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ASI Leaders Participate in Trailblazers Tour

More than 20 young sheep producers braved the Texas heat to get a complete overview of the Lone Star State’s sheep operations at the 2021 Trailblazers Tour – hosted by the National Lamb Feeders Association in cooperation with the American Sheep Industry Association and the American Lamb Board.

ASI President Susan Shultz joined Wyoming’s Ryan Boner – co-chair of the ASI Young Entrepreneurs program – when the tour kicked off in Austin on Sunday afternoon with dinner and a discussion of marketing by ALB consultant Allison Beedle. Also on hand from ASI’s YE group were Oregon’s Mary Smallman and Washington State Sheep Producers Executive Secretary Ashley Larsen.

In the three days that followed, participants toured both hair and wool sheep operations from Austin to San Angelo and got a look at the lamb market through stops at two sale barns and two processing plants. The first plant was the small – but busy – Capra Foods facility in Goldthwaite, and the second was the previously abandoned lamb plant that Double J purchased and reopened in late 2020 in San Angelo. The Trailblazers Tour closed with a look at newly installed equipment at the Bill Sims Wool and Mohair Research Laboratory at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at San Angelo. The lab will take over commercial testing of American wool in 2022.

“I just think this was an amazing group of young people who are going to do big things in the sheep industry in the years to come,” said Shultz, who made an effort to visit with each of the young producers during the tour. “I was impressed by each and every one of them in our conversations.

“And I can’t say enough about the fantastic job done by Dr. Reid Redden and Jake Thorne of Texas A&M AgriLife and NLFA and ALB in setting up the tour. We saw every facet of the Texas sheep industry in three days. As is the case with the sheep industry as a whole, the industry in Texas is very diverse and the tour encompassed all of it. As an ASI officer, it was also exciting to see the new wool lab (which was supported financially by ASI’s for-profit Sheep Venture Company and the National Sheep Industry Improvement Center in cooperation with Texas A&M) in the final stages of preparation for testing the 2022 American wool clip.”

Look for more coverage of the tour in the November issue of the Sheep Industry News.

Click Here to see a video demonstration of the new wool lab.


Photo Contest Winners Announced

Larry Blain of Utah and Caleigh Payne of Colorado each picked up three checks in the 2021 American Sheep Industry Association Photo Contest.

Blain placed first in the open category, second in the scenic west category and third in the working animals category. Payne took first in scenic west and second in both the shepherd/shepherdess and open categories. In addition, Colorado’s Amy Kruckenberg earned two checks with a first-place finish in the shepherd/shepherdess category and a second-place finish in working animals.

Here’s a complete list of winners:

  • Open: 1. Blain, 2. Payne, 3. Mary Jean Owens of Texas.
  • Shepherd/Shepherdess: 1. Amy Kruckenberg of Colorado, 2. Payne, 3. Brianna Matchett of Michigan.
  • Scenic East: Carrie Flores of Wisconsin, 2. Maddie Lilly of Virginia, 3. Sarah Karvakko of Minnesota.
  • Scenic West: 1. Payne, 2. Blain, 3. Ashley Carreiro-Loyd of California.
  • Working Animals: 1. Kay Benson of Utah, 2. Kruckenberg, 3. Blain.

Click Here for the digital version of the Sheep Industry News to see all of the winning photos.


Farm Flock Economics Webinar Set for Oct. 12

Bridger Feuz of the University of Wyoming will lead a discussion on Farm Flock Economics during the next American Sheep Industry Association-sponsored webinar on Oct. 12, beginning at 8 p.m. eastern time.

Keeping track of things is an important but tall task sometimes in the life of a sheep producer. This webinar will discuss some of the essential records for making sound management decisions. There will also be discussion about useful economic tools to help make decisions focused on farm flocks.

As always, the webinar will be hosted by Dr. Jay Parsons of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and will also be available for on-demand viewing on the ASI website a few days after the live webinar.

Click Here to register for the free webinar.


University of Florida Expands Sheep Operations

The University of Florida will hold its first Ram Test and Sale event tomorrow as part of new program to grow the sheep and goat industries in the Sunshine State. The event will be held at the UF/IFAS Beef Teaching Unit located at 3721 SW 23rd St., Gainesville, FL 32608. The event starts at 8 a.m.

The Ram Test and Sale program gives Florida sheep farmers insights into how well their rams grow and resist parasites under Florida’s hot and humid conditions. The 16 best performing sheep will be on sale at the event.

This initiative is made possible by a gift from one of the state’s sheep producers – Carol Postley, owner of Fairmeadow Farm, a sheep farm in Marion County. In addition to the Ram Test and Sale program, Postley’s gift supports upgrades to the UF/IFAS Sheep Unit on SW 16th Ave. in Gainesville and will allow researchers to expand the UF sheep flock and goat herd.

Infrastructure enhancements will help scientists like Diwakar Vyas and his colleagues from veterinary medicine and agronomy to do the teaching, researcher and Extension work needed to give small ruminant farmers the best chance at success. Efforts around sheep and small ruminants are a collaboration of the UF College of Veterinary Medicine and the UF/IFAS animal sciences department.

“Improving our infrastructure and adding more animals to our herds will kickstart several research projects and other programs that will help farmers raising small ruminants or who want to get into the industry,” said Vyas, an assistant professor of animal sciences. “This gift will also provide more opportunities for our students in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences to gain hands-on experience with these animals and produce professionals ready to support the industry.”

Upgrades to the small ruminant facility include better gates, pens and waterlines, as well as better quality grass for grazing. This will allow scientists to conduct research on one of the biggest challenges to raising these animals in Florida’s climate: intestinal parasites. Diwakar and others will study how the animals’ diets and genetics might help animals resist these parasites. They will also launch a program where researchers will evaluate farmers’ sheep and goats for parasite resistance, providing clues to the animals’ breeding potential.

But parasites aren’t the only challenge to raising sheep and goats commercially in Florida.

“Consumer interest in sheep and goat meat is growing in our state, but there are few facilities in Florida where farmers can take their animals for processing. We will be working with researchers in the food and resource economics department to better understand these supply chain issues,” Vyas said.

Challenges aside, small ruminants have potential to become a source of income for small landowners and farmers.

“One advantage of sheep and goats is that – unlike cattle, for instance – you don’t need a lot of land to raise them. For people who have a few acres and want to get into the livestock business, sheep and goats may be an option for them,” Vyas said.

Source: University of Florida


LMR Continued Until December

The continuing resolution passed by the U.S. Congress on Thursday includes the continuation of Livestock Mandatory Price Reporting through Dec. 3.

Members of the House ag committee have a hearing to Review the State of the Livestock Industry, which will include Livestock Mandatory Reporting, scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 7, at noon eastern time. American Sheep Industry Association Vice President Brad Boner of Wyoming is set to testify on behalf of the sheep industry at the hearing.

Look for more on Boner’s testimony in next week’s ASI Weekly.


Prime Minister’s Lamb Claims ‘Misleading’

Boris Johnson’s claims about the United States lifting a ban on British lamb have been branded “misleading” by his own government ­officials.

Leaked emails reveal it is “extremely unlikely” kebabs and koftas will be part of the initial deal – despite the prime minister saying they would be. An official said there is no “deadline” for lifting the ban.

Johnson’s ­announcement prompted a civil servant to email a colleague telling him, “Some of what he said was misleading.”

SNP MSP and ex-sheep farmer Jim Fairlie said, “Boris Johnson has been ­skewered by his own dishonesty. These are damning ­revelations from inside the U.K. government which appear to show the prime minister has blatantly tried to mislead people.”

British lamb exports to the United States have been banned since 1989, following the first outbreak of mad cow disease. In a trip last week to the United States, Johnson raised the hopes of United Kingdom lamb producers by claiming the ban would be axed.

Click Here for the full story.

Source: Daily Record


USDA Announces $3 Billion Investment

Agriculture Sec. Tom Vilsack announced this week a comprehensive set of investments to address challenges facing America’s agricultural producers. These include assistance to address challenges and costs associated with drought, animal health, market disruptions for agricultural commodities and school food supply chain issues.

Sec. Vilsack also outlined and requested public comments on a new climate partnership initiative designed to create new revenue streams for producers via market opportunities for commodities produced using climate-smart practices.

“American agriculture currently faces unprecedented challenges on multiple fronts,” said Vilsack. “The coronavirus pandemic has impacted every stage of our food supply chain, from commodity production through processing and delivery. Farmers, ranchers and forest landowners increasingly experience the impacts of climate change as severe storms, floods, drought and wildfire events damage their operations and impact their livelihoods. We know these challenges will continue into 2022, and others may emerge. Through this comprehensive set of investments, USDA will take action to prevent the spread of African Swine Fever, assist producers grappling with drought and market disruptions, and help school nutrition professionals obtain nutritious food for students. Tackling these challenges head-on better positions USDA to respond in the future as new challenges emerge.”

Click Here to read the full release.

Source: USDA


Losses Felt Market Wide in Australia

The Australian wool market suffered falls this week, with losses felt across all sectors of the market. The national offering increased to 40,546 bales – 4,801 more than the previous week. The national offering continues to track well above the previous season. Compared to the corresponding sale of last year, there have been 96,951 more bales offered at auction for an increase of 33 percent.

In the Merino fleece, there was a noticeable softening of overall buyer sentiment. This transferred into softer demand and prices that were achieved were well below that of the previous series. Across the country, the individual Micron Price Guides lowered by between 2 and 64 cents. These losses – combined with falls in all other sectors of the market – contributed to an overall fall in the benchmark AWEX Eastern Market Indicator of 31 cents. The EMI closed the week at 1,337 Australian cents – a reduction of 2.3 percent. Due to currency movement – the AUD lost nearly half a cent compared to the USD – when viewed in USD terms the drop was slightly higher. The EMI lost 29 USc, closing at 963 U.S. cents for a fall of 2.9 percent.

Understandably, the lower prices on offer were met with plenty of resistance from sellers, pushing the passed in rate up to 22.5 percent. This was 13.1 percent higher than the previous week (where overall increases were recorded). Worth noting, although the market recorded losses, there were positive signs toward the end of the series. On the second day in the West (selling last), the local MPGs recorded positive movements of between 1 and 54 cents. The crossbred sector recorded the largest falls (in percentage terms) for the series. In the South, the MPGs for 26 micron fell 57 cents (-7.2 percent), 28 lost 25 cents (-5.6 percent), while 32 micron dropped 20 cents (-7.9 percent).

Source: AWEX

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