Great Lakes Lamb Achieves AWA Certification
Michigan’s Great Lakes Lamb recently became the third domestic sheep operation – and first from East of the Mississippi River – to reach Level III: Certified status through the American Sheep Industry Association’s American Wool Assurance program.
“I learned about the AWA program at the 2022 ASI Annual Convention,” said Elaine Palm, who operates Great Lakes Lamb with her husband, Rick, and parents, Jim and Sherrie Bristol. “We didn’t really have to make any changes to what we do on a daily basis, getting certified just helped us put some language behind what we do and why we do it.”
Palm said researching the program and then starting the certification process was one way in which she could contribute to the family operation during her pregnancy in 2022. She tackled AWA Level I: Educated by completing two online courses in half a day, then set about working on the farm’s operating plan in the summer of 2022 as part of Level II: Process Verified. Reaching Level II certification required an independent evaluation, which was done by an ASI-trained evaluator. AWA evaluators are located throughout the United States and are often university or extension personnel who understand the daily workings of a livestock operation.
“We used a person who we were familiar with through the Michigan Sheep Producers Association, so the process was very comfortable,” Palm said.
Level III certification requires a third-party audit using CloverLeaf Animal Welfare Systems, who was selected by ASI as the official auditor of the AWA program.
“It was really easy to get that scheduled,” Palm said, “and the process of the audit was really smooth and conversational. I’m glad we went through the whole process and got certified. Now, we’ll just have to see where it goes from here and how the program evolves.”
Palm said she was hoping the certification would provide two benefits: a premium for the family’s wool and the opening of additional markets that aren’t available to non-certified producers.
“I’d definitely like to get a list of buyers who are looking for certified wool,” she said.
ASI Wool Production Programs Manager Heather Pearce is working with producers in the AWA program and can answer any questions about the process. Contact her at email@example.com.
Shearing School Hosts Should Contact ASI
Planning to host a shearing school in the coming months? The American Sheep Industry Association wants to know about it so your school can be included in all association calendars (ASI Weekly, Sheep Industry News and ASI website).
ASI also offers shearing manuals, posters and videos for shearing school students, which can be purchased at SheepUSA.org/shop or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are the schools that have notified ASI so far this year:
- Ohio State University Statewide Shearing School, Sept. 22-23 in Hebron, Ohio. Visit az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_cC5tH6lze6fh66i for more information.
- South Dakota State University Shearing School, Oct. 7-9 in Brookings, S.D. Visit sdstate.edu/event/sdsu-sheep-shearing-school for more information.
- Montana Wool Harvesting School, Oct. 12-15 in Billings and Molt, Mont. Visit montana.edu/sheep/woolharvesting.html for more information.
- Advanced Shearing School, Oct. 13-15 in Dublin, Va. Contact Tom Stanley at 540-588-0241 or email@example.com.
ASI Board Approves Budget
The American Sheep Industry Association Board of Directors recently approved the association’s budgets and membership rates for fiscal year 2023-24. Voting was conducted online after preliminary approval of both the Wool Trust and Fund II budgets by the ASI Executive Board at its summer meeting in Idaho.
Australian Market Ends Recent Slide
The Australian wool market recorded an overall positive result in this series, the first weekly rise since Week 2 (July 12) of the season. Fremantle returned to the roster this week after not holding a sale in the previous selling series and pushed the national offering to 44,690 bales – 5,916 more than the previous week.
When selling opened in Sydney and Melbourne, the market was buoyant, with a positive trend evident. Strong buyer interest in the good/best style Merino fleece types helped push the market upward. This was reflected in the individual Micron Price Guides for Merino fleece in the East, which rose by between 5 and 21 cents for the day. A 6-cent fall in the Southern 17-micron MPG and an unchanged 18.5-micron MPG in the North were the only anomalies.
Small positive movements in the other sectors resulted in a 9-cent increase in the AWEX Eastern Market Indicator for the day. This was the first daily rise in the EMI in seven selling days as the EMI last rose on the July 11, where a 17-cent rise was recorded.
Because the Western region did not suffer the falls recorded in the East last week, those falls were quickly realized when selling opened in Fremantle. In stark contrast to the positive movements in the Eastern centers, the Western Merino fleece MPGs lost between 26 and 64 cents for the day, while the Western Indicator dropped 38 cents.
In the Eastern centers on the second day, the market could not maintain its upward path and by the end of the day the Merino fleece types had given back much of the first day’s gains. The EMI dropped 5 cents for the day. The EMI closed the week 4 cents higher at 1,131 Australian cents.
Next week’s offering is of a similar size as 45,537 bales are expected to be offered nationally.
Click Here for Australian Wool Report Prices in USc Per Pound.
SE Sheep Production Workshop Announced
New to raising American lamb or thinking about adding sheep to your farming operation in the Southeastern United States? The American Lamb Board has partnered with the University of Kentucky Department of Animal and Food Sciences to offer the first in a series of workshops to educate new or aspiring producers, Sheep Production Systems for the Southeastern U.S., at the University of Kentucky-Lexington on Oct. 16-17.
“There is a real opportunity right now for the American lamb industry to grow, and this workshop is designed to inspire those who might be new to raising sheep or are thinking about getting sheep,” says ALB Chair Peter Camino of Buffalo, Wyo. “The ALB is increasing its efforts to establish consistent, year-round supply of American lamb to meet consumer demand and lessen the need for imported products.”
Attendees will learn about best sheep production practices and tools to maximize productivity and profits. Additional topics include genetics, reproduction, nutrition, health management, facilities, equipment, profitable grazing systems and marketing opportunities, and more. Participants will also tour the University of Kentucky Sheep Unit.
The University of Kentucky Good Barn will be the workshop venue. Registration closes Sept. 16, limited to the first 50, and there is a $100 registration fee. A room block is reserved at the Holiday Inn Express Lexington (Downtown/University) for $129 per night. Call 859-389-6800 and reference ALC to get the event discount rate. Click Here to make reservations online, also using discount code ALC.
Hoosier Sheep Symposium Set for Sept. 23
Purdue Agriculture’s Indiana Sheep and Wool Market Development Council and the Indiana Sheep Association are jointly sponsoring the annual Hoosier Sheep Symposium on Sept. 23 at Franklin College. Sheep health and agrivoltaics will be among the topics explored by speakers at the event.
“We are very excited about the program we have put together for this year’s symposium,” said ISA President Jane Smith. “It is a great mix of pertinent topics impacting the Indiana sheep industry. I hope you can join us.”
Symposium sessions include:
- Developing Vet-Client Relationship – Bret Marsh, Indiana state veterinarian.
- Solar Grazing Research Project Report – Franklin College research team.
- What To Know About the Cache Valley Virus – Cheryl Miller, Indiana State Board of Animal Health.
- Solar Farm Grazing Contract Options – Brianna Schroeder, Indiana Farm Bureau legal team representative.
Morning sessions – including breakfast pastries and coffee – will take place in the Custer Theater in Old Main, 101 Branigan Boulevard, on the Franklin College campus. Registration begins at 9 a.m. and a welcome message from Smith will begin at 9:45 a.m.
Registration for the event can be found on the ISA website, www.indianasheep.com. Lunch – included in the $30 registration fee – will be in the Napolitan Student Center in the Branigin Room, where afternoon sessions will also take place.
Source: Purdue University
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.
EPA Releases Revised WOTUS Rule
On Tuesday, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a final rule to amend the definition of waters of the United States, which was originally published in the Federal Register on Jan. 18, 2023.
EPA and USACE were directed to update the WOTUS definition to conform to the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in the case of Sackett v. EPA. The new definition eliminates the “significant nexus” test, which had allowed streams and wetlands adjacent to larger bodies of water to be covered by Clean Water Act protections. It also clarifies that wetlands must have a continuous surface connection to navigable waters to be protected under the Clean Water Act. The new rule revises the standard EPA and USACE released in January. This amended rule will become effective upon its publication in the Federal Register.
Click Here for more information on the new final rule.
Purina Offers $5,000 Scholarships
Purina Animal Nutrition – along with the Land O’Lakes Foundation – announced recently its new scholarship program designed to assist students involved in agriculture and livestock production in pursuing their passions and furthering their educations.
Current undergraduate students who have experience raising and caring for small or large livestock, equine and/or poultry, are eligible to apply for four $5,000 scholarships. Along with the impact animal agriculture has had on their lives, desired applicants will be able to demonstrate academic excellence, leadership skills and community involvement, and have a clear vision for their future.
Scholarship applications will be accepted through Oct. 12. Awardees will receive their scholarship funds for the Spring 2024 semester at their current educational institution. The scholarship is open to all undergraduate students enrolled in an accredited two- or four-year college, university or vocational-technical school.
Click Here to learn more about the Feed Greatness Scholarship.
Source: Purina Animal Nutrition