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New Zealand Handling Commercial Wool Testing in 2020

As many in the industry learned during the American Sheep Industry Annual Convention in January, this year will be a transitional year for the testing of American wool.

Texas A&M AgriLife is in the process of turning its existing wool testing facility into a commercially viable lab that will be able to handle the needs of the American wool industry. But the facility won’t be fully functional in time for the spring 2020 season. In the meantime, the New Zealand Wool Testing Authority Laboratory will provide testing services.

ASI recently issued instructions for commercial wool testing for this season. Those needing testing will need to register with the NZWTA by emailing and the lab will provide users with all of the relevant forms and documentation, including: test request forms to complete and include with each sample; a credit application form; guidelines for exporting samples to NZWTA; a copy of the import permit that allows NZWTA to bring foreign wool into New Zealand; a copy of the import declaration form; and documents related to payment options.

Samples should then be packaged and shipped to NZWTA. FedEx and DHL have proven to be the fastest, most reliable options.

Length and strength testing are available with NZWTA. Samples/tufts can be placed in “pocket packs,” then rolled and shipped. Packs contain more than 60 tufts and the entire bag weighs approximately 5 ounces. These can be shipped with the core samples.

NZWTA is the only wool testing organization in the world that allows customers direct, secure access into its system. The MyWTA electronic portal allows customers to: see the status of lots in real time; see results as they become available, download and print test reports; and more. Contact NZWTA to register.

For those needing fleece testing, several labs in the United States are available.

Click Here for a list of fleece testing labs.

Click Here to learn more about commercial wool testing in 2020.


ASI Rallies Support for Wildlife Services

The American Sheep Industry Association shepherded more than 200 livestock and agriculture groups into a letter of support this week for Wildlife Services. ASI rallies support for Wildlife Services each year and demonstrated that support in this week’s letter to the chairs and ranking members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations and the Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, Related Agencies.

A branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Wildlife Services plays a crucial role in protecting not only livestock, but humans, natural resources and critical infrastructure from wildlife every day.

“Wildlife causes more than $12.8 billion in damage each year to natural resources, public infrastructures, private property and agriculture,” read the letter’s opening remarks. “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.

“Our organizations are committed to working with you to strengthen WS resources and to ensure a continued federal partnership in the responsible management of our nation’s wildlife.”

Click Here to read the full letter.


ASI Policy Book Updated for 2020

The American Sheep Industry Association Policy Book – including policies that were changed, added or renewed during the 2020 ASI Annual Convention in Scottsdale, Ariz. – has been updated and posted on the ASI website.

Click Here for the book.


Priority Policy Issues Available

For those attending the American Sheep Industry Association Spring Trip next week in Washington, D.C., a pdf of the industry’s priority policy issues and supporting information is available on the ASI website.

Participants will be given hard copies of the information after arriving in our nation’s capital and should share that information with congressional members that they meet with during the week.

For those not attending the Spring Trip, the information is a useful tool to provide when meeting congressional members or their staff back in your home state, as well.

Click Here for the priority policy issues.


Peterson, Bishop Offer Plan to Delist Gray Wolves

Reps. Collin C. Peterson (Minn.) and Rob Bishop (Utah) recently introduced the American Wild Game and Livestock Protection Act, which would delist the gray wolf from the Endangered Species Act in the lower 48 states and give states the ability to make their own rules about hunting and culling of gray wolf populations.

This legislation would require the Secretary of the Interior to delist the gray wolf from Endangered Species Act protections in the lower 48 states by finalizing the proposed rule entitled “Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Removing the Gray Wolf (Canis 7 lupus) From the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife” (84 Fed. Reg. 9648) and make the issuance of the rule not subject to judicial review.

Management of the gray wolf population was transferred from the state to the federal level following two 2014 U.S. district court decisions that reinstated gray wolves under the protections of the Endangered Species Act. These designations leave farmers and ranchers in those states without a legal avenue to protect their livestock from problem wolves.

“Gray wolf populations have reached sustainable levels and it is well past time to return authority over their management to the states,” said Peterson. “This bipartisan legislation will allow states to protect the livelihood of their livestock owners and preserve a healthy balance of wild animal populations.”

“I’m happy to co-lead with Congressman Peterson on introducing this critical piece of bipartisan legislation,” said Bishop, ranking republican, Committee on Natural Resources. “Gray wolves have been recovered for a long time now, and this bill will bring finality to the issue by allowing states to manage.”

“The American Sheep Industry strongly supports the American Wild Game and Livestock Protection Act and thanks Chairman Peterson and Representative Bishop for their continued leadership on this issue,” said American Sheep Industry Association President Benny Cox. “By any measure, gray wolf populations have recovered, and we should celebrate this success story for the Endangered Species Act by removing them from the list. This bill would ensure that happens and restore the future management of gray wolves to the states.”

“The Minnesota Lamb and Wool Producers are truly grateful for the leadership of Collin Peterson, along with Representative Bishop, on an issue that is not only important to our Minnesota producers but also to the whole country,” said John Dvorak of Minnesota, a recently retired member of the ASI Executive Board. “The gray wolf met and exceeded recovery numbers, and it is now time to take the next step to manage the population of the gray wolf. The American Wild Games and Livestock Protection Act will ensure that it takes place. This will allow state to manage the population of the wolf in their own states as it should. Thank you, Collin Peterson, for your continued leadership by introducing this important bill. National delisting of the gray wolf is long overdue.”


Australian Market Down After Unplanned Off Week

The Australian wool market resumed this week after an unprecedented event forced the cancellation of sales in Week 35.

Talman – the company that provides system software to a large number of brokers and the majority of buying houses – succumbed to a cyberattack that prevented access to their mainframes. This in turn meant buyers and brokers across the country, could not access the systems that they required for inputting types, generating invoices, setting buying limits, printing catalogues and the ordering out of wool. The inability to perform these vital tasks meant that the sales scheduled for Week 35 could not proceed, forcing the National Auction Selling Committee to make the difficult decision to cancel the rostered sales.

Talman and other industry personnel worked through the week to bring systems back online. This was finally achieved early this week, allowing the resumption of sales across the country on Wednesday. Both buyers and sellers alike, were pleased to be able to return to auction rooms, to resume the change of ownership of Australian wool. Due to the backlog of wool that was unable to be sold in Week 35, the overall national quantity increased significantly – the 62,217 bales on offer was the largest weekly figure since 2008.

The market opened solidly, with wools selling at similar levels to those achieved at the previous sale (Feb. 20). As the sale progressed however, prices continually deteriorated, with the lesser-style lots and those with poor additional measurement results recoding the largest falls.

Across the country the individual Micron Price Guides fell by 5 to 84 cents for the week, with the Western region recording the biggest falls. On the back of these losses the AWEX Eastern Market Indicator lost 19 cents for the series, closing the week at 1,562 Australian cents.

Source: AWEX


Livestock Conservancy Highlighting Heritage Sheep

Check out the Livestock Conservancy’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts this month as the group will be highlighting heritage sheep breeds all month on social media.

The Hog Island and Gulf Coast Native breeds have already taken their turns in the spotlight. Which breed will be featured next? Tune in to find out.


Congressional Leaders Support NEPA Modernization

On Wednesday, House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (La.) and Rep. Dan Newhouse (Wash.) led a joint House Energy Action Team and Congressional Western Caucus letter signed by 130 members in support of the Council on Environmental Quality’s efforts to modernize the National Environmental Policy Act.

“In our districts across the country, we constantly hear about the opportunities lost when projects are stalled by NEPA’s increasingly time consuming and unnecessary red tape,” the letter reads. “As we travel throughout our communities, we experience these failures as we encounter crumbling roads and closed-off bridges that may wait years for repair. We all want better roads, stronger bridges, and improved infrastructure, but without NEPA reform that reality is years away.”

The American Sheep Industry Association recently endorsed NEPA modernization efforts by the Trump Administration.

The letter is an effort on behalf of the House Energy Action Team and Congressional Western Caucus to encourage and support the Trump Administration’s efforts to streamline and modernize NEPA in order to encourage environmental leadership while eliminating the negative effects of permitting delays for critical infrastructure projects in communities across the United States.

Click Here to read the full letter.

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