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ASI Offers Developing Shearer Grants

There is a large and continuing need for sheep shearers across the United States as producers continue to struggle to find people to handle their shearing needs. Seeing the need of more shearers for both large and small sheep operations, the American Sheep Industry Association’s Wool Council has developed a grant program to incentivize the development of domestic shearers.

This grant program will support developing shearers – $500 up front and $1,000 at the conclusion – as they work to increase the quality of their shearing and the amount of sheep they are able to shear each day. In doing this, they are working to build their income and longevity in the shearing industry. Additionally, as the mentor provides the developing shearer with knowledge and an avenue to shear – thereby sharing their work and income and slowing the number of operations they can shear – mentors are also supplemented with $1,500 at the conclusion of the grant.

Click Here for an application and additional information. The deadline to apply is Jan. 1, 2023.

Ten developing shearers and/or mentors will be selected for the program. However, more shearers can be supported through sponsorships. Click Here for sponsorship information.


Nominate Now for ASI Awards

It’s time once again to submit nominations for ASI awards, which will be presented during the 2023 ASI Annual Convention on Jan. 18-21, 2023, in Fort Worth, Texas. The deadline for all award nominations is Nov. 25.

There are five awards open for nominations: The McClure Silver Ram Award, the Peter Orwick Camptender Award, the Distinguished Producer Award, the Industry Innovation Award and the Shepherd’s Voice Award.

The McClure Silver Ram Award is dedicated to volunteer commitment and service and is presented to a sheep producer who has made substantial contributions to the sheep industry and its organizations in his/her state, region or nation.

The Peter Orwick Camptender Award recognizes industry contributions from a professional in a position or field related to sheep production. Nominees should show a strong commitment and a significant contribution to the sheep industry, its organizations and its producers above and beyond what is called for in his/her professional capacity.

The Distinguished Producer Award was launched in 2014 to recognize the 150th anniversary of the national organization – the oldest livestock association in the country. This award is a way to recognize an individual who has had a significant long-term impact on the industry, including involvement with the National Wool Growers Association or American Sheep Producers Council.

The Industry Innovation Award recognizes the accomplishments of an individual or organization that improves the American sheep industry in a game-changing way, regardless of whether its impact is felt at the regional or national level.

The Shepherd’s Voice Award for Media recognizes outstanding coverage of the sheep industry by either print or broadcast outlets. The award excludes all publications and affiliates related solely to the sheep industry, allowing for recognition of outlets with general coverage of sheep industry issues.

Nominations must be submitted to ASI by Nov. 25, and past recipients of these awards are not eligible.

Click Here for more information.


Nominations Being Accepted for ASI Officers

ASI Nominating Committee Chair Benny Cox reminds sheep producer leaders and state associations that nominations for ASI Secretary/Treasurer are due in November.

Interested producers should share a letter of interest – including leadership experience in the sheep industry – with Cox or the ASI office by Nov. 25. The committee will then agree on a nomination slate of officers to be presented to the ASI Board of Directors at its annual meeting in January.

Contact Cox at or 325-653-3371, or ASI Executive Director Peter Orwick at 303-771-3500, ext 103, or for more information.

In addition, Regions IV and VIII and the National Lamb Feeders Association will have to elect new representatives to the ASI Executive Board as Steve Clements, Sarah Smith and Bob Harlan are all term-limited. Lisa Weeks in Region II and Bronson Corn in Region VI are both eligible for re-election in their respective regions.

Regional representative elections are conducted during the regional caucuses on Saturday morning at the ASI Annual Convention.


Australian Wool Market Falters Again

Although the Australian wool market recorded another overall loss – falling for the third consecutive selling series – there were positive signs toward the end of the week and some small positive movements within individual microns and types.

After 9.6 percent of the total national offering was withdrawn prior to sale, there were a total of 31,095 bales available to the trade. This was 7,928 fewer bales than in the previous week. The total amount offered this season is now only 9,000 bales higher than the same time last year – a 1.4-percent increase. The largest losses were again felt on finer Merino fleece types in the Eastern centers. This was reflected in the individual Micron Prices Guides in Sydney and Melbourne, which for 18 micron and finer fell by between 33 and 91 cents. All other Merino fleece MPGs ranged from -3 to -22 cents.

The AWEX Eastern Market Indicator fell by 20 cents for the series, closing at 1,241 Australian cents. After hitting its lowest point on record last week, the 30-micron MPG in the South was one of only two to record a positive movement for the series, albeit a marginal 3-cent lift. The EMI is now 78 cents lower than the corresponding sale of the previous season – a drop of 5.9 percent.

With the EMI slightly lower and the offering marginally higher, the total dollar amount of wool sold this season is currently sitting just above last year. There has been $835 million worth of wool sold – just over $11 million more than the previous season. Another positive for the series was the EMI when viewed in U.S. dollar terms. After the AUD gained 1.3 cents compared to the USD, when viewed in USD terms the EMI recorded an increase, adding 3 U.S. cents.

Next week’s offering increases. Currently, there are expected to be 36,941 bales on offer.

Source: AWEX


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.

Rail Agreement Deadline Postponed

On Wednesday, the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division announced that it would be extending its “cooling off” period to Dec. 4. In a statement published on its website, BMWED explained that the deadline would be extended from Nov. 19 to Dec. 4 to align with the deadline of other rail unions, such as the Brotherhood of Signalmen Union.

BSU and BMWED have both rejected the proposed labor contract negotiated by Biden Administration officials, as well as rail groups. The deal would have resulted in a 24 percent wage increase for employees over five years. All 12 rail unions must approve the contract to prevent a strike from taking effect, but there is no immediate threat of a railroad shutdown.

Negotiations are still ongoing amongst railroads and unions, and Congress has also stated its willingness to step in, should the two sides not be able to come to an agreement.

New Customer Survey Released by USDA

On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a nationwide producer survey to help the agency improve and expand access to its services and programs available through the Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service and Risk Management Agency.

USDA is encouraging all agricultural producers to take the survey, particularly those who have not worked with the agency before. Survey data is expected to be used to make targeted improvements within USDA for the future benefit of farmers, ranchers and forest managers.

The survey is available here and producers should complete it by March 31, 2023. In addition to the online survey, USDA’s Farm Production and Conservation Business Center will also mail 11,000 printed copies to various stakeholder organizations.


MSU Plans Birth Management Series

The Michigan State University Small Ruminant Extension team is offering a four-part webinar series on birth management that will lead producers through a host of topics aimed to improve birth management of sheep and goats. Each weekly session will last approximately 90 minutes and sessions will be recorded to allow future viewing.

Participants will learn preventative approaches, assessment skills and treatment procedures. Both novice and veteran producers alike will find this program valuable. Because of the amount and depth of information presented, students have found attending this program more than once to be valuable.

Topics will include: nutritional management, use of ultrasound, facility design, newborn care, hypothermia treatment, grafting, vaccination protocols, mortality diagnoses, health and feeding program assessment.

Each session will feature seminars, specialized instructional videos and question-and-answer sessions with an expert panel to cover each of these topics (live sessions are from 7 to 9 p.m. eastern time each Tuesday evening):

  • Jan. 3, 2023: Webinar – Nutritional management to optimize birth outcomes in sheep and goats.
  • Jan. 10, 2023: Webinar – Optimizing maternal and newborn health: parasite control, vaccination schedules, treating complications at birth, providing a healthy environment.
  • Jan. 17, 2023: Webinar – The normal birth process, birth assistance and newborn care.
  • Jan. 24, 2023: Webinar – Identifying challenges on the farm and creating an improvement plan addressing health management, nutrition and facility improvements.
  • Jan. 28, 2023: OPTIONAL: Hands on Experience – 1 to 4 p.m. at the MSU Sheep Teaching and Research Center.

Registration is $40/farm or family and includes a 90-plus page manual, a laminated lamb hypothermia/starvation treatment poster and access to all recorded sessions. Additional members of the same farm/family may receive additional manuals and posters for $20 per set.

Click Here to register.

Source: MSU


Sharing Lamb’s Story with Foodservice Media

The American Lamb Board met with foodservice and trade magazine editors at the annual International Foodservice Editorial Council conference held this week in Santa Barbara, Calif.

IFEC is a non-profit association dedicated to improving the overall quality of business-to-business communication within the foodservice industry and to promoting professional standards among its members. IFEC brings editors and public relations professionals together to exchange ideas, share resources and confer on editorial content for chefs and restauranteurs.

Longtime ALB consultant Mary Humann represented the ALB at IFEC. She discussed the importance of lamb grazing and offered chef leads, recipes and images for American lamb menu items to align with editorial calendars. Meetings were held with editors of Catersource, Flavor and the Menu, Foodservice Director, FSR, National Culinary Review, Nation’s Restaurant News, Plate, Restaurant Business and more.

The conference opened with a Chef Showcase where Oak-smoked Lamb Ribs with Fermented Hot Honey and Pickled Lemon Cucumbers were served by Chef Nicholas Priedite of Priedite Barbecue.

“The foodservice industry is important to the American Lamb Board. We have attended IFEC for many years to share the story of American lamb with the trade restaurant media,” said Megan Wortman, ALB executive director.

Source: ALB


Illinois Offers Online Livestock Degree

The Master of Veterinary Science degree with a major in Livestock Systems Health is a new degree program within the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine.

The MVS degree is part-time, 100-percent online and involves eight to 10 hours per week that will increase your depth and breadth of professional knowledge in animal health and food production industries. Develop data analysis and critical thinking skills to solve real-life case studies. Access faculty with more than 25 years of experience in managing livestock operations and engage with a global network of classmates working in various education, farming, government and corporate roles.

Click Here to learn more.

Source: University of Illinois

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