Sheraton Denver Downtown to Host Convention
The American Sheep Industry Association Annual Convention registration brochures mailed out to past attendees and others in the industry this week. But you don’t have to wait until the brochure arrives in your mailbox to secure your spot in Denver.
Click Here to register now.
The 159th annual gathering of the American sheep industry will take place at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel, which underwent an $80 million transformation in recent years. Located on Denver’s 16th Street Mall, the hotel offers quick, easy access to world-class shopping, dining and entertainment. For a unique shopping experience, head to historic Larimer Square, where you can browse boutiques and specialty shops housed in beautifully restored Victorian buildings.
Explore effortlessly thanks to a nearby light rail station, which takes you to Coors Field, the Denver Zoo or the Denver Art Museum. After a full day of activities, recharge in the heated rooftop pool or the 5,000-square-foot Sheraton Fitness center. Onsite dining at Yard House and BEZEL are absolute musts during your stay.
In addition, the Topgolf Swing Suite offers a wide variety of virtual games, including signature Topgolf target games, zombie dodgeball, hockey, baseball, football, carnival games and more.
Click Here for hotel reservations.
Research Update: Environmental Footprint
The ASI Research Update podcast is joined this month by Dr. Richard Ehrhardt and Dr. Erin Recktenwald of Michigan State University as they discuss The Environmental Footprint of the U.S. Sheep Industry.
The two examined the issue in recent years as part of a study funded by the American Lamb Board. Dr. Ehrhardt said similar studies have been done in other countries, but the sheep industry is more diverse in the United States than most countries because of its wide range of production systems.
Click Here to listen to the podcast.
APHIS Announces Leadership Changes
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service recently announced several changes in senior leadership positions.
“Associate Administrator Dr. Jack Shere has moved into a senior leader role where he will focus on the important need to recruit to public service a qualified and diverse cadre of veterinarians, and those who are pursing degrees in other scientific disciplines of need for the agency,” wrote Acting APHIS Administrator Dr. Mike Watson in an email to industry stakeholders.
“We are thankful that Dr. Shere is willing to take on this important effort for the agency. In this role, Dr. Shere will identify current and future staffing needs for the agency, develop an engagement and recruitment strategy, and work directly with colleges, universities and veterinary schools to encourage students to consider careers with APHIS.
“Second, as you may know, Dr. Donna Lalli has served as acting associate administrator since late February of this year, and I am pleased to announce that Dr. Lalli will be joining us permanently in the administrator’s office as an associate administrator. As associate administrator, Dr. Lalli will work with Administrator Kevin Shea and myself to carry out our day-to-day operations and oversee the activities of every agency program area and support unit on behalf of our stakeholders and employees. Since 2021, she served as Wildlife Services associate deputy administrator, where she provided executive leadership to the National Feral Swine Damage Management Program, the National Rabies Program and the Airport Wildlife Hazards Program
“Additionally, I am also pleased to announce that Sarah Helming will permanently step into the role of deputy administrator for emergency and regulatory compliance services. She will oversee APHIS’ select agents and toxins, investigative and enforcement, biodefense, and emergency management, safety and security programs. Helming joined APHIS in 2014 and has held various positions throughout the agency.
“Lastly, I am pleased to announce Wendy Anderson as the new director of the Wildlife Services Western Region. Wendy has nearly 25 years of experience with Wildlife Services, serving in a variety of positions at headquarters, in national programs and in the regions. Wendy previously served as the Western Region assistant director, policy and science advisor to the deputy administrator, assistant National Feral Swine Program manager, N.J. state director, NEPA coordinator for the Rabies Program, and as a wildlife biologist. Anderson holds a B.S. in wildlife biology and natural resource sciences from Washington State University and a master of public administration with an emphasis in national security from Troy University. She is a member of The Wildlife Society and a Certified Wildlife Biologist.”
ASI Accepting Awards Nominations
The deadline to submit nominations for American Sheep Industry Association awards is now less than a month away. Awards will be presented at the 2024 ASI Annual Convention on Jan. 12 in Denver.
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.
Nominations must be submitted to ASI by Nov. 17, and past recipients of these awards are not eligible.
Click Here for more information.
Australian Wool Market Holds Steady
The Australian wool market was unchanged this week, with varied results within different regions, sectors and micron groups.
The largest gains for the week were seen in the finer Merino fleece types as strong, widespread competition in this sector pushed prices higher. This was highlighted in the individual Micron Price Guides for 17.5 micron and finer, which rose by between 9 and 23 cents and in the 18-micron MPG in the West – the finest published MPG – which added 29 cents for the series. After these MPG rises, the results were varied as plus and minus results were recorded across similar types Australia wide.
The AWEX Eastern Market Indicator closed the week unchanged on 1,139 Australian cents. The EMI continues to trade well below this time last year. The EMI is 161 cents – 12.4 percent – lower than Week 17 last season. In the past year, the finer microns have suffered greater falls than their broader counterparts, narrowing the price differentials between microns. This is best highlighted looking at the finest (16.5 micron) and broadest (22 micron) MPGs in Melbourne. In the corresponding sale of the previous season, these two MPGs were 2,323 and 1,282 cents respectively, for a difference of 1,041 cents. In this series, these MPGs are now 1,809 and 1,260 cents respectively, a difference of just 549 cents.
Next week, 47,202 bales are expected to be offered in Melbourne, Fremantle and Sydney. It could be the largest offering since Week 6 of this season.
Click Here for the Australian Wool Report Prices in USc Per Pound.
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.
House Elects Mike Johnson as Speaker
After more than three weeks without a speaker, the U.S. House of Representatives finally settled on and elected Rep. Mike Johnson (La.) to fill the vacant role on Wednesday. Johnson was the Republican Conference’s fourth nominee during this drawn-out process, and he did not lose a single GOP vote from lawmakers who were present, unlike his predecessors gunning for the position.
Prior to this new role, Johnson served as vice chair of the Republican Conference. He is one of the least experienced lawmakers the position has seen in more than 140 years, having only served in Congress since 2016 after practicing constitutional law for two decades. With Rep. Steve Scalise (La.) still as majority leader, this puts the Louisiana delegation in a strong position of power, as it now has two of its lawmakers claiming the top two spots in House Republican leadership. Johnson will lead the chamber as it is set to face some of the toughest challenges of this Congress, such as navigating an impending government funding deadline, an escalating war between Israel and Hamas and pushing through the remaining Fiscal Year 2024 appropriations bills.
From an agricultural policy lens, ahead of the speakership vote that got Johnson elected, he sent around a support letter that laid out an aggressive legislative schedule for the coming months. In his letter, he called attention to both the agriculture appropriations bill and the Farm Bill as top priorities and outlined that the House could see agriculture appropriations back on the floor as soon as mid-November and the Farm Bill in December.
Boozman, Stabenow Signaling Farm Bill Extension
Last week during a Farm Bill listening session in Missouri, Senate Agriculture Committee Ranking Member John Boozman (Ark.) suggested that Congress should start considering a one-year extension of the 2018 Farm Bill, to allow more time for the drafting of a new Farm Bill.
He proposed the extension, which could be included in a stopgap spending bill needed before the current Continuing Resolution expires on Nov. 17. Without a new Farm Bill or an extension by Jan. 1, 2024, permanent law written into the 1938 and 1949 Farm Bills will be triggered, requiring the USDA to take steps to significantly raise the prices of commodities such as milk and wheat.
The House and Senate Agriculture committees have yet to agree on key provisions for the new legislation, causing delays in moving the Farm Bill forward. Earlier this week, Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow also shared similar thoughts of passing a Farm Bill extension on the Senate floor, just hours after the House elected Johnson as speaker. She noted that any Farm Bill extension will likely need to go in the next funding stopgap measure, which lawmakers are already starting to draft ahead of the threat of another potential government shutdown.
Shearing Schools Planned for 2023-24
A handful of shearing and wool classing schools have announced dates for the 2023-24 season. If your school isn’t listed below, please contact Heather Pearce at firstname.lastname@example.org to have it added to the list.
- North Dakota State University Shearing School, Nov. 18-20 in Hettinger, N.D. Contact Dr. Christopher Schauer at email@example.com.
- North Dakota State University Wool Classing School, Nov. 18-20 in Hettinger, N.D. Contact Dr. Christopher Schauer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Utah State University Shearing School, Jan. 18-20, 2024, at the USU Animal Science Farm in Wellsville, Utah. Visit eventbrite.com/e/usu-sheep-shearing-school-2024-registration-722911155727 for more information.
- Missouri Extension Shearing School, March 6-7, 2024, at Lincoln University’s George Carver Farm in Jefferson City, Mo. Contact Jody Bruemmer at email@example.com or 573-681-5540.
- Shepherd’s Cross Shearing Schools, April 11-13, 2024, and April 15-17, 2024, in Claremore, Okla. Visit https://shepherdscross.com/sheep-shearing-school-asi.html for more information.
- Colorado Sheep Shearing School, April 12-14, 2024, in Craig, Colo. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
- Washington State Beginner Shearing School, April 22-26, 2024, Moses Lake, Wash. An advanced shearing school will also be conducted on April 27. Contact Sarah Smith at 509-754-2011, ext. 4363 or email@example.com.
ALB Hosts Southeast Production Workshop
Last week, the American Lamb Board and the University of Kentucky Department of Animal and Food Sciences hosted the first in a series of workshops to educate new and aspiring producers.
ALB sees a real opportunity right now for the American lamb industry to grow, and this workshop was developed to inspire those who might be new to raising sheep or are thinking about adding sheep to their operations.
“ALB is increasing efforts to establish a consistent, year-round supply of American lamb to meet consumer demand and lessen the need for imported products,” says ALB Chair Peter Camino of Buffalo, Wyo.
Attendees from around the region learned about best production practices and tools to maximize productivity and profits. Topics included: genetics, reproduction, nutrition, disease prevention and health management, facilities and equipment for sheep production, and profitable grazing system opportunities, followed by a panel discussion on marketing opportunities. The workshop wrapped up with an educational tour of the University of Kentucky Sheep Unit.
The goal for the program is to develop a template and in 2024 announce a new grant program offering all states and regions the template along with funding to support future workshops.
Click here for our best practices to increase you lamb crop.
USDA Bolsters Trade, Food Aid Investments
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced this week that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is providing $2.3 billion to help American producers maintain and develop markets for their commodities and use U.S. commodities to bolster international food aid.
Consistent with a bipartisan request from the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, USDA is utilizing funds from the Commodity Credit Corporation to address challenges related to trade and food insecurity impacting U.S. farmers and the international community. USDA will use:
- $1.3 billion for the Regional Agricultural Promotion Program and support for specialty crop industries to diversify export markets.
- $1 billion to help address global hunger.
Vilsack made the announcement as part of the World Food Prize’s Borlaug Dialogue that is held in Des Moines, Iowa, each October and brings together world leaders and experts to address global food security issues. This announcement comes on the heels of the 90th anniversary of the CCC, which was incorporated on Oct. 17, 1933, in response to the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl’s devastation on producers and their operations. For 90 years, the CCC has stabilized markets, supported farm income and prices, and enhanced the ability of farmers to market their commodities.
Regional Agricultural Promotion Program
The FY23 agricultural trade deficit is $19 billion, and USDA has projected that it will grow to $27.5 billion in FY24. There is also increased competition in our export markets in Asia and Africa. Therefore, additional investments in market development need to be made to keep ahead of the competition. Analysis has shown that for every $1 invested in export market development, exports are increased by $24.50. Increased agricultural exports means income directly back to producers. Trade promotion investment helps keep existing markets open and creates access to new markets. Further, investing in non-traditional markets will help the United States diversify away from dependence on a handful of large markets.
The new $1.3 billion investment in a Regional Agricultural Promotion Program will enable exporters to break into new markets and increase market share in growth markets. Further, an investment in providing targeted technical assistance to the specialty crops industry will help it enter and expand markets that often impose onerous non-tariff barriers on their products. Five years ago, in reaction to the trade war with China, USDA developed the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program to help exporters diversify their markets. The funds from ATP will expire next year and with that, many exporters are already curtailing their activities. Without being on the ground in markets, it is nearly impossible to build the trust and relationships needed to create opportunities. The RAPP will address this critical loss and ensure continuity of the relationships key to market development.
International Food Aid
Recent challenges to supply chains and on-going conflicts have exacerbated what was already a dire situation of increased numbers of people experiencing food insecurity globally. An estimated 205 million people need life-saving food assistance, and some 768 million people are facing chronic hunger, according to the Global Report on Food Crises and FAO. American agriculture is well positioned to help fill these gaps. The United States produces more commodities than are consumed, and therefore has the opportunity to extend this food – via a USDA donation – to those who are in need.
USDA will purchase commodities and work with USAID – the lead federal agency on international emergency food aid programs – to ensure they reach those most in need around the world. The $1 billion donation will bolster ongoing efforts to address global hunger, as well as support U.S. agriculture through the purchase of surplus commodities.
Click Here to learn more.