to address these priorities will wrap up the project.
Livestock Conservancy Offers Mighty Mitten Challenge
Starting on March 10, the Livestock Conservancy’s Shave ‘Em to Save ‘Em Initiative challenges you to make a pair of mittens or fingerless gloves with fiber artist and author Deborah Robson in the Mighty Mitten Challenge.
A special Facebook group has been created just for the Mighty Mitten Challenge, where Robson will livestream a new lesson every Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. eastern time, March 10-31. She will discuss a number of mitten-making topics and field questions from participants.
For the challenge, four mitten patterns – including a fingerless and a fold-over pattern – will be provided. Participants will provide the yarn from a sheep breed listed on the Conservation Priority List. Not sure which sheep breeds are best for making mittens? Watch Robson talk about that in the Challenge Launch Facebook Live. Hint: she recommends the down breeds, which can be machine washed and dried.
If participants need to buy mitten yarn, search for “yarn” in the Breeders and Products Directory.
Source: The Livestock Conservancy
Australian Wool Market Records Mixed Week
The Australian wool market performed with mixed results this series, with all three centers generally reporting different movements across individual Micron Price Guides. The national offering was lower than the previous series – there were 46,544 bales available to the trade – 3,594 fewer bales than last week. Compared to the previous season, there have been 54,025 more bales offered through the auction system – a 5.2 percent increase in volume.
The market remained solid during the first two days, but noticeably diminished toward the end of the final day. Melbourne (which sold for three days) was the only center to record no negative movements for the series as the Southern MPGs ranged from par to 40 cents dearer. Sydney MPGs (which sold Tuesday and Wednesday) recorded movements of between -15 and +2 cents. The Fremantle region (which sold Wednesday and Thursday) selling last in the series recorded the largest losses. The Western MPGs for 18.0 to 19.5 micron dropped by between 13 and 27 cents. The up and down movements in different sectors and different centers resulted in minimal movement in the AWEX Eastern Market Indicator, which gained 4 cents for the series and closed the week at 1,310 Australian cents.
In an opposite trend to the previous series, due to a weakening of the Australian dollar (the AUD dropped by 1.79 cents compared to last week), when viewed in U.S. dollar terms, the EMI lost ground. The EMI fell by 20 U.S. cents, closing the series at 1,020 U.S. cents – a 1.9 percent reduction.
Prices in the carding market increased across all three centers – the only sector to do so. General gains of between 10 to 20 cents in stains, locks and crutchings helped push the three Merino Carding indicators up by an average of 10.3 cents. Next week’s national offering increases as there are currently 49,883 bales on offer.
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