Sept. 13 ASI Weekly
Webinar to Discuss Leading Edge Project
The next in a series of webinars sponsored by the American Sheep Industry Association’s Let’s Grow Program will take a look at results from the Leading Edge project in Utah. The webinar is set for Tuesday, Sept. 24, at 8 p.m. eastern time.
In 2015, the Leading Edge Sheep Production Group conducted a trial in conjunction with Mickel Brothers Sheep Company in Spring City, Utah. Two groups of commercial white-faced ewes were bred to black-faced terminal sire rams drawn from either the National Sheep Improvement Program or industry flocks. The NSIP rams were chosen based on their Estimated Breeding Values – a measure of their genetic merit – for growth (weight at weaning). The ewes were then managed as a single mob. At weaning, the offspring of the NSIP rams weighed on average 3 lbs. more than those from industry rams. That difference coincided with an increased market value of $4.32 per lamb. Clearly, that result was promising and supported the notion that genetic selection works in practice and is profitable.
The Leading Edge Group was keen to do more. Building on this earlier study, a larger effort was undertaken. It had three aims. First, as before, black-faced terminal sire rams from industry and NSIP were compared. This time, however, two categories of NSIP rams were used: rams with high EBVs for post-weaning weight, and rams with high EBVs for post-weaning muscle depth. Second, the progeny of these three groups of rams were evaluated from birth all the way through harvest. Third, DNA technologies were incorporated into the study; they were used to assign sire parentage. Once again, the Mickel Brothers Sheep Company collaborated and provided 1,100 commercial white-faced ewes for breeding to the 42 black-faced terminal sire rams tested.
In this webinar, results of the project will be highlighted. The key question to be addressed is did the progeny of the NSIP rams perform as anticipated based on their sires’ EBVs? Was that reflected in their weights at weaning and at harvest? Did it impact the quality of their carcasses? How did the progeny of the NSIP rams compare with the industry rams? As hint to the answers, genetic selection does indeed pay.
Let’s Grow Program funding supported much of the Leading Edge Group’s work on this project. Ron Lewis, Ph.D., of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln will present Highlights from the Leading Edge Project, while Jay Parsons, Ph.D., will host the webinar.
EPA, U.S. Army Repeal 2015 Waters of the U.S. Rule
At an event in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler and Department of the Army Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works R.D. James announced that the agencies are repealing a 2015 rule that impermissibly expanded the definition of “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act.
The agencies are also recodifying the longstanding and familiar regulatory text that existed prior to the 2015 Rule – ending a regulatory patchwork that required implementing two competing Clean Water Act regulations, which has created regulatory uncertainty across the United States.
“Today, EPA and the Department of the Army finalized a rule to repeal the previous administration’s overreach in the federal regulation of U.S. waters and recodify the longstanding and familiar regulatory text that previously existed,” said Wheeler. “Today’s Step 1 action fulfills a key promise of President Trump and sets the stage for Step 2 – a new WOTUS definition that will provide greater regulatory certainty for farmers, landowners, home builders and developers nationwide.”
“Today, Administrator Wheeler and I signed a final rule that repeals the 2015 Rule and restores the previous regulatory regime exactly how it existed prior to finalization of the 2015 Rule,” said James. “Before this final rule, a patchwork of regulations existed across the country as a result of various judicial decisions enjoining the 2015 Rule. This final rule reestablishes national consistency across the country by returning all jurisdictions to the longstanding regulatory framework that existed prior to the 2015 Rule, which is more familiar to the agencies, states, tribes, local governments, regulated entities, and the public while the agencies engage in a second rulemaking to revise the definition of ‘waters of the United States.’”
This is the first step in a two-step rulemaking process to define the scope of “waters of the United States” that are regulated under the Clean Water Act. Step 1 provides regulatory certainty as to the definition of “waters of the United States” following years of litigation surrounding the 2015 Rule. The two federal district courts that have reviewed the merits of the 2015 Rule found that the rule suffered from certain errors and issued orders remanding the 2015 Rule back to the agencies. Multiple other federal district courts have preliminarily enjoined the 2015 Rule pending a decision on the merits of the rule. In this action, EPA and the Army jointly conclude that multiple substantive and procedural errors warrant a repeal of the 2015 Rule.
With this final repeal, the agencies will implement the pre-2015 regulations, which are currently in place in more than half of the states, informed by applicable agency guidance documents and consistent with Supreme Court decisions and longstanding agency practice. The final rule takes effect 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.
“ASI greatly appreciates President Trump and EPA Administrator Wheeler’s dedication to working with stakeholders to develop Clean Water Act guidance,” said American Sheep Industry Association President Benny Cox of Texas. “America’s sheep producers are strong advocates for clean water and the responsible use of our natural resources. We look forward to working with EPA to help craft a rule that will enhance those resources while recognizing and protecting the rights of landowners and states.”
APHIS Begins Process to Create Vaccine Bank
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is announcing the availability of a sources sought notice which will be posted for 30 days to gather information from interested vaccine manufacturers on their ability to supply foot-and-mouth disease vaccine.
This is not a solicitation. Information gathered through the sources sought notice will be used to develop a forward-looking acquisition strategy leading to one or more requests for proposals for an increased supply of FMD vaccine for a U.S-only vaccine bank.
For the first time, the 2018 Farm Bill included funding that directly supports animal disease prevention and preparedness, including the creation of a vaccine bank for livestock diseases. This bank, known as the National Animal Vaccine and Veterinary Countermeasures Bank will allow the United States to increase its ability to stockpile veterinary countermeasures. The first priority of the NAVVCB is to acquire and maintain FMD vaccine. FMD presents a grave threat to the U.S. livestock industry; even a small outbreak would result in devastating economic and animal health consequences.
The American Sheep Industry Association joined other livestock groups in requesting that a vaccine bank be a part of the 2018 Farm Bill. ASI is pleased to see that this crucial element of the Farm Bill is beginning to take shape.
The NAVVCB is distinct from the existing North American Foot and Mouth Disease Vaccine Bank which is a trilateral partnership between the United States Department of Agriculture, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and the Mexican Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food. The NAVVCB is entirely focused on U.S. domestic preparedness and is a distinct entity. The United States will continue to participate in the North American Foot and Mouth Disease Vaccine Bank and engage in cross-border cooperation for foreign animal disease outbreaks.
Australian Wool Market Posts Record Increases
After showing signs of improvement on the final day of the previous week’s sale, the Australian wool market turned around in stunning fashion, breaking a host of records along the way. From the opening hammer of the first selling day this week, it was apparent that buyer confidence had returned.
With that confidence came strong, spirited bidding from all major players resulting in large price increases. Prices rose steadily as the sale progressed and exporters fought hard to secure market share. Main buyer focus was on the broader microns, which pushed the individual Micron Price Guides for 19.0 micron and coarser up by 160 to 200 Australian cents.
As Fremantle did not sell on Thursday last week, the region did not experience the price rises that the Eastern centers enjoyed on that day. As a result, the Western region posted the largest gains of the day at 176 to 235 cents. The Western Market Indicator rose by 198 cents – the largest increase since AWEX records began (1995). The Southern and Northern regions also posted record increases – 132 cents and 126 cents, respectively.
On the back of these record gains, the AWEX Eastern Market Indicator added 130 cents for the day, again the largest daily increase in history. On the second selling day only Melbourne and Fremantle were in operation, as Sydney had a one-day sale. The reduced offering again came under intense buyer demand and again prices continued to rise. The MPGs rose by another 40 to 100 cents, pushing the EMI up a further 40 cents.
The EMI closed the week at 1,535 Australian cents, an overall increase of 170 cents. This was the highest weekly increase in the EMI on record. As expected, the large price increases have enticed sellers back to the market. Next week’s offering has increased to 31,107 bales, with all three centers in operation.
- PRODUCER EDUCATION