ASI Submits ALB, NSIIC Nominations
Certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to nominate industry leaders to serve on both the American Lamb Board and the board of directors of the National Sheep Industry Improvement Center, the American Sheep Industry Association submitted a slate of nominees for consideration recently to USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service.
The slate of nominees includes:
ALB producers with less than 100 head: sheep producers Steve Breeding of Delaware and John Lemondes of New York.
ALB producers with more than 500 head: Dave McEwen of Montana and Heather Jones of Wyoming.
ALB seedstock producers: Mike Duff of Idaho, Warren Cude of Texas and Sarah Smith of Washington.
ALB lamb feeder: Catherine Harper of Colorado.
NSIIC producer director: Patty Sanville of Maryland and Amanda Fletcher of Virginia.
NSIIC producer director: Randy Tunby of Montana and Steve Clements of South Dakota.
NSIIC director with expertise in finance and management: James Percival of Ohio and Barry Savage of Massachusetts.
ASI called for nominations in April to meet USDA’s May deadline. Nominees selected to serve in positions that will begin in 2024 will be notified later this year by USDA.
Grant Applications Due This Summer to NSIIC
The National Sheep Industry Improvement Center will accept 2023 grant proposals from July 1 through Sept. 15.
The NSIIC board of directors encourages grants, programs and proposals that align with priorities established during the listening sessions and are consistent with the sheep center’s mission statement. The primary objective of NSIIC’s Sheep Production and Marketing Grant Program is to fund projects determined by industry leaders to be priorities for benefitting the American sheep industry. That includes projects that:
- Strengthen and enhance the production and marketing of sheep and sheep products in the United States through the improvement of infrastructure, business, resource development and the development of innovative approaches to solve long-term problems.
- Provide leadership training and education to industry stakeholders.
- Enhance sheep and sheep products in the United States through assistance to all segments of the industry to address sustainable production and marketing of sheep and sheep products.
- Promote marketing of sheep and sheep products through an organized method that can measure tangible results.
- Enhance the sheep industry by coordinating information exchange and by seeking mutual understanding and marketing within the industry community.
There is no dollar limit on grant applications, however the average grant is $29,000. All projects have approximately 18 months to be completed. However, if circumstances warrant a longer time period, a no-cost extension may be requested.
Animal Health Management Webinar Set for Tuesday
The first of a two-part webinar series entitled Animal Health Management: Keeping Track of It All and Making Good Decisions is scheduled for Tuesday at 8 p.m. eastern time. The second webinar is scheduled for July 11.
American Sheep Industry Association Animal Health Committee Co-Chair Dr. Jim Logan will provide an introduction and be joined by Dan Persons of Shearwell Data and Dr. Larry Goelz of Windy Ridge Veterinary Clinic.
This webinar is made possible with funding support from ASI and a cooperative agreement from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
Click Here to register for the webinar.
Currency Movement Drives Australian Wool Market
Currency movements had a dramatic effect on the Australian wool market this week. The Australian dollar rose by 0.89 cents against the U.S. dollar since the close of the previous series. As the majority of Australian wool is traded in U.S. dollars, this significant rise meant that in real terms buyer purchases became more expensive.
Despite this, the market in the Eastern centers opened solidly, particularly FNF types (fleece wool carrying less than 1 percent vegetable matter). As the sale progressed, however, the market eased. By the end of the day, the Individual Micron Price Guides for Merino fleece in Sydney and Melbourne had fallen by between 1 and 30 cents. The only exceptions were the 17 and 18 micron MPGs in Sydney, which remained unchanged.
The soft finish in the East impacted the West (selling last) and the losses in Fremantle were felt from the outset. The market opened weakly and then continued to deteriorate as the Western MPGs dropped by between 41 and 59 cents. The Western Indicator fell by 40 cents for the day. The AWEX Eastern Market Indicator dropped by 8 cents, finishing the day at 1,302 Australian cents.
Interestingly – due to the rise in the Australian dollar – when viewed in USD terms, the EMI rose. The EMI added 10 U.S. cents for the day. The second day, the market retracted further. The MPGs across the three centers fell by a further 11 to 44 cents and the EMI dropped another 18 cents to close the week at 1,284 Australian cents.
Many sellers were reluctant to accept the prices on offer, pushing the passed-in rates up across the country. By the end of the series, 24.8 percent of wool failed to reach seller reserve. This was on top of the 5.7 percent withdrawn prior to sale.
Click Here for the Full Australian Wool Market Report.
April Lamb Market Report Reflects First Quarter Data
The American Lamb Board and the American Sheep Industry Association have released the April market summary report aimed at delivering timely and useful information for American lamb producers. The report summarizes lamb supplies, prices, trade, retail trends and more for the first quarter of 2023.
Inflationary Environment Lingers
Consumers are still coping with an inflationary environment as retail food prices were 20 to 25 percent higher in the first quarter than in 2020. However, food inflation seems to moderate each month and wholesale and retail lamb prices are declining relative to last year. While consumers are still buying lamb, they are getting less for their dollar due to elevated prices, which is limiting their willingness to pay higher prices and increase their purchase volumes.
Lamb Supply in Better Position
Compared to last year, the industry is in a better position on the supply side of the market. Lamb and yearling slaughter in the first quarter was 11 percent higher than a year ago, but slaughter levels were smaller in 2022 due to increasing numbers of lambs on-feed. Lighter weights have offset the larger numbers, with production only 7 percent higher in the first quarter. Based on weekly data for April, lamb and yearling slaughter is down about 2 percent with a greater decline in production due to lighter dressed weights. Data shows May 1 with the smallest on-feed numbers since August as those seasonally decline and the smallest May on-feed number since 2010.
Imports Lower in First Quarter
In the first quarter, lamb imports were 9 percent lower than in 2022. Import volumes from both Australia and New Zealand were also below a year ago for the first quarter, down 7 percent and 13 percent, respectively. According to Meat Livestock Australia, lamb exports to the United States saw declines in April.
Retail Features Lamb for Spring Holidays
Consumers continue to adapt to higher meat prices and inflationary pressures by opting for more value-based channels, trading down to lower priced products and brands, and taking advantage of sales. Spending for food at home remains higher than pre-pandemic levels as many people continue to work from home, a change that looks to remain in the post-pandemic environment.
As expected, the number of retail store circulars that featured lamb in April increased relative to prior months for the spring holidays. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service retail featuring report, about 14 percent of retail store circulars featured lamb in April with 20 percent featuring the week leading to Easter. The average price of all lamb cuts published in the retail featuring report continues to decline, with the April average at just over $8 per pound versus nearly $10 per pound a year ago.
Consumer trends and economic indicators are still hinting at an impending recession this year. The severity of the economic slowdown will determine how much consumer demand for lamb could be affected as evidenced in past recessions. The Livestock Marketing Information Center expects feeder and slaughter lamb prices to improve through the remainder of 2023, with annual prices on average about 20 to 25 percent lower than in 2022.
“Overall price inflation, labor challenges and economic downturn create more pressure for the U.S. lamb industry,” said Peter Camino, ALB chairman. “Increasing the value of American lamb for all segments contributing to the American Lamb Checkoff remains our mission.”
Funded through the national American Lamb Checkoff, ALB invests the industry’s valuable resources to foster profitability and create opportunities for all sectors involved in producing American lamb. All segments of the American lamb industry contribute to building the demand for American lamb through mandatory checkoff payments. Unlike other U.S. livestock checkoffs, funding is only collected from domestic lamb, not imported lamb. This allows ALB to focus all of its efforts on increasing demand for American lamb.
Click Here for more information about ALB and the American Lamb Checkoff.
SDSU Hiring Sheep Unit Manager
The South Dakota State University Department of Animal Science is looking to hire a livestock unit manager (sheep). SDSU is looking for a creative and innovative professional to join in this role, which is critical to the success of the university’s teaching, research and extension mission. This is a 12-month, full-time, benefit-eligible position located in Brookings, S.D.
The livestock unit manager (sheep) will be actively involved in the daily management of the SDSU Sheep Unit. The flock consists of 250 commercial Polypay and 120 purebred Hampshire mature ewes enrolled in the National Sheep Improvement Program. The flock production system model includes a traditional winter and a fall lambing season. Duties include all production management aspects associated with the university’s flock. Hands-on management of the sheep unit operations including budget development, human and animal regulatory compliance, commodity purchases, feeding and animal health protocols, raw data collection and recording, drug inventory maintenance and personnel management of undergraduate student employees.
Click Here for the full job description.
Support the American Shearing Team
Producers looking to support the American team headed to the Golden Shears World Championships next month in Scotland can do so by purchasing a Team USA T-shirt or hoodie offered through American Hero Clothing.
The T-shirt sells for $30 and the hoodie for $60. A portion of the proceeds will support travel expenses for the American team.
Click Here to buy the T-shirt.
Click Here to buy the Hoodie.
Source: American Sheep Shearers Council
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.
Supreme Court Upholds California Prop 12
It was announced Thursday that that the United States Supreme Court has ruled to uphold the previous court rulings supporting California’s Proposition 12. For background, Proposition 12 establishes a new set of humane standards of confinement for veal calves, breeding pigs and egg-laying hens, and bans the commercial sales of noncomplying products.
This ruling rejected an industry challenge in buttressing the power of states to impose rules that have a broad economic impact on other parts of the country. This low blow to the pork and ag sector could force producers to implement costly changes in order to keep selling in one of the most populous states. Ultimately, the industry was unable to successfully argue that the Golden State is violating the Constitution by regulating commerce outside its state borders.
The decision of the court was 5-4, with Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh and Ketanji Brown Jackson dissenting.