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American Wool Represented at IWTO Congress

The American Sheep Industry Association sponsored a delegation of domestic wool industry representatives to travel to and attend the 92nd International Wool Textile Organization Annual Congress in Kyoto, Japan, on May 16-18.

The group assisted in building awareness of American wool and included U.S. wool exporters and members of the ASI marketing team. Additional ASI staff attended the congress virtually to participate with IWTO working groups on animal welfare and sustainability.

IWTO represents the global wool textile industry and delegates represent 25 wool producing countries. It is the world’s leading organization for discussion of issues ranging from objective measurement of wool to retail updates. This was the first congress that was a fully represented in-person congress since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020. There were 250 delegates in attendance in Japan with another 22 joining the virtual presentations.

Sessions covered wool from interior use to the outdoors, with plenty of insight into market trends and manufacturing statistics. One of the presentations outlined the situation in China as it slowly emerges from COVID lockdowns. China has long been an important market for all country-of-origin wool – including American wool – but experienced the closure of many of its mills during the pandemic.

The wool market remains sluggish with a backlog of raw wool inventory around the world and in every wool production country. The backup in the United States began when a tariff was placed on American wool in fourth quarter in 2018. Inventories have continued to build because of reduced wool demand during COVID. In addition, problems delivering and processing wool have included soaring freight costs, difficulty securing transportation (land and overseas), high energy costs to process wool and difficulty maintaining trained employees. While there is some activity in wools finer than 22 micron, the wool market remains soft.

“This meeting is the central activity to exchange information about the world wool industry and make connections with wool buyers, processors, spinners and weavers from around the world,” said ASI Deputy Director Rita Samuelson. “It is a key source to build awareness of American wool and to better understand current conditions.”

As has been the case in recent years, sustainability was a major topic of discussion. A growing issue comes from popular indexes assessing the environmental impact of the apparel industry. The international wool industry is participating in developing programs to ensure the sustainability claims for textiles are fair and credible, including additional data on wool and natural fibers.

The 2024 Congress will be held in Adelaide, Australia, on April 15-19.

Click Here to learn more about IWTO.


ASI Research Update: Sheep Disease Prevention

Rosie Busch, DVM, of the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine addresses Sheep Disease Prevention and Treatment Strategies in this month’s ASI Research Update podcast. The first of a two-part podcast tackles vaccines this month.

“Now the transition away from over-the-counter antibiotic sales nationwide is right around the corner – June 11 to be exact – so the timeliness of revisiting health management of our podcast this month wasn’t by accident,” said ASI Research Update Host Jake Thorne.

After offering advice on dealing with the changes, Busch turned her attention to disease management.

“Like they always say, ‘You can’t manage what you don’t measure.’ It’s really important to have not just an idea, but it would be ideal to have records. That way you can better compare year-to-year. Having those records can help you to know what’s pretty typical year-to-year and when things are getting a little bit out of hand.”

Click Here to listen to the podcast.


ASI Exercises the SSWS Plan in Colorado

On Wednesday, the American Sheep Industry Association hosted a discussion-based exercise in collaboration with the Colorado Department of Agriculture and Colorado Wool Growers Association to pilot-test the components of the Secure Sheep and Wool Supply Plan and permitting process of sheep with no evidence of foot and mouth disease infection during a simulated outbreak.

During the exercise, two Colorado sheep producers, a packer, CWGA and CDA came together to test implementation of producer and packer SSWS Plans to meet the Secure Food Supply permitting guidance specific to Colorado. There were more than 20 stakeholder observers from various aspects of industry. Representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and Food Safety and Inspection Service were also present.

This was the first exercise of this kind on the SSWS Plan. It provided an opportunity to discuss how CDA will support Colorado sheep producers who seek to request a movement permit during an FMD outbreak. The exercise identified alignment with sheep industry capabilities, allowed information sharing, and noted gaps in the process which will help Colorado producers and the sheep industry maintain business continuity during an outbreak.

In the coming months, two webinars will be held for stakeholders to discuss exercise lessons learned, share preparedness tips and describe how permitting will be handled during an FMD outbreak. Speakers from ASI, CDA, CWGA, and the Colorado producers and packers that participated in the exercise will take part. One webinar will be for Colorado producers who did not participate in the exercise, and the other on a national scale to encourage other states’ animal health officials to engage with their sheep industry partners to conduct similar exercises.

Look for more details on this exercise and the lessons learned in an upcoming issue of the Sheep Industry News.

Click Here to learn more about protecting your flock during an FMD outbreak.


Watch Archived Animal Health Webinar

If you missed the first part of the two-part webinar series on Animal Health Management, you can check out the archived version now at The second part of the webinar is scheduled for July 11. Details on registering for that webinar will be made available at a later date.

Dan Persons and Dr. Larry Goelz provided expert insight into not only keeping track of animal health, but also using those records to make informed decisions for your flock. ASI Animal Health Committee Co-Chair Dr. Jim Logan of Wyoming provided an introduction for the webinar.

This webinar was 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 watch the webinar video.

Click Here for more information on all ASI-sponsored webinars.


Australian Wool Market Down Once Again

The Australian wool market continued to decline, recording overall losses for the third consecutive series. Weaker buyer sentiment was evident from the opening lot in the East. This weaker sentiment resulted in less spirited bidding, with buyer enthusiasm waning as the sales progressed. The result was prices opening lower, then deteriorating throughout the series.

By the end of the week, the Individual Micron Price Guides for Merino fleece had dropped by between 31 and 117 cents across the three selling centers, with all regions recording similar falls. The skirtings followed a similar pattern to the fleece, with general losses of between 40 and 60 cents. The oddments again lacked support and the three Merino Carding indicators dropped by an average of 35 cents. The crossbred sector also fell, although the losses were not as severe as in the other sectors.

The end result of these movements was a 49-cent fall in the AWEX Eastern Market Indicator as it closed the week at 1,214 Australian cents. This was the largest weekly fall in the EMI since August 2021. The EMI has lost 96 cents (7.3 percent) during the previous three weeks. Currency played little part in the losses felt this week. When viewed in U.S. dollar terms, the EMI dropped by 39 cents. The 4.6 percent fall was only slightly larger than the 3.9 percent fall in the EMI in Australian dollar terms.

The sharp falls were understandably met with seller resistance, pushing the national passed-in rate up to 27.3 percent. This was the highest passed-in rate since August 2021. The amount of wool withdrawn prior to sale also climbed as the 7.7 percent withdrawn nationally was the largest since March.

The price reductions of the previous three weeks have not been a deterrent to many sellers. Next week’s offering increases as currently there are 47,041 bales expected to be offered nationally.

Click Here for the Full Australian Wool Market Report.

Source: AWEX


Elevate Textiles Announces Recapitalization & New Ownership

Elevate Textiles, Inc. – a global provider of advanced, high-quality fabric and thread products and mission critical textile solutions – announced this week that it has finalized terms of a recapitalization transaction that strengthens its balance sheet and enables Elevate to reinvest in its global operations to support the longevity of the business.

Elevate owns Burlington, which uses only American wool in the fabrics it weaves for to clothe the United States military.

With the support of all key financial stakeholders, Elevate’s financial foundation will be better aligned with its operational strengths and success of its brands as an industry leader for high-quality textiles. Elevate will be owned by a consortium of leading global investment firms, who will soon appoint a new board of directors.

The recapitalization will infuse $100 million of new capital into the business, eliminate $394 million of existing debt from the balance sheet, extend the company’s debt maturities until 2027 – including the existing ABL facility – and execute the change in ownership. While there is no anticipated impact on the company’s global operations, these actions strengthen the company’s capital structure and position Elevate to increase investments in its people, operations and critical growth initiatives for long-term success.

“We are pleased with the outcome of this recapitalization process, which provides an improved balance sheet and reduced leverage to align with the strength and capabilities of our business and brands. We appreciate the support of our financial stakeholders who have demonstrated their confidence in Elevate, our business plan and our future,” said Elevate President and Chief Executive Officer Sim Skinner. “We look forward to directing our focus on delivering the high-quality service and premium products our customers have come to trust and depend on.”

Representatives from Elevate’s new shareholders collectively added, “Elevate’s leadership team, skilled employees, high-quality products and loyal customers make us confident that the company will have continued success. We are excited to be part of the company’s future and look forward to supporting and partnering with Elevate as an industry leader for years to come.”

Click Here to learn more about Elevate.

Source: Elevate Textiles


S.D. Lamb Benefits from CIS Certification

Wall Meat Processing – a small meat processing plant in Wall, S.D. – has opened new opportunities for South Dakota’s lamb industry by becoming the state’s first certified Cooperative Interstate Shipment facility, overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

A number of key people in the sheep industry attended this milestone event as Wall Meats stamped the first lambs with this new certification. The CIS certification opens doors for local lamb and meat producers, positioning South Dakota’s meat industry for growth and success and bringing benefits to producers, consumers and the local economy.

Under CIS, state-inspected plants can operate as federally inspected facilities, with specific conditions. Currently 10 states participate in the CIS program, including South Dakota. The CIS program is limited to plants with 25 or fewer employees, must be in the 29 states that have established a Meat and Poultry Inspection Program, and maintain “at least equal to” Food Safety Inspection Service regulatory standards.

Under the CIS program, Wall Meats and its producers can now sell meat products across state lines, offering new selling opportunities. This development is particularly exciting for Kitzan Family Farms of Nisland, S.D., whose lambs were the first to be inspected and stamped, and can now sell their products to schools, institutions and individuals out of state who are seeking high-quality, South Dakota lamb. This new certification could lead to increased demand for locally produced meats, benefiting producers by expanding their customer base.

“South Dakota has a tremendous reputation for producing high-quality proteins, and the demand for lamb is increasing,” said South Dakota Sheep Growers Association Lamb Promotion Chair Tammy Basel. “For many years, I have promoted and served lamb samples at the Black Hills motorcycle rally. They often ask how they can buy South Dakota lamb in their home state. What Wall Meats has done is blown the door wide open for retail and personal sales opportunities across state lines.”

“The ability to sell South Dakota’s finest lamb to a wider audience and promote the benefits of locally sourced, high-quality products ensures a brighter future for the agricultural community and its consumers,” said Gwen Kitzan of Kitzan Family Farms.

Source: Wall Meats


Lamb Jam Chef Cooks on Seattle TV

Fox 13 Seattle hosted Chef Nico Murratore of Mamnoon restaurant to share his Lamb Jam Restaurant Month dish, American Lamb Sharma Croquette.

Murratore had the opportunity to promote Lamb Jam, the American Lamb Board website and the news anchor closed the segment saying that she “loves lamb.” Click Here to watch the segment.

The American Lamb Jam Restaurant Month promotion featured eight different chefs in six key markets dishing up their most innovative and creative American lamb specials. ALB’s month-long dine-around campaign wraps up in May in Austin, Boston, Denver, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C.

More than 2,000 diners submitted online votes to decide the People’s Choice Award. In addition, three foodie influencers in each market served as secret dining judges. They visited all participating restaurants and evaluated each dish for presentation, taste and creativity. The winning chefs from each city will receive a trip to Napa, Calif., where they will cook and enjoy an American lamb lunch at the Culinary Institute of America and visit a nearby regenerative agriculture sheep ranch.

Click Here for more information.

Source: ALB


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 Rules on WOTUS Case

The Supreme Court released its decision yesterday on Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency regarding the scope of the Clean Water Act. The case involved a property owned by the Sackett family where they intended to build a house.

In 2007, the Army Corps of Engineers and EPA halted construction saying the property likely contains a protected wetland, leading the Sacketts to sue. The Supreme Court unanimously agreed to overturn the lower court’s decision and decided the land in question should not be regulated under the Clean Water Act; however, there was disagreement on the implications.

The Court ruled on a 5-4 vote that the Clean Water Act only applies to wetlands with a continuous surface water connection to larger bodies of water. This ruling could impact the EPA’s Waters of the United States Rule, which went into effect in March 2023.

The American Sheep Industry Association contributed financial support to the case through the Guard Dog Fund.

Click Here to read the entire decision.

House Appropriations Committee Delays Markups

On Tuesday, House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Kay Granger (Texas) announced the committee was postponing markups scheduled for this week to provide more flexibility as discussions continue regarding raising the debt limit.

The committee was scheduled to mark up the agriculture appropriations bill for fiscal year 2024 on Wednesday. The bill was previously marked up by the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee on May 18.

In the proposed bill, it provides a non-defense discretionary total of $25.313 billion for programs under the jurisdiction of the subcommittee, $532 million (2.1 percent) below the FY23 enacted level and $3.622 billion (12.5 percent) below the FY24 President’s Budget Request. The bill prioritizes protecting food and drug supply; supporting farmers, ranchers and rural communities; expanding access to broadband; investing in critical agricultural research; and ensuring access to nutrition programs for low-income individuals and families.

Ultimately, the subcommittee favorably reported the bill to the full committee by a voiced vote.

Click Here for the full text of the bill.

USDA to Begin 2022 Disaster Aid Signups by Early Summer

On May 19, USDA announced its plan to award $3.7 billion in Emergency Relief Program and Emergency Livestock Relief Program assistance to eligible crop and livestock producers who suffered a qualifying loss in the 2022 calendar year.

Eligible producers for ERP and ELRP are anticipated to receive pre-filled applications early this summer. A second ERP track will be available to other growers who “suffered a decrease in allowable gross revenue in 2022 due to necessary expenses related to losses of eligible crops from a qualifying natural disaster event.”

After receiving nearly 292,000 applications, USDA is concluding the 2021 ELRP payments by sending 20 percent of the initial ELRP payment amount to all existing recipients. USDA is continuing to work toward establishing a streamlined application process to issue assistance to producers in a timely manner, especially in the wake of a natural disaster.

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