Registration Open for ASI Annual Convention
For the first time in nearly 30 years, the American Sheep Industry Association’s Annual Convention returns to North Texas as the Omni Fort Worth Hotel will play host to the yearly event on Jan. 18-21, 2023.
Registration is now open and early bird rates apply through Dec. 16. All online registrations must be completed by Dec. 30. Any registrations after that date will have to be done onsite in Fort Worth. The Omni Fort Worth Hotel is offering a discounted rate for convention attendees, but reservations must be made by Dec. 30 to assure attendees receive that rate.
The ASI Annual Convention is the one time each year when all facets of the American sheep industry come together to discuss topics that are timely and important to sheep and wool producers, as well as those working in the meat, wool and sheepskin sides of the industry.
“Our industry has key market and supply topics for both lamb and wool that will be addressed at the 2023 Annual Convention, and we encourage you to be there and participate in those discussions,” said ASI Executive Director Peter Orwick.
ASI is excited to hear from convention keynote speaker Dr. Kim Stackhouse-Lawson on Jan. 19. She is director of Colorado State University’s AgNext program – a research collaborative designed to work with members of the entire livestock value chain to produce solutions to move the industry toward a sustainable future. With the support of its partner Industry Innovation Group, AgNext works to address the urgent needs of producers and food systems through the lens of animal agriculture to ensure a safe and nutritious food supply.
Also on the schedule is magician and mentalist Grant Price, who will entertain and enthrall the audience during lunch on Jan. 21. Much like the interactive hypnotist show that left attendees laughing all afternoon at the 2022 convention, Price performs in a way that makes the audience feel known and cared about. As a result, his shows always bear a unique signature – which he calls responsive entertainment – giving the audience a show they will love by making them part of the action.
Three tours will be offered during the convention:
- The annual industry tour on Jan. 18 will take participants to the cutting horse training barn of J.D. Garrett – the 1999 Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association’s bareback riding rookie of the year and a former National Finals Rodeo qualifier in the event – in Weatherford, Texas. Afterward, participants will stop for lunch at Joe T. Garcia’s – a legendary Fort Worth restaurant that has been serving the area since 1935.
- A city tour is on the schedule for Jan. 19. Tour participants will see the sights of Fort Worth with a local expert before stopping at the National Cowgirl Museum to celebrate the lives of women who exemplified the courage, resilience and independence that helped shape the American West.
- The final tour includes a look at the historic Fort Worth Stockyards, as well as stops at the John Wayne Museum and Leddy’s Boots. The Wild West will come alive at the stockyards as a tour guide walks participants through an exciting history and the role Fort Worth played in it. Tip your hat to “The Duke” at the John Wayne Museum and then check out the handcrafted boots and saddles at Leddy’s.
Convention attendees are encouraged to register for tours early as participation is limited and spots will fill up quickly. The Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo will also be going on during ASI’s time in the city.
Meetings of ASI’s councils and committees are open to all convention attendees. And once again in 2023, the Genetic Stakeholders Committee is joining with the National Sheep Improvement Program and Sheep Genetics USA to host a genetics forum that promises to be educational regardless of your role in the industry. A full schedule of events is available on the registration website.
Meeting alongside ASI at the convention are the American Lamb Board, American Goat Federation, ASI Women, American Shearers Council, 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.
Reps. Request Section 32 Lamb Purchase
Nearly a dozen members of the U.S. House of Representatives from six Western states signed on to a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture this week requesting a Section 32 purchase of lamb to support the struggling American sheep industry. The move follows a similar request from the U.S. Senate in September.
“We write to urge the Department to make a Section 32 purchase to address ongoing market challenges facing the domestic lamb industry,” read the letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. “During the pandemic, American farmers, ranchers and families endured severe price volatility at the supermarket. Labor shortages at meatpacking and processing facilities, combined with supply chain issues, limits the availability of beef, pork and chicken. In response, American sheep farmers and ranchers helped close the shortfall by increasing their lamb herds, and demand for lamb increased alongside it. Now that market conditions have largely returned to pre-pandemic levels, demand for beef, pork and chicken has rebounded. As a result, domestic lamb supply now outstrips demand, leaving lamb prices stagnant and lamb feeders struggling to find outlets for their maturing surplus.
“As you know, Section 32 of the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1935 authorizes USDA to support the prices of commodities in surplus through market purchases and domestic distribution. We respectfully request that USDA use its Section 32 authority to make immediate purchases of this year’s maturing lamb crop. This will provide farmers and ranchers the short term stability to sustain the family farm as they work to realign production with current demand. In addition to a Section 32 purchase of lamb, we support improvements to USDA’s reporting structure and requirements for the lamb marketplace to increase price transparency and stability. We hope USDA will work closely with industry members on long-term solutions to support domestic lamb producers and feeders.”
The letter was signed by Reps. Jason Crow and Doug Lamborn (Colo.), Kelly Armstrong (N.D.), John Curtis, Blake Moore, Burgess Owens and Chris Stewart (Utah), Michael Simpson (Idaho), Liz Cheney (Wyo.), Jim Costa and Jimmy Panetta (Calif.).
Wool LDP Available to Producers
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Marketing Assistance Loan and Loan Deficiency Payment programs could provide welcome assistance for wool producers.
Currently, the program offers a 40-cent LDP (per pound grease) for ungraded wool. This has been the going rate for the past two years for ungraded wools, as graded wools have varied from week to week. This week, LDP payments are available for the following micron ranges:
- 19.6 to 20.5 microns: 3 cents per pound clean;
- 20.6 to 22 microns: 33 cents per pound clean;
- 22.1 to 23.5 microns: 48 cents per pound clean;
- 23.6 to 25.9 microns: 95 cents per pound clean;
- 26 to 28.9 microns: 1 cent per pound clean.
Current rates are posted on the American Sheep Industry Association website each Tuesday afternoon. Producers with questions about the Wool LDP Program can contact their local Farm Service Agency office.
Click Here for more details and current rates.
Slide Continues for Australian Wool Market
The Australian wool market lost further ground this week. Although the national offering did not reach the more than 40,000 bales expected, there were still 7,898 more bales than was on offer the previous week with a total of 36,042 bales available to the trade.
The finer Merino fleece types again recorded the largest falls. The individual Micron Price Guides for 18.5 micron and finer dropped by between 34 and 73 cents. These losses combined with general overall losses in the medium/broad Merino types, crossbreds, skirtings and oddments resulted in a 20-cent fall in the AWEX Eastern Market Indicator. The EMI closed the series at 1,235 Australian cents – a drop of 1.6 percent. The EMI has stretched its run of weeks without an increase to 12 and has lost 239 cents during this period – a 16.1-percent reduction. The EMI has still not managed an increase this season.
In an inverse pattern to the previous week, a strengthening of the Australian dollar compared to the U.S. – the AUD gained 0.62 cents compared to last week – meant the loss in USD terms was lower. The EMI lost just 5 U.S. cents for the series – a reduction of 0.6 percent.
The 28 and 30 micron crossbreds continued their steady decline. This is best highlighted by viewing the MPGs in the South, where the 30 micron MPG recorded no change and sits again at its lowest point on record (297 cents), while the 28 micron MPG lost another 14 cents, dropping to 338 cents. This is only 6 cents higher than its record low of 332 cents, which occurred way back in October 1999. The 28 micron MPG is now 985 cents lower than the record high it reached in May 2019 – a drop of 74.4 percent.
Quantities for next week will reduce slightly. Currently, there are expected to be 35,881 bales on offer in Fremantle, Melbourne and Sydney.
Click Here for the Full Australian Wool Market Report.
USMARC Releases Sheep Trails Newsletter
The U.S. Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center, Neb., released the latest version of its Sheep Trails StoryMap this week to highlight and share research on solutions to challenges the American sheep industry faces with sheep producers, researchers and the public.
“As we transition into a post-pandemic new normal here at USMARC, we are returning to some of our critical program priorities and interactions with industry stakeholders,” wrote USMARC Director Mark Boggess. “For example, we have updated our stakeholder advisory group to increase the producer diversity and input. We are also returning to our Blue-Ribbon Panel work for animal management, animal care and wellbeing, and overall husbandry program management. We are excited to re-engage with our great industry supporters.
“We had a great visit from our NC-214 colleagues at USMARC for their annual meeting in June. This is a critically important group of sheep industry experts, and their work is imperative to the future success of the industry. This meeting is always valuable to USMARC, as we strive to provide industry solutions and build highly effective research collaborations.
“Since our last stakeholder update, we have had two clean and proactive inspections from the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. The overall health, productivity and management of the USMARC flocks continues to be excellent, but we are always looking for opportunities to grow and improve. Our APHIS colleagues are complementary, and we appreciate their assistance in our efforts to continue to improve our programs.
“Lambing at USMARC starting in 2021 now includes a fall flock and a corresponding increase in ewe numbers. Consequently, the sheep crew is lambing in March through May and again in September and October. We are able to provide care for all of the ewes by splitting them into the two groups. This also better facilitates research needs.
“Many thanks to our research partners in Booneville, Arkansas, and DuBois, Idaho. Our collaborations with these sister locations promise to produce a tremendous benefit to the sheep industry. These partnerships also served to inform our new ARS five-year research programs, which we have completed and are now being implemented. See an overview of our new plan in this update.”
Click Here to access the full newsletter.
Digital Suffolk Registry Goes Live
The Digital Suffolk registry program is now active, and the first of its kind program provides real-time access and offers additional value-added benefits for members of the United Suffolk Sheep Association.
Benefits include: recording and tracking performance data; a virtual marketplace; a real-time searchable database with the ability to upload photos; tracking system for semen sales and breeding certificates; data submission to NSIP for those who want it; and a true on-line data entry system that can dramatically reduce the turn-around time for registry work. Electronic registration papers could be available as soon as payment is submitted. According to USSA, no other sheep breed association offers a state-of-the-art registry software program with these advanced capabilities.
Through Digital Suffolk, members are able to register, transfer and manage their Suffolk flock as registrations are available immediately and electronically to print or download. In addition to registry features, the program provides progeny reports, a marketplace, pedigree research, the ability to record performance data, and submit and receive National Sheep Improvement Program data (coming soon). Suffolk breeders are invited to use the new Digital Suffolk registry program but must contact the USSA office by email (email@example.com) for a login.
Pedigree research through Digital Suffolk is open to anyone, however, only members are able to login and access all the program features.
Through Digital Suffolk, members have the ability to print their registration papers. The USSA deems a paper printed by a member or provided electronically as an official registration certificate. Authenticity can be verified by scanning the QR code on the registration paper. Scanning the QR code directs the viewer to the animal’s registration information, in real time, through the Digital Suffolk registration system.
Click Here to learn more and access training tools.
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.
Continuing Resolution Passes:
Last week, Congress avoided a government shutdown by passing a continuing resolution before the Sept. 30 deadline. The bill funds the government at Fiscal Year 2022 levels and extends authorizations for programs including the National Flood Insurance Program, Food and Drug Administration user fees, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. It also provides supplemental funding, including $12.3 billion for Ukraine, more than $20 billion for natural disaster recovery, $1 billion for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, and $20 million for Army Corps water and wastewater infrastructure improvements.
The continuing resolution expires on December 16.
SCOTUS Wrestles with Adjacency in Sackett v. EPA:
The Supreme Court had difficult questions for both sides in the widely watched case involving an Idaho couple, their land and the Environment Protection Agency. Chantell and Michael Sackett were prevented from building a home on their land due to the existence of wetlands that the EPA deemed to be too close in proximity to “navigable waters.”
This meant that the project would be under the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act and would require an expensive permit. The Sacketts have been arguing for the adoption of a narrower reading of the CWA, one similar to the one proposed by the late Justice Antonin Scalia in Rapanos v. United States.
The Sacketts and their lawyers have suggested a test that would require a continuous surface water connection between wetlands and entities considered waters under the law – such as a lakes, rivers or streams. Their lawyer argued this test could ensure waters are regulated only to the extent that it blends into an abutting water and therefore becomes indistinguishable.
Acting Solicitor General Brian Fletcher – arguing for the EPA – said distance between wetlands and navigable waters is not fully sufficient to determine if the wetland is jurisdictional under the Act. Fletcher also noted that a similar test to the Sacketts was debated but not adopted by Congress when it amended the CWA in 1977. The EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers are expected to issue a rule next year to codify the definition of waters of the U.S., which would clarify the CWA, however this case, might throw a wrench into those plans.
Department of Labor Reinforces H-2A Regulations:
The Department of Labor has issued updated regulations for hiring H-2A workers that strengthens standards for housing and meals. The new rule states that housing and public accommodations must meet health and safety standards, including minimum square footage per employee. Meals also must be provided in a sanitary manner and with adequate nutritional value.
The DOL reiterated that agricultural associations can be held liable for rule violations by individual farmers. The new rule also expands the ways that local wages are determined by requiring farms to offer prevailing wages for jobs they wish to fill with H-2A workers.
The new regulation will take effect Nov. 14.
Source: Cornerstone Government Affairs
American Lamb Featured at Colorado Events
With the opportunity to convey the connection from farm to fork and engage with local chefs and consumers, the American Lamb Board sponsored the annual Steamboat Food and Wine Festival in Colorado last weekend.
The Steamboat Food and Wine Festival works to promote local ingredients and the stories behind each ingredient. ALB’s sponsorship included participation at the Grand Tasting and a Whole Lamb Dinner. During the Grand Tasting, ALB distributed branded grocery bags and shared recipes, cooking tips and information about where to buy American lamb.
The lamb sampling at the Grand Tasting and the multi-course lamb dinner were prepared by Blackbelly Boulder’s Executive Chef, Hosea Rosenberg. The sampling and dinner featured local American lamb and seasonal ingredients. Prior to the dinner, Kelly Kawachi, head butcher at Blackbelly, demonstrated whole lamb butchery. Throughout her demonstration, she discussed cut versatility while Nick Maneotis of High Country Lamb, talked about his sheep operation in the area.
“Participating in these food-focused events helps ALB showcase both the creativity of trend-setting chefs and the versatility of American lamb,” said ALB Chairman Peter Camino of Buffalo, Wyo.
Like the Steamboat Food and Wine Festival, ALB’s partnership with EatDenver’s Harvest Week this week aims to share new ways to add American lamb to the dinner plate while advocating for local producers.
Harvest Week is a culinary collaboration with a series of five-course meals prepared with fresh food from the local community. Three dishes during the three-night event featured American lamb, including: Chef Tajahi Cooke of Freedom Street Social prepared American Lamb Saffron Smoked Kofta with Garlic Herb Flatbread. Chef Ty Leon of Restaurant Olivia prepared White Sonora Tagliatelle Bolognese and Chef Jeremy Wolgamott of Bistro Vendome prepared Grilled Lamb Shoulder with Turnip and White Bean Ragout, Pistou, and Aioli.
Proceeds from the event go toward EatDenver’s efforts to support independent restaurants and GrowHaus, a local non-profit working to alleviate food insecurity through fresh food distribution and education.
- PRODUCER EDUCATION