Nov. 18 ASI Weekly
Editor’s Note: Due to the Thanksgiving holiday, there will be no ASI Weekly next week. The ASI Office will be closed for the holiday on Nov. 24-25. The newsletter will return on Dec. 2.
Nomination Deadlines Are One Week Away
The deadlines to nominate sheep producers and industry supporters for awards from the American Sheep Industry Association as well as the deadline to nominate members for ASI officer positions will both arrive next week while many are still recovering from the traditional Thanksgiving food-induced coma. So, consider taking some time in the coming days to get your nominations in to the ASI office.
ASI Awards will be presented during the ASI Annual Convention in Fort Worth, Texas, in January 2023. ASI is seeking nominations for the McClure Silver Ram Award, the Peter Orwick Camptender Award, the Distinguished Producer Award, the Industry Innovation Award and the Shepherd’s Voice Award.
Click Here for more information and the award nomination form.
ASI Nominating Committee Chair Benny Cox of Texas is also accepting nominations for ASI Secretary/Treasurer. Interested producers should share a letter of interest – including leadership experience in the American sheep industry – with Cox or the ASI office. The committee will then agree on a nomination slate of officers to be presented to the ASI Board of Directors at its annual meeting during the convention.
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.
N.C. State Hiring Research Project Coordinator
The North Carolina State University Department of Animal Science seeks a research project coordinator to provide independent departmental research, academic and extension support to faculty, staff and students at the Small Ruminant and Metabolism Educational Units. This position will function as a departmental resource by managing the work of both the Small Ruminant Education Unit and the Metabolism Education Unit to meet department educational needs and research deadlines.
Key responsibilities will include, but are not limited to the following:
- Manage the Small Ruminant Educational Unit and the Metabolism Educational Unit complex of facilities. Financial and resource management of farm and animal research facilities and establishing priorities in the use of animals, facilities, pens, pastures, classrooms, equipment and personnel.
- Independently develop, review and revise standard operating procedures, safety plans, and training, and manage quality assurance and small ruminant breeding programs
- Manage purchases of all inputs and sales of all market animals from the Small Ruminant and Metabolism Education Units and prepare an annual operating budget.
- Assist in the development of research protocols under the general guidance of the principle investigator(s).
- Lead, consult and make recommendations in the area of research through effective communication about the research project(s).
- Collaborate in the conception and design of research and in writing grants and proposals and publications.
- Instruct and advise animal science courses at the unit(s) (laboratory sections, lectures, short courses, summer camps and extension programs).
- Supervise research technicians, student employees and student volunteers.
Click Here for the full job description.
Source: NC State University
Australian Market Continues Downward Trend
The AWEX Eastern Market Indicator lost ground on both days this week, making it eight consecutive selling days of losses. Falling 9 cents for the week, the EMI is now at 1,232 Australian cents – its lowest level since January 2021.
Positive economic data gave a boost to the Australian dollar, which rose 2.68 cents week-on-week and converted the 9-cent loss in AUD terms to a 27-cent rise on a USD basis.
As with previous weeks, most support for Merino types was concentrated in the broader microns as 19.5 microns and broader were generally higher for the week with some sharp rises shown on the final day. The finer microns were the main drivers of the lower EMI with the Micron Price Guides averaging a 30-cent loss and sending the 17 MPG to a near two-year low. The weekly MPG movements masked a more nuanced market with the better types showing more resilience, particularly low CVh lots as they become increasingly scarce (lowest level since January).
Merino skirtings tracked a similar line to the fleece with the finer microns losing ground and the broader edge finding support. Crossbreds had mixed results but were generally in line with the previous sale. Merino cardings fell 10 to 15 cents.
Volumes are expected to rise to just more than 36,000 bales at the three centers next week.
Click Here for the Full Australian Wool Market Report.
Producers Needed for Solar Grazing Survey
Farmers can derive added income being paid to control plant growth under solar arrays by grazing sheep. This presents new business opportunities for current sheep farmers to expand flocks and future farmers to enter the sheep sector.
Such opportunities include challenges, such as contracting with array operators, transportation and managing the flock at the grazing site. More sheep might call for more markets and more processing capacity. A cooperative or other business owned by multiple farmers could provide a solution to some of these issues.
Success of such a venture is dependent on understanding the needs and interests of sheep farmers. The Cornell University Cooperative Enterprise Program received funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service Federal State Marketing Improvement Program to examine the need for such a business opportunity. The first step is a survey to identify and measure services needed by farmers.
Click Here to take the survey. Producers completing the survey will be eligible for one of three, $100 Amazon gift cards. The survey will close on Dec. 22.
Source: Cornell University
Task Force Tackles Sustainability
The American Lamb Board – working with the American sheep industry – has created a new task force of industry stakeholders and research and extension specialists to develop aR sheep sustainability report. The report will represent the sheep industry’s commitment to sustainability and describe the industry’s existing practices and goals for continuous improvement in animal care, environmental stewardship, social impacts and industry productivity.
The new sustainability task force was developed in part to address the results of the Michigan State University environmental footprint study. The study identified the best methodology to estimate a sheep operation’s total GHG emissions and created a set of metrics, which considers the diversity of how sheep are raised and marketed. MSU gathered production data and calculated GHG emissions from five different sheep production systems:
- Intensive production.
- Intensive grazing.
- Extensive grazing.
The study identified the major production factors contributing to GHG emissions in American sheep production, which will guide the development of mitigation strategies and best practices for each production system to reduce emissions. “American lamb’s environmental story was added to marketing programs the past several months, and we’re gearing up for much more,” said ALB Chairman Peter Camino.
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.
FSA Elections Begin:
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has begun sending ballots out for the Farm Service Agency county and urban county committee elections. Ballots are being sent to all eligible private landowners and agricultural producers.
Certain elections are occurring in Local Administrative Areas for local members who administer federal farm programs. All ballots must be returned to FSA county offices or postmarked by Dec. 5. Producers must participate or cooperate in an FSA program to qualify for eligibility. A cooperating producer is defined as one who has provided information about their operation but have yet to apply for or receive FSA benefits. Producers that are not of legal voting age but conduct operations for an entire farm are eligible.
Committees have three to 11 elected members that serve three-year terms. One seat representing an LAA is up for election each year. Newly elected committee members take office on Jan. 1, 2023. Eligible voters can visit the service locator to find their respective local FSA county office and visit the USDA election webpage for more information. Other eligible communities and more information can also be found on the USDA urban producers’ website.
USDA Announces Emergency Relief and Pandemic Assistance
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced this week plans for additional emergency relief and pandemic assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The Emergency Relief Program Phase Two will assist eligible agricultural producers who suffered eligible crop losses – measured through decreases in revenue – due to wildfires, hurricanes, floods, derechos, excessive heat, winter storms, freeze (including a polar vortex), smoke exposure, excessive moisture and qualifying droughts occurring in calendar years 2020 and 2021.
The Pandemic Assistance Revenue Program will help producers that experienced revenue decreases in 2020 – compared to 2019 or 2018 – due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Click Here for more information.
Senate Ag Working to Move Nominees
The U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee is pushing to confirm several agriculture nominees before the end of the year.
Those awaiting confirmation include Alexis Taylor as U.S. Department of Agriculture under secretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs, Jose Esteban for under secretary for food safety, and Doug McKalip for chief agricultural negotiator with the U.S. Trade Representative.
Several members have voiced concerns about the nominees. Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.) is concerned with Esteban’s answers about which foods can be labeled as “humanely raised.” Sen. Bob Menendez (N.J.) has been holding up McKalip’s nomination over concerns about transparency within USTR. Additionally, Sens. Bill Hagerty (Tenn.) and Dan Sullivan (Alaska) have raised concerns with other USDA programs. Sen. Hagerty wants to avoid new oversight and regulations of the walking horse industry and Sen. Sullivan is concerned about new logging restrictions in the Tongass National Forest.
Farm Workforce Modernization Act
There is renewed interest in moving the Farm Workforce Modernization Act in the Senate. Rep. Dan Newhouse (Wash.) – an original co-sponsor of the legislation in the House – continues to urge Senate leaders to move the legislation in the last few weeks of the 117th Congress.
Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow recently expressed support for the bill, “I would love to see that pass. I really feel like this is an opportunity, with the House having passed a bill, the president will sign it. I’ve been telling all the agriculture groups that this really is a moment to get something done, but they’re going to have to lean in very heavily to make that happen.”
- PRODUCER EDUCATION