Editor’s Note: Due to the Thanksgiving holiday, there will be no ASI Weekly newsletter next week. The newsletter will return on Dec. 3
Senate Confirms Bonnie as USDA Under Secretary
The U.S. Senate voted 76-19 this week to confirm Robert Bonnie as under secretary for farm production and conservation at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The American Sheep Industry Association joined the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Public Lands Council in supporting Bonnie’s nomination prior to his confirmation hearing in July.
“Mr. Bonnie’s experience at USDA will serve both the agency and America’s agricultural producers as he leads implementation of conservation, insurance and risk management programs,” read a letter of support from the three groups. “In his previous roles as under secretary for natural resources and environment and senior advisor for the environment and climate, Mr. Bonnie laid a foundation from which farm programs will grow and evolve during the Biden Administration. As USDA sets its sights on increasing access to farm programs, Mr. Bonnie’s in-depth knowledge and commitment to the agency’s mission will be exceedingly valuable.
“America’s farmers and ranchers rely on clean air and water for the health of their livestock, families and communities. Often, assistance and resources provided through USDA conservation programs are necessary to ensure that farms remain both environmentally and economically sustainable. The success of these programs hinges on clear guidelines for compliance and accessibility to all producers. Clear rules are key to ensuring that farmers across the country can continue producing the world’s safest food supply. Additionally, access to technical assistance and funding ensures that farmers are maximizing profit while minimizing environmental impact.”
“Democratic and Republican members alike praise Mr. Bonnie’s extensive credentials and commitment to tackling the climate crisis and boosting farm income at the same time. He is well qualified for this position and will help carry out USDA’s important mission,” said Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (Mich.). “I am glad my colleagues and I came together on a bipartisan basis to confirm Mr. Bonnie.”
“Robert Bonnie is no stranger to USDA, having previously served at the department during the Obama Administration,” said John Boozman (Ark.), the committee’s ranking member. “During his previous tenure, Mr. Bonnie developed a reputation of listening to stakeholders, an approach I expect will continue as he is sworn-in as under secretary for farm production and conservation. I appreciate and support his commitment to advancing voluntary and incentive-based climate programs that stay within the bounds of existing law. I am committed to working with him to ensure the agencies he oversees make producer-driven decisions that help our farmers, ranchers and private landowners succeed.”
AmericanWool.org Offers Holiday Gift Guide
This year’s holiday season certainly doesn’t feel like last year’s socially distanced, quarantine-era Christmas. You might have more opportunities to gather with the ones you love. You might feel safer traveling. Your company party could even be back on.
But there’s no denying how the restrictions placed on real-world socializing in the past 18 months have made it challenging to maintain relationships during the pandemic. Pair that with the shipping container delays and overseas shutdowns caused by COVID-19 and you might think your gift-giving options are slim.
Check out the American Wool Gift Guide and you won’t need to worry about shipping container delays, international manufacturing issues or what the big box stores might already be out of – because the guide offers products from brands and companies that rely on stateside manufacturing using American-grown wool for everyone on your nice list. For many, gifting in 2021 has grown beyond just an act of love on special occasions to one of empathy and a way to bridge the physical distance caused by quarantine and the celebrations missed. Take this opportunity to bring smiles to the faces of your loved ones and support everyone in the American wool industry.
This year, AmericanWool.org has gathered a carefully curated collection of handpicked gifts you can find locally – and online – and broken them down into handy categories (such as City Slicker and Homebody) for easy shopping.
Click Here for the American Wool Gift Guide.
ALB Releases Second Video in Lamb Quality Series
The second installment of the American Lamb Quality Video Series has been released. The American Lamb Board and Premier 1 Supplies are co-sponsoring the video series produced by North Dakota State University Extension Services.
Using the theme of “Beginning with the End in Mind,” the purpose of the series is to help the American lamb industry provide a consistently high-quality product to consumers, taking into account the wide variety of production systems.
“Awareness of lamb quality attributes and how they are ensured through USDA quality grading allows producers the ability to benchmark their commercially produced lambs and strive for product consistency,” said NDSU and University of Minnesota Extension Sheep Specialist Travis Hoffman, Ph.D., who is spearheading the project.
“This video reminds us that as progressive sheep producers we hold a vested interest in creating a protein that consistently meets and exceeds consumer expectations of our American lamb product,” said Gwen Kitzan, ALB chair from Newell, S.D.
Additional videos – such as USDA Yield Grades, Live Animal Evaluation and Retail Meat Yield & Value – are in the works. Question and answer webinars are also planned.
The American Lamb Board is funded by the American Lamb Checkoff and is charged with building awareness and expanding demand for American lamb, and strengthening its position in the marketplace, thereby increasing the potential long-range economic growth of all industry sectors.
Awards Nomination Deadline Extended to Dec. 3
The American Sheep Industry Association has extended the deadline to nominate individuals or companies for industry awards until Dec. 3. Award winners will be recognized at the 2022 ASI Annual Convention on Jan. 19-22, 2022, in San Diego.
There are five awards open for nominations: the McClure Silver Ram Award, the 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 award may recognize a lifetime of achievement or may recognize a noteworthy, shorter-term commitment and service to the industry.
The 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. Nominees should be well respected in their fields by their peers and by sheep producers.
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 predecessor groups to ASI.
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 year-long 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 for excellence in covering sheep industry issues.
Nominations must be submitted to ASI by Dec. 3, and past recipients of these awards are not eligible. To receive an application, call 303-771-3500 or email email@example.com.
Click Here for more information and the nomination form.
Evaluators Needed for AWA Program
Wool growers are now progressing through the American Sheep Industry Association’s American Wool Assurance program, and as outside verification is needed for advancement to level II, AWA is looking for second-party evaluators.
Evaluators will work with ASI staff and directly with growers to confirm that they are meeting the AWA standards. Evaluators must have sheep experience and/or education and must be interested in helping and working with growers.
Information and applications are available at www.americanwoolassurance.org/wp-content/uploads/AWA-Evaluator-Application.pdf and are due by Nov. 29. Accepted evaluators will be trained via virtual sessions and able to complete level II evaluations in early 2022.
Wool producers are also reminded that the free, voluntary AWA program can be started anytime through the AWA website. ASI encourages interested growers to begin the process now to be prepared for the 2022 spring season. Pressure continues to grow on all agricultural products to provide assurance and traceability.
Click Here for more information on AWA.
Australian Market Posts Small Gain
The Australian wool market recorded a small overall increase this week. The national offering increased to 39,802 bales nationally, due in part to Melbourne’s ability to conduct a three-day sale. Due to COVID-19 restrictions during the previous few months, Melbourne has been limited to two-day sales to minimize the amount of time buyer and seller staff attend wool auctions. These restrictions were eased this week.
The rise in the market was driven largely by the increases in the medium to broad Merino fleece types. The individual Micron Price Guides across the country for 19 micron and coarser rose by between 10 and 31 cents. The AWEX Eastern Market Indicator gained 5 cents for the series, closing at 1,324 Australian cents. Due to a weaking Australian dollar – the AUD dropped nearly a full cent from the previous series – the EMI when viewed in U.S. dollar terms lost ground. The EMI dropped 9 U.S. cents for the week, closing at 962 U.S. cents.
A noteworthy event of the series happened on the final day of selling in Melbourne. A large selection of certified, specialty mon-mulesed types came under intense buyer pressure and sold at premiums of between 100 to 350 cents and above similar non-mulesed types with wools broader than 20.5 micron most affected. One line of 21 micron wool sold at 1,669 cents (against the Southern 21 micron MPG of 1,296 cents).
The oddment market was the strongest performing sector in this series. General gains of between 10 and 20 cents in locks, stains and crutchings helped push the three regional Merino Carding indicators up by an average of 13 cents.
Although the three-day option is available in Melbourne, next week’s offering can be accommodated in two days. Despite the two-day sale, the national quantity increases as there are expected to be 41,363 bales on offer.
- PRODUCER EDUCATION