Apply Now for the SHF Scholarship
Applications are now being accepted for the Sheep Heritage Foundation’s Memorial Scholarship. The $3,000 scholarship will be awarded to a student pursuing sheep-related graduate studies, and the deadline to apply is May 31. A final selection will be announced in June or July.
The scholarship is intended to advance the American sheep industry – lamb or wool – through the support of a student attending school in the United States. Applicants must be a graduate student involved sheep and/or wool research in such areas as animal science, agricultural economics or veterinary medicine with proof of graduate school acceptance. Applicants must also complete an application form and include two letters of reference.
Click Here to download the application form.
NLFA Sets Trailblazers Tour for Sept. 26-28
The Howard Wyman Sheep Industry Leadership School is teaming up this year with the American Lamb Board and ASI’s Young Entrepreneurs to host the inaugural Trailblazers Tour on Sept. 26-28. In cooperation with Texas AgriLife Extension, the tour will feature all facets of the Texas sheep and goat industry, commencing in Austin, Texas, and culminating in San Angelo, Texas, with multiple stops along the way.
For more than a century, Rambouillet sheep and Angora goats were foundational to ranching in west Texas. While mohair and wool are still produced, meat goats and hair sheep have gained significant popularity in this region, resulting in a diverse small ruminant industry. Texas producers have capitalized on the strengths of these different species and breeds to capture value in today’s ever-changing market as well as maximize their production from what many deem “true sheep and goat country.”
Historic fine-wool ranches, premier Dorper seedstock operations, large scale meat goat production utilizing herders, state of the art feed mills and local custom processors are all on the itinerary for this unique four-day tour.
The tour will commence in Austin where participants will be able to experience the renowned local food scene and Texas BBQ at its best. The tour will travel through Texas’ scenic hill country, Edwards Plateau and eventually conclude in the sheep-ranching hub of San Angelo. Along the way, participants will be offered a glimpse at what sheep production looked like in Texas 100 years ago as many families are still operating on the same country. Participants will also experience a new generation of younger producers who are capitalizing on technology and innovations to prevent sheep production issues.
The Trailblazers Tour application will be live on the National Lamb Feeders Association website on June 1.
ASI SheepCast: USSES Modernization & Vet Loan Repayment
This week’s SheepCast takes a look at movement in the annual appropriation process, the re-introduction of the Vet Medical Loan Repayment Act and a look at the week ahead.
Click Here to listen to the podcast.
40-Cent Wool LDP Currently Available
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Marketing Assistance Loan and Loan Deficiency Payment programs could provide welcome assistance for wool producers.
Now is a good time for those who haven’t already to sign up with their local Farm Service Agency office for these programs. A grower must maintain “beneficial interest” before selling, however, once a grower signs up and provides evidence or estimate of wool production, the grower may choose a day to sell his or her wool at an advantageous time.
Currently, the ungraded LDP program – which was used by most producers in 2020 – offers a 40-cent LDP (per pound grease). This has been the going rate for most of 2021. This week, graded wools between 23.6 and 25.9 micron are also eligible for a 35-cent (per pound clean) LDP. Current rates are posted on the American Sheep Industry Association website each Tuesday afternoon.
Producers with questions about the Wool LDP Program can contact their local FSA office.
Click Here for more details and current rates.
USDA Reopens Lamb Promotion Comment Period
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service is providing an additional 60 days for public comment on the proposed rule published in the Federal Register on Oct. 5, 2020, 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 allow for additional time to gather the necessary data identified during the extended 30-day comment period. AMS received two requests for a 60-day extension of the comment period in order to finalize their data research. 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 notice about the reopening of comments was published in the Federal Register on May 7. The public can provide comments until July 6 at www.Regulations.gov. For more information contact Jason Julian, agricultural marketing specialist, at email@example.com or 202-731-2149.
Look for Sheep’s Milk Yogurt at Whole Foods
Bellwether Farms announced this week that its Plain Sheep Milk Yogurt in a new, larger 24-ounce container is now available at Whole Foods Markets nationwide.
“We’ve been listening to people who love our Sheep Milk Yogurt, and they’ve expressed that a larger-size container would just make so much sense for enjoying at home with their families,” says Liam Callahan, owner of Bellwether Farms. “They simply couldn’t get enough of it until now. We’re so thrilled to be launching this new, larger size with a partner like Whole Foods.”
As with all its sheep’s milk products, Bellwether Farms only uses whole sheep milk completely free of added thickeners, antibiotics or growth hormones. Naturally probiotic with active, beneficial cultures, sheep’s milk yogurt also is loaded with 100 percent A2 protein.
Founded in 1986 in Sonoma County, Calif., family-owned and operated Bellwether Farms lovingly crafts dairy products using whole, full-fat sheep’s milk and cow’s milk. With a fervent commitment to traditional, artisanal techniques, Bellwether Farms’ small-batch cheeses and yogurts are found in grocery stores nationwide and have won dozens of awards.
Visit BellwetherFarms.com to learn more.
Dr. Bailey Appointed to AMS Positions
|The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently announced the appointment of Dr. Melissa R. Bailey as associate administrator of the Agricultural Marketing Service. In addition, Bailey will serve as Acting Deputy Administrator of the AMS Transportation and Marketing Program – part of the Marketing and Regulatory Programs mission area – through October.
As AMS associate administrator, Bailey’s leadership will support the agency in providing the agriculture industry with valuable services to ensure the quality and availability of wholesome food for consumers across the country. AMS services and its millions of dollars in annual grant investments also create opportunities by supporting economic development in small towns and rural communities that stand as the backbone of American values.
The AMS Transportation and Marketing Program supports local and regional food systems and increasing consumer access to fresh, healthy foods in their communities. During her time as acting deputy administrator for TM, Bailey will guide the team that delivers programs, grants and services that help small- and mid-sized producers with marketing opportunities through the combination of applied research, technical services, and grant support.
Bailey most recently served as the associate deputy administrator of the AMS Livestock and Poultry Program, where she provided leadership for program operations and policy direction across approximately 850 employees and oversaw a $125 million budget to ensure smooth delivery of AMS services to American livestock and poultry producers and processors.
Bailey is originally from New England and holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Northeastern University, a master’s in Animals and Public Policy from Tufts University’s School of Veterinary Medicine, and a Ph.D. in Nutrition (with a focus on agricultural issues), from Tufts University’s School of Nutrition Science and Policy.
Australian Market Drops Slightly in Steady Week
The Australian wool market performed steadily this week with minimal price movements recorded in most sectors. The national offering increased by 2,213 bales to 49,771 bales. This larger offering attracted strong support from a good spread of exporters, resulting in similar prices being achieved to those of the previous series.
The buoyant market pushed the passed-in rate down to 12 percent – 3.3 percent lower than the previous week. The individual Merino Micron Price Guides across the country moved between +14 and -27 cents. These movements – combined with those in the other sectors – pushed the AWEX Eastern Market Indicator down by 13 cents for the series. The EMI closed the week at 1,306 Australian cents – a marginal 1 percent decrease.
Worth mentioning this series, there were 10 lots assessed as 1PP, which is the highest type available to wool grown in Australia. The approval criteria for 1PP certification is stringent and is carried out by a regional 1PP certification panel. This panel – which comprises of up to five members – is made up of industry participants with exceptional knowledge and experience in the area of superfine wools. The last time 10 1PP lots were certified in one week was back in October 2013. The highest price this week, however, was not achieved by one of these specialty lines. This honor was instead achieved by a line of 12.8-micron wool. The 4,900 greasy cents this wool sold for was the highest price of the current season.
The crossbreds did not perform as well as the Merinos, recording the largest falls (in percentage terms) for the second week in a row. The broader microns were most affected, and this was reflected in the MPGs for 28.0 to 32.0 micron, which dropped between 22 and 40 cents.
Next week’s national offering decreases. There are currently 45,929 bales on offer in Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle, with only two selling days required.
Ag Groups Call for Tax Provisions to Support Industry
The American Sheep Industry Association joined 40 other agriculture groups this week in calling on the U.S. Congress to preserve tax provisions that support multi-generational farms and ranches across the country while safeguarding the viability of all family-owned agricultural business entities.
“There are more than four times as many farmers and ranchers aged 65 and older as there are those under the age of 35, and these individuals own more than 40 percent of agricultural land in the United States,” read the letter to leaders of both the House and Senate. “With more than 370 million acres expected to change hands in the next two decades, the policies Congress enacts now will determine agricultural producers’ ability to secure affordable land to start or expand their operations. Regardless of whether a business has already been passed down through multiple generations or is just starting out, the key to their longevity is a continued ability to transition when a family member or business partner dies. For this reason, we believe the current estate tax exclusion limits must be maintained. Additionally, federal tax policy should help facilitate the transfer of agricultural land to family-owned operations, including those who face the greatest challenges in acquiring it: beginning, veteran and minority farmers and ranchers.”
“Farms and ranches, like all businesses, must constantly adapt and reinvest in their land, buildings, equipment, and animals to stay efficient and competitive in the marketplace. They must do this while dealing with cash flow challenges that come from thin profit margins and from having to pay ongoing operating expenses with uneven or seasonal income. These issues are compounded by a heavy tax burden that further reduces financial resources. Key to maintaining a reasonable level of taxation for pass-through business’ like farms and ranches is continuation of the Sec. 199A business income deduction. Eliminating or reducing this key business provision will result in a huge tax increase for farmers and ranchers at a time when they can ill afford it. Similarly, retaining like kind exchanges, which allows businesses to buy and sell like assets without tax consequences, also helps farmers and ranchers cash flow and to reinvest in their businesses.”
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