Register Now for the 2022 ASI Annual Convention

Registration is now open for the 2022 ASI Annual Convention: Where There’s a Will, There’s a Wave. The convention is scheduled for Jan. 19-22, 2022, at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina.

The ASI Annual Convention is the one place each year where all facets of the American sheep industry come together to set priorities, share information and conduct the business of the industry as a whole. Past attendees should have received an email invitation (check your spam folders if you don’t see it) this week. A printed brochure will also be sent out in November as a registration reminder.

Early registration runs through Dec. 31. Rates increase beginning on Jan. 1 and online registration is available only through Jan. 7, 2022. After that time, all registrations must be submitted onsite in San Diego. The deadline to book hotel rooms at ASI’s contracted rate is Dec. 29.

Dr. Frank Mitloehner of the CLEAR Center and the University of California-Davis Department of Animal Science will be the speaker for the opening session on Jan. 20. He collaborates with the animal agriculture sector to create better efficiencies and mitigate pollutants. He is passionate about understanding and mitigating air emissions from livestock operations, as well as studying the implications of these emissions on the health of farm workers and neighboring communities.

Recently, Dr. Mitloehner delivered the fall 2021 Heuermann Lecture at the University of Nebraska’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources and argued that the environmental impact of livestock production has been overstated. It is still important for the livestock industry to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Mitloehner said, but his research – which is gaining acceptance among climate and environmental experts – shows that livestock production is not the environmental culprit it has been made out to be.

On Jan. 22, the convention crowd will be entertained by Dr. Al Snyder, who combines hypnotism with a veterinary background into a performance that blends humor and motivation into an action-packed session. Dr. Snyder will perform during the Saturday luncheon that is included with convention registration.

Three tours are planned during the convention to introduce attendees to California agriculture as well as the sights and sounds of beautiful San Diego. The ASI Imperial Valley Industry Tour is set for Jan. 19 and will be an all-day tour of California’s Imperial Valley, where 100,000 sheep pass through the county each year. In addition, stops on the tour will include Doc’s Organics – an organic citrus packing facility – and Planters Hay – a full-service, grower-owned compress facility marketing hay and straw.

Locally, the San Diego Harbor Cruise Tour (Jan. 20) and the San Diego Old Town Trolley Tour (Jan. 21) will offer participants a look at the wonders of San Diego. Aboard a modern yacht, participants on the Harbor Cruise will get an up-close look at Coronado Bridge, military ships, waterfront landmarks and marine life. The Old Town Trolley offers a fully narrated tour highlighting more than 100 San Diego attractions ranging from Old Town and Balboa Park to the San Diego Zoo.

An additional highlight in 2022 is the addition of two Secure Sheep and Wool Supply Plan workshops on Jan. 19. The two-hour workshop will be conducted at 1 and 3 p.m. and is limited to 30 participants at each session. Those interested in attending the free workshops should check the appropriate option when registering online.

Meeting alongside ASI in San Diego are: the American Lamb Board, American Goat Federation, ASI Women, Food and Fiber Risk Managers, Make It With Wool, National Lamb Feeders Association, National Livestock Producers Association, National Sheep Improvement Program, National Sheep Industry Improvement Center, Sheep Genetics USA, Sheep Heritage Foundation, Sheep Venture Company and Western Range Association.

As usual, the week will wrap up with the National Make It With Wool Banquet and Fashion Show on Jan. 22.

Make your plans now to join the American sheep industry in San Diego.

Click Here to register for the convention.

Click Here for hotel reservations.

 

ASI Research Update: Sheep Industry Environmental Footprint

This month’s ASI Research Update Podcast visits with Dr. Richard Ehrhardt and Dr. Erin Recktenwald of Michigan State University on Assessing the Environmental Footprint of Sheep Operations.

Working with the American Lamb Board, researchers at MSU are currently involved in an extensive study of the industry’s impact on the environment, focusing on greenhouse gas emissions. Dr. Ehrhardt and Dr. Recktenwald discuss their work and the processes involved in the study in this month’s podcast.

Click Here to listen to the podcast.

 

ALB Releases New Consumer Insights

A new survey shows lamb purchases continue to be dominated by a segment of heavy lamb users. The Lamb Consumer Survey was conducted by Midan Marketing, LLC, for the American Lamb Board to understand domestic consumers’ knowledge, perceptions and use of lamb.

“It’s critical that lamb checkoff programs are built upon consumer intelligence. As we move into our long-term planning process, this study will be very important,” said Gwen Kitzan, ALB chairman.

Respondents were from a nationally representative sample of people 18 to 76 years old, who at least share responsibility for grocery shopping and food preparation, and have eaten lamb in the past 12 months, either at home or in a restaurant. The survey was conducted online Aug. 25-30.

More than half of consumers surveyed – 52 percent – are aware of the source of their lamb, and 42 percent prefer to buy American lamb. A quarter of lamb consumers ate more lamb in the past year. Two consumer groups, which Midan Marketing identifies as “Protein Progressives” and “Family-First Food Lovers,” are key lamb consumers. These consumers, while different in many ways, tend to focus on quality and take pride in the meals they cook at home.

Flavor, quality, tenderness and freshness headline the positive perceptions of lamb. More than 75 percent of lamb consumers agree they eat meat because it tastes good; cooking from scratch lets them add personal touches; they look for a USDA label; and they love to cook meat.

A closer look was taken of just consumers who purchased lamb for at-home consumption in the past 12 months. Heavy purchasers – defined as those who buy lamb once a week or more – account for 26 percent. Moderate purchasers – eating lamb approximately twice a month to once every three months – make up 51 percent. Light purchasers – defined as people who buy lamb to cook at home a couple times a year or less and those who only purchase lamb at restaurants – are at 23 percent.

Heavy lamb purchasers skew toward being college-educated Millennials with families, living in urban areas and making more than $100,000 per year. They are much more likely to have eaten a wide variety of proteins during the past 12 months, including non-traditional meats. There is a strong correlation between eating lamb at home and ordering it in a restaurant, with heavy retail purchasers driving the latter, as well.

“Millennials have been a main target audience for ALB outreach,” said Kitzan.

Moderate purchasers are seeking to better understand lamb cuts and want more cooking guidance. This group cites social media as a popular source for new recipes. Approximately one-fourth of these consumers purchase due to habit, impulse or having a specific recipe that calls for lamb.

Heavy and moderate purchasers make lamb part of their dinner routine. Light purchasers tend to choose lamb for special occasions, underlining consumers’ association of lamb with cultural heritage, special occasions and flavor diversity.

Price remains the largest barrier for lamb purchases by moderate and light purchasers; yet about two out of three lamb consumers plan to buy lamb for their household in the next six months, a time frame that coincides with the fall/winter holidays.

To obtain a copy of the study, email Rae Villa at rae@americanlamb.com.

Source: ALB

 

USDA Grant to Fund Cornell Solar Grazing Study

A Cornell University researcher is partnering with farmers, solar companies and the American Solar Grazing Association to explore the economic benefits of a business cooperative or producer-owned organization that could provide coordination and logistical services for farmers grazing under solar arrays.

Todd Schmit, associate professor in the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management and faculty director of Cornell’s Cooperative Enterprise Program, is leading a three-year, $500,000 project, funded equally by Cornell and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“This idea complements the goals of reducing fossil fuel use in New York state and throughout the Northeast,” Schmit said. “There are literally thousands of acres going under new solar production, and I think increasing renewable energy production is a great thing, but it’s a little ironic if we’re promoting renewable energy production and then, because we need to control the vegetation, we’re going out there with mowers that are using fossil fuels or spraying it with pesticides that are killing the plants.”

ASGA’s Lexie Hain sees this as a boon for shepherds.

“The farm businesses that have gotten these solar grazing contracts have expanded rapidly; oftentimes, they enable farmers to access land and a key new revenue source at once,” she said. “Most farmers have to try to balance a lopsided income, where you’re paying bills year-round but maybe only earning income a few times a year. These checks from the solar companies are a stable source of revenue, and they really help.”

Hain said part of the challenge is coordinating between a few large multinational solar companies and many small farmers. Of the roughly 2,000 sheep farms currently operating in New York state, only 39 report having more than 300 sheep.

“Solar companies don’t want to have to deal with 1,000 separate farmers, and most farmers don’t want to deal with the legal documents and logistics involved in working with these companies,” Hain said.

Schmit believes this problem could be solved by helping farmers create a producer-owned business cooperative that could negotiate contracts and share transportation equipment. Beyond grazing, the project also will explore potential benefits of farmers collectively producing and marketing lamb, including sharing processing equipment and creating a value-added brand for marketing “sheep produced under solar arrays.”

Before business and financial planning research can begin, Schmit said he will be meeting and collaborating with farmers across the Northeast to share ideas and information. Northeast sheep producers interested in working with the grant-funded program should contact Roberta Severson at 607-255-1987 or rmh27@cornell.edu.

Source: Cornell University

 

Sheep-Milk Cheese Growing in Popularity

Demand is outpacing supply for sheep-milk cheese as more consumers nationwide experience its unique taste. Cheesemaker members of the Sheep Dairy Association of Wisconsin have done an excellent job of marketing those cheese products. Many of them provided samples of their success to sheep-producer members at a recent gathering at Ms. J and Co. near Monroe, Wis.

“Having the producers and processors together is a real plus,” said Dave Thomas, University of Wisconsin-Madison professor emeritus of sheep management and genetics.

The Sheep Dairy Association of Wisconsin was formed by sheep producers, cheesemakers and cheesemongers to keep Wisconsin the dairy-sheep industry’s leader. The association promotes the industry and provides educational outreach at numerous events including June Dairy Month breakfasts.

Carr Valley Cheese has been making sheep-milk-cheese products since 1998. Sheep milk’s increased butter fat, protein and yield make great-flavored cheeses, said Sid Cook, the family-owned company’s master cheesemaker.

“We’ve seen a growing number of people who find sheep-milk cheese easier to digest and that’s a growing segment of individuals purchasing those products,” he said. “It has a unique flavor that’s clean, sweet and slightly grassy.”

Click Here to read the full story.

Source: KMA Land

 

Prices Down This Week in Australian Market

The Australian wool market was unable to maintain its upward path following last week’s strong gains, recording losses across all sectors in this series. The rises felt in the previous series encouraged more sellers to the market, pushing the offering higher – there were 42,117 bales available to the trade.

Toward the end of the final selling day last week, there was a noticeable softening in buyer sentiment. As a result, the market was only barely maintaining the prices on offer. This softer tone carried into this week and, from the outset, the prices on offer were well below those achieved at the previous sale. The largest falls were recorded on the opening day of selling.

By the end of the first day, the individual Micron Price Guides for Merino fleece across the country had dropped by between 12 and 76 cents. These falls – combined with losses in all other sectors – pushed the AWEX Eastern Market Indicator down by 29 cents for the day. The second day of selling, the market behaved differently within the three centers.

In Sydney, the market generally recorded minimal losses. The Northern MPGs ranged between +5 and -13 cents. In Melbourne, the finer microns lost further ground as the Southern MPGs for 19 micron and finer dropped another 11 to 55 cents, while 19.5 micron and coarser gained between 4 and 8 cents. Selling last, Fremantle had positive movements across the board. The Western MPGs added between 1 and 6 cents for the day. The EMI lost a further 7 cents, losing a total of 36 cents for the series to close the week at 1,333 Australian cents.

Next week’s national offering reduces slightly – due in part to the softer market – as 40,276 bales are currently expected to be offered in Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle.

Source: AWEX

 

Expansion Brings New Jobs to American Manufacturer

Luxury clothing company Hickey Freeman announced this week that it is adding 100 new jobs to its Rochester, N.Y., factory immediately as part of an aggressive expansion.

Stephen Granovsky, the company’s chief executive officer, said a dozen or so people have already been hired. Most of those jobs required experience in tailoring and machine operating, but he added that the fine clothier expects to hire and train new workers as well.

This growth, Granovsky said, is in anticipation of several new lines of business.

“We’ve actually signed contracts with three or four different brands, one large brand in particular who are going to move their brands from their current factory to our factory,” Granovsky said.

Founded in 1899, Hickey Freeman is a manufacturer of suits for men and boys and a heavy user of wool and wool blend fabrics.

Click Here to learn more about the company.

Click Here for the full story.

Source: CITY News

 

NIFA Grants Assist Beginning Farmers, Ranchers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture announced this week an investment of more than $50 million to 140 organizations and institutions that teach and train beginning farmers and ranchers.

“Strengthening and growing the pipeline of the next generation of farmers and ranchers is vital to the continued success of American agriculture,” said NIFA Director Dr. Carrie Castille. “We recognize that beginning farmers and ranchers have unique needs for education, training, and technical assistance. Their success, especially in the first 10 years, often hinges on access to reliable, science-based information and the latest educational resources so they can improve their operations’ profitability and sustainability long-term.”

In fiscal year 2020, NIFA awarded $16,783,829 in Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program grants. In fiscal year 2021, thanks to enhanced funding from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, the total award investment for this program was $50,026,684, which included 85 newly funded grants and 55 continuation projects.

Source: USDA

 

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