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AWC Offers American Wool Gift Guide

With a turbulent and unexpected 2020, it’s important now more than ever to support companies that believe in American-made goods with stateside manufacturing, and an ethos to give back whenever possible. That’s why the American Wool Council (a division of the American Sheep Industry Association) has created the third annual American Wool Holiday Gift Guide – a selection of items that are not only great gifts, but allow you to spend your holiday dollars bolstering companies that value American wool and local ranching communities.

From outdoor wear that will help your friend hit the trails, to cozy home goods or an annual yarn subscription, you’re sure to find something to put you in the giving mood. Let our gift guide lead the way. Share these American-made, American wool gifts with the ones you love (or, treat yourself to a little something special…it’s 2020, you’ve earned it).

Click Here for the full guide (and special discount codes) and stay tuned for a stocking stuffer gift guide later this year.


Sheep Center Approves Seven Grant Proposals

The National Sheep Industry Improvement Center Board of Directors announced this week the approval of seven proposals for NSIIC grants in 2020. A total of 24 proposals totaling nearly $2 million were submitted for consideration.

The following grant proposals were approved by the board:

  • Development of predator mitigation GPS collars.
  • Mitigation of subclinical mastitis during early lactation and effects of subclinical mastitis on milk yield, lamb growth and lamb survival.
  • Development and application of genomic breeding values in the Katahdin breed.
  • Determining the relationship between growth EBVs, feed intake and feed efficiency in range sheep.
  • Automated behavioral detection of mastitis in ewes.
  • Wool research and education.
  • Evaluation of growth, meat quality and sensory characteristics of wool, hair and wool/hair lambs.

The Center budgeted approximately $300,000 for grants that will support projects designed to strengthen and enhance the production and marketing of sheep products in the United States through infrastructure development, business development, production, resource development, and market and environmental research.

Source: NSIIC


Demand for American Lamb Increases in Second Quarter

There’s good news and bad news in this pandemic. The good news is that retail sales of all lamb in the United States are increasing.

“The combination of consumers cooking at home, the desire for new meal options, the hard work by lamb marketers, retailers and American Lamb Board checkoff efforts seem to be opening consumers to lamb’s possibilities, and it shows in the numbers,” says Gwen Kitzan, ALB chair from Newell, S.D.

The latest retail data – analyzed by IRI/FreshLook Marketing, and released by ALB – quantifies the growth in retail sales for all lamb (domestic and imported) through July 12. Retail sales data show pounds of all lamb sold at multi-outlet supermarkets in the United States in the 13-week period from April 20 through July 12, increased 8.6 percent compared to the same period in 2019. That’s 16.3 million pounds of lamb sold and $137.8 million in sales during the quarter. In the last four weeks of the period (June 15 through July 12) pounds of lamb sold increased 29.8 percent compared to the same period one year ago, and lamb dollars spent increased 38.2 percent to $40.5 million.

The IRI/FreshLook analysis also looked at the longer term. Comparison of the current 52-week period to the prior 52 weeks shows a 6.8 percent increase in lamb pounds sold and a 9.8 percent increase in sales dollars.

The increase in pounds of lamb sold and lamb dollars spent showed across the board when designated by cut. The loin continues to be the most popular cut with consumers, accounting for 24.9 percent of pounds of lamb sold. It was followed by the rib at 21.3 percent. The two cuts saw an increase in pounds of lamb sold of 13.1 percent and 12 percent respectively during the same time in 2019.

The northeast region continues to outsell other areas of the country, accounting for 29.8 percent of lamb dollar sales with a 10.1 percent increase during the same 52-week period one year ago. The southeast and the mid-south came in second and third in percentage of lamb market, but it was California that showed the most impressive growth at 16.7 percent. There, the 13-week second quarter growth came in at 39.5 percent more lamb pounds consumed and 37 percent more dollars spent than the second quarter of 2019, while the four-week period of June 15 to July 12 saw a 60.7 percent increase in pounds consumed and a 64.8 percent increase in lamb dollars spent during the same period in the prior year.

Even the region with the lowest lamb market share – the plains – saw a 1.6 percent increase in lamb dollar sales during the second quarter 2020 compared with the second quarter of 2019.

The full Fresh Meat and Lamb Review report for retail sales through July 12, is available for the American lamb industry at Members of the industry can apply for access by completing the online form.

Source: ALB


Montana Wool Growers Cancel Convention

The Montana Wool Growers Association has cancelled its annual convention which was originally set for Dec. 3-5 in Billings, Mont.

“Planning is underway to handle preliminary business, such as resolution committee meetings, utilizing the online Zoom platform,” read a recent email from the association. “Voting on resolutions and electing directors to the MWGA board will take place on Saturday, Dec. 5. More details regarding how and where voting will take place will be available in the coming weeks.”

Source: MWGA 


SBA Rural Affairs Offers Resources

Small businesses are more important now than ever before to the success of our national economy. Especially during the past year’s challenges, economic progress requires the survival and growth of the rural operations that help make up the 30 million small businesses in the United States that employ nearly half of the private sector workforce.

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Small Business Administration has taken a robust approach to delivering resources and fostering connections within rural communities. By ensuring SBA resources and lending programs reach all areas of the country, the SBA’s Rural Affairs Office – in partnership with SBA Regional and District Offices – is working with industries and organizations, as well as engaging with stakeholders to provide information on programs that will provide the access and boost needed by local small business ecosystems.

The Rural Affairs Office has provided a list of resources that small business in rural areas might find helpful during these trying times.

Click Here for the complete list of resources.


Election Won’t Change Chinese Tariffs

Fashion companies were not happy when President Donald J. Trump started his trade war with China. The additional tariffs on apparel from China raised costs on items coming into the United States, speeding an ongoing push to diversify production to other parts of Asia and beyond. But if corporations think Joe Biden winning the U.S. presidency in November will reverse the situation, they’re mistaken, experts said at a virtual conference on Oct. 14 held by fashion trade outlet Sourcing Journal. Both parties see tariffs as a way to put pressure on China, and that pressure is increasing as the United States scrutinizes China’s repression of its Uighur minority.

“Democrats are still going to be looking at tariffs as a policy,” said Stephen Lamar, CEO of the American Apparel & Footwear Association, an industry trade group representing more than 1,000 brands. “The big difference between them and Republicans going forward, whether it’s the Congress or if we a see a change in the administration, is how they justify the use of the [tariffs].” He said Democrats might wield them differently, working in conjunction with allies for instance, or use them to address different matters, such as environmental or human rights issues.

“It’s more of the same for a while,” said Vincent Iacopella, who deals with trade issues as executive vice president of the large freight services firm Alba Wheels Up. He doesn’t foresee Biden immediately reversing Trump’s tariffs if he wins, and noted Democrats also object to China’s behavior in cases such as stealing intellectual property – the issue Trump singled out as the reason for his tariffs. Based on his discussions, Iacopella believes officials might consider a process allowing companies to apply for exclusions, but even that would take time.

Click Here to read the full story.

Source: Quartz


Australian Market Continues Strong Run

The Australian wool market had a rollercoaster ride this week, with both large upward and downward movements experienced in the series. From the opening lot on the first day, buyer sentiment was extremely positive and it was apparent that the market was heading rapidly higher.

By time the final hammer fell in the west, the individual Micron Price Guides across the country had risen by 110 to 153 cents. The AWEX Eastern Market Indicator added 123 cents for the day, which equated to an 11 percent increase. This was the second largest rise on record for the EMI, beaten only by the 130-cent gain the EMI recorded in September of last year. The EMI closed the day at 1,240 Australian cents, which was the highest the EMI has been in the current season.

On the second day of selling, buyer sentiment cooled slightly, resulting in the market losing some of the large gains enjoyed on the first. The MPGs fell by 23 to 99 cents. On the back of these losses, the EMI dropped by 21 cents. Strong gains in the crossbreds prevented a larger fall. Despite the second-day losses, the EMI recorded an overall positive movement of 102 cents for the series, closing the week at 1,219 Australian cents.

As the finer microns have risen at a greater rate than the broader ones, the price differentials between microns have stretched. In the first sale of the current season, the difference between the 18.0-micron MPGs and the 21.0-micron MPGs was 215 cents. The difference between the 18.0- and 21.0-micron MPGs has now increased to 388 cents.

The crossbred sector recorded the largest rises. The 26.0- and 30.0-micron MPGs rose by 18 percent. The 28.0-micron MPGs rose by 31 percent. In the both the north and south this was the largest weekly rise for the 28.0-micron MPG on record.

Next week’s national offering rises to 44,004.

Source: AWEX


Video of the Week

As a child, Kelsey Patton wanted to knit a sweater, but she wasn’t content with heading to the local yarn shop for materials. Instead, she insisted her family invest in a sheep flock. From there, she went on to start a yarn store and most recently her own wool mill in Stromsburg, Neb.

Click Here to watch the video.


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