Video Highlights Public Lands Ranching Stewardship
At its recent annual meeting, the Public Lands Council debuted a cooperative video project in partnership with the American Sheep Industry Association and the National Grazing Lands Coalition. The first in a series called Range Reels, the video will serve to promote the many benefits provided by ranchers and educate viewers on the generations of work that goes into successful stewardship of our nation’s public lands.
The first Range Reels event in Cody, Wyo., unveiled a video focused on Wyoming rancher and sheep producer Shaun Sims, and the Sims family’s long history of careful cultivation and protection of landscapes. The Sims’ multi-generational commitment to sustainability and family values provided a unique and intimate look into the motivations of public lands ranchers.
Ranchers such as Sims operate on some of the 640 million acres of public lands across the western United States. Their operations rely on access to specific areas – called grazing allotments – that have been identified as suitable for managed livestock grazing. After undergoing careful environmental analysis, sheep and cattle graze these lands for short, defined portions of the year. While the availability of grass – or forage – is a key motivation for grazing on Western lands, there are also a wide variety of ecosystem services that ranchers and ruminant animals provide to rangelands. The work ranchers do each day supports the biodiversity, wildlife habitat, soil health, clean and accessible water, and other features of the land that the American public loves and enjoys through recreation. Ranching is a 360-degree industry, with economic, environmental and social considerations.
The smoke currently blanketing many states in the West only underscores the importance of livestock grazing. Public lands ranchers play an important role in reducing the risk of catastrophic fires. When sheep and cattle graze, they reduce the volume of annual grasses. Unlike perennials, annual grasses have short lives and can quickly become dangerous fuel for wildfires that burn hotter and longer. Sheep and cattle grazing can target species that threaten native grasses, helping to restore balance to the ecosystem. Ranchers’ investments in the grazing allotments – called range improvements – provide water, shelter and important respite for wildlife across the range, too.
Sims’ silver screen debut shone an important spotlight on the reality of public lands ranching: generations of people such as Shaun Sims and so many others have made their lives in harsh landscapes that were once deemed too undesirable to settle on. Through careful cultivation by ranchers, America’s public lands are now some of the most attractive destinations in the world for wildlife enthusiasts, photographers, bikers, backpackers, climbers, hikers, anglers and hunters. It is because ranchers have been so intentional about stewarding these landscapes that the American public can enjoy the West as it should be: open, healthy and sustainable for future generations.
“The long history of ranching on federal lands across the West is a cornerstone of the culture and traditions that families like Shaun’s honor every day,” said PLC President Mark Roeber. “These lands are where history and tradition meet contemporary economic and societal demands. Ranchers like Shaun and his family make it possible for these landscapes to serve the needs of nature and people, balanced carefully for a long and healthy future.”
“The American Sheep Industry Association is proud of the Sims family ranch and their leadership in the sheep industry,” said ASI President Susan Shultz. “We greatly appreciate them sharing their story with America. Care of the land, the livestock and the wildlife habitat is very evident.”
“Ranchers like Shaun Sims are prime examples of the necessary management of our public lands for the greater benefits to wildlife and society,” said NatGLC Chair Rob Cook. “The NatGLC is proud to partner with the Public Lands Council and the American Sheep Industry to tell the land stewards’ story.”
Click Here to watch the video.
ASI Looking to Hire Communications Assistant
The American Sheep Industry Association is seeking a creative and self-motivated communications assistant to join our team. In this role, you will assist with the internal and external communication for our association. You will be responsible for writing stories for the monthly publication and weekly newsletter, assisting in graphic design of publications and managing our social media strategy to increase our online presence.
Candidates for this full-time, in-office position in Englewood, Colo., should possess strong multimedia skills, have the ability to manage social media and website content, and possess graphic design skills. They should be familiar with Adobe Creative Suite and Microsoft Office products. Requirements for the position include a bachelor’s degree – preferably in a communications field – and two years of relevant professional experience.
To apply, email your resume, cover letter and writing/design samples to Zahrah Khan at firstname.lastname@example.org. The position will remain open until filled.
Australian Wool Market Continues to Falter
The Australian wool market continued to trend lower, recording another overall reduction for the third consecutive selling series. Main buyer interest continued to be in the medium and broad micron ranges – 19 to 22 microns.
Solid widespread competition on these types meant that the prices on offer throughout the series were similar to those achieved in the previous week. This was reflected in the individual Micron Price Guides for 19 to 22 microns, whose movements across the country ranged by between +11 and -14 cents. The finer end of the Merino spectrum did not receive the same level of support and the competition on these lots was noticeably lower.
As a result of this lackluster demand, the prices continued to deteriorate as the week progressed. Hardest hit was 17.5 micron and finer. The MPGs in this range dropped by between 69 and 135 cents. The finer microns have now suffered sustained losses during the previous three weeks. The largest falls have occurred in the Southern MPGs for 16.5, 17 and 17.5 microns, which during this period have fallen by 306 (-10.6 percent), 272 (-10.3 percent) and 273 (11.5 percent) cents, respectively.
The AWEX Eastern Market Indicator fell another 13 cents this week during the two selling days – its third week of falls and the ninth consecutive week where the EMI has failed to register an increase. It’s been the longest run without a week-on-week rise in the AWEX-EMI in almost 19 years. The benchmark indicator is quickly approaching 1,300 Australian cents – the EMI currently sits at 1,306 cents – and is now at its lowest level in 16 months.
The crossbred sector performed with mixed results. The 26 and 30 micron MPGs recorded overall increases, while the 28 micron MPGs dropped in both centers, falling to 363 in the North and 373 in the South – the lowest levels in 22 years.
Click Here for the Full Australian Wool Market Report.
ALB Hosts Lamb Farm Tours
People who influence opinions about food are taking to the backroads of America, learning how American lamb is raised and natural resources are protected. The American Lamb Board selected key market areas for the tours: Boston, Seattle, Boulder and Napa.
“Our Lamb Checkoff engages with food influencers because they multiply and add another layer of credibility to our messages. We’ve had numerous occasions when influencer relationships created opportunities we didn’t anticipate,” said Peter Camino, ALB chairman.
On Aug. 1, a group of 25 Boston-area chefs and food media influencers made the trip to Lillooet Farm in Boxford, Mass., for a deep dive into all things local lamb. A few of the trendsetting restaurants represented were Catalyst, Drink, Foundry on Elm, Harvest, Lincoln Tavern, Menton, No. 9 Park, Ovenbird Cafe, Porto, Sportello and Trade.
The day’s events kicked off with a tour of Lillooet Farm led by owner Nathaniel Higley and farm manager Doug Cook. The tour shed light on the intricacies of raising sheep in New England and highlighted the regenerative farming practices they employ.
Guests were treated to sheep’s milk cheeses from Bell & Goose Creamery in South Hampton, N.H., and a lamb-centric lunch prepared on-site by chef Brian Miller of Miller PCS – winner of two Lamb Jam honors. The lunch showcased a variety of lamb cuts in dishes such as Rotisserie Lamb Leg Shawarma, Braised Lamb Shank & Neck Ragu, and Spicy & Sticky Jerk Lamb Shoulder Kabobs.
As guests enjoyed the American lamb lunch, Warren Means, owner and head butcher at Modern Butcher in Newburyport, Mass., walked chefs through the process of breaking down a whole lamb carcass. He talked through strategies for reducing waste and increasing profit margin when sourcing whole lambs. The demonstration was accompanied by a lively discussion of how chefs have successfully sourced, prepared and served lamb at their restaurants.
The next tour – on Sunday – ALB will host a group of influencers at Ninety Farms, which is just outside of Seattle. Ninety Farms owner Linda Neunzig will personally give a tour of the farm, highlighting the sustainable practices she has implemented to successfully manage her sheep and land. Following the tour, attendees will observe a full lamb butchery demo and enjoy a lamb lunch.
Sharing the story of America lamb farms and ranches is being purposefully added to ALB programs. Additional stories are on the AmericanLamb.com consumer website, plus preparation guidance, recipes, nutrition information and sources for American lamb. If you’re considering hosting a farm or ranch tour, ALB’s Promotional Partnership Program may provide financial assistance. Contact email@example.com for more information.
Livestock Manager Position Open in Denver
Superior Farms is looking to hire a livestock manager to direct and coordinate activities of receiving and unloading lambs at its Denver facility.
Essential duties and skills include: advanced knowledge of animal husbandry; the ability to organize, supervise and direct the work of personnel engaged in receiving and unloading livestock; oversight of special projects, including but not limited to, various livestock audits and humane handling.
Source: Superior Farms
Nebraska Plans Small Ruminant Educational Program
The 4S Goat Expo and the Nebraska Sheep and Goat Producers annual meeting seminar have combined for a small ruminant educational program that will be held Sept. 24-25 at the Lincoln County Fairgrounds in North Platte, Neb.
Activities include seminars on: Productive Profitable Goat Management; Goat Nutrition and Management; Sheep Production and Management; Selection for Wool in a Sheep Breeding Program; Herd Health for Sheep Producers; and many more topics.
Hands on activities include: FAMACHA Training; Sheep Health Assessment; Hall of Sheep Breeds; Certified Boer Goat Show; and the 4S Goat Show and Sale. Speakers include: Rob Zelinsky, small ruminant nutritionist with Hubbard Feed; Sue Hobby, Boers by Hobby Goat Farm; Randy Saner, Nebraska extension educator; and many more.
For more information or to sign-up, contact Randy Saner at 308-532-2683 or Melissa Nicholson at 308-386-8378.
Source: Nebraska Sheep and Goat Producers
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.
Fall Legislative Outlook:
This past week, both the U.S. House and Senate returned from August recess and will be in session through the end of September, before recessing again in October for the mid-term elections. The main focus for both chambers will be appropriations.
Congress is currently working on a continuing resolution that would fund the government through mid-December. The White House has requested that an additional $7.1 billion be included within the continuing resolution, as supplemental appropriations for COVID, Ukraine, disaster relief and monkeypox. It is unknown whether the entirety of the request will be included in the final bill.
Once the continuing resolution expires, Congress is expected to pass an omnibus spending package for fiscal year 2023. Negotiations on the omnibus spending package are not expected to start until after the mid-term elections, once the make-up of the 118th Congress is known. Other legislation that might be taken up for consideration this fall includes same-sex marriage recognition, federal permitting reform, defense authorization, the Water Resources Development Act and antitrust legislation.
New Member Joins House Committee on Agriculture:
On Wednesday, Ranking Member Glenn “GT” Thompson (Penn.) announced the addition of Rep. Brad Finstad (Minn.) to the House Committee on Agriculture. Finstad joins the Committee as a current operator of his family’s farm and as a former State Director for U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development in Minnesota. Finstad fills the seat of former member, Rep. Jim Hagedorn, after Hagedorn passed away of cancer in February of this year.
ASI Signs Letter In Support of Doug McKalip’s Confirmation:
The American Sheep Industry Association has signed onto a letter in support for the expeditious Senate confirmation of Doug McKalip to be Chief Agriculture Negotiator within the Office of the United States Trade Representative. Last week, the Senate Committee on Finance favorably reported McKalip’s nomination out of committee on a unanimous vote.
McKalip has previously served in a variety of positions at the United States Department of Agriculture, most recently as a senior advisor to the Secretary of Agriculture. The letter goes on to explain how McKalip’s confirmation would benefit American agriculture by finally having a dedicated negotiator working to push for new agricultural markets and remove barriers to growth in existing marketplaces.
Potential Railroad Strike Avoided For Now:
The Department of Labor has officially announced that 13 rail unions and the nation’s largest rail carriers have reached a tentative agreement after negotiations went into the early hours of Thursday morning. Although the agreement will prevent an immediate strike, this deal will still need to be voted on by members of the rail worker unions.
The tentative contract agreement includes more paid time off, time off for medical appointments, and pay raises, among other proposals. This announcement comes after an ongoing contract standoff between railroad companies and workers that could have led to a strike if a deal was not reached by Thursday evening.
Several officials had been working to prevent a disruption, including Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, and senior White House officials. Though most of the 13 rail worker unions had reached an agreement with the railroad companies, two unions representing engineers and conductors had rejected a compromise deal proposed earlier this year.
As part of the tentative deal, both sides have agreed to a “cooling-off” period that will last several weeks to ensure that if a vote on the agreement fails, there will be adequate time to prevent an immediate shutdown. In anticipation of a potential strike, several freight and passenger services had already begun suspending time-sensitive operations across the country. A strike this large would have left around 7,000 trains unstaffed and greatly hindered grain transportation during this season’s harvest.
Source: Cornerstone Government Affairs
Sheep Project Receives Climate-Smart Commodities Funding
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is investing up to $2.8 billion in 70 selected projects under the first Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities funding pool, which includes proposals seeking funds ranging from $5 million to $100 million. Among them is Climate Beneficial Fiber: Building New, Accessible and Equitable Market Opportunities for Climate-Smart Cotton and Wool.
The National Center for Appropriate Technology is the lead partner on the project and is joined by the Carbon Cycle Institute, Colorado State University Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, Fibershed, Seed 2 Shirt and New York Textile Lab. The approximate funding ceiling for the project is $30 million.
This project will expand the existing Climate Beneficial fiber program: a system for sequestering carbon, regenerating soil health and resilience, improving social equity, and bolstering America’s ability to produce climate-smart fiber. A newly created, open-source, Carbon Farm Planning and Verification Platform will streamline climate-smart agriculture planning and verification for producers, verifiers and supply chain stakeholders.
Click Here to learn more about USDA’s Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities.
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