ASI Investigates Trade Case
The American Sheep Industry Association released a video podcast this week sharing the status of a legal process initiated several months ago toward the possible filing of a United States trade law violation by lamb importers.
Click Here to view the podcast.
ASI Executive Director Peter Orwick offers an update as the association awaits the results of a preliminary investigation by the law firm of Kelly Drye. Those results will be shared with the ASI Executive Board the final week of this month.
“We are specifically looking for the estimate of trade case strength, which depends on two parts, with one as injury to the industry – the entire industry, the sheep producer, the lamb feeders and lamb companies,” Orwick said. “The second piece is estimate of any violation including dumping or subsidy margins so the board can project an impact on American lamb returns should a case filing result in tariffs on imported lamb meat.”
Pursuing a trade case against lamb importing countries would cost a minimum of $1.3 million in legal expenses alone and require nearly a year to see the case through to the end, Orwick said. He appreciates volunteer leaders of ASI taking part in multiple meetings and interviews of legal firms this spring to secure the research and guidance from professionals on United States trade law.
Due to investment costs, the ASI Executive Board has indicated it will require a vote of the full board of directors to move forward with any litigation. While a virtual meeting is an option in the coming months, the board will meet in person at ASI’s Annual Convention in Denver, Colo., on Jan 10-13.
Eight of ASI’s 44 state member associations joined the National Lamb Feeders Association in April of this year in requesting that the association investigate lamb imports. A law firm was selected in May and conducted confidential financial surveys of American sheep producers, lamb feeders and lamb companies as part of the initial investigation. International analysis of lamb meat pricing and production costs will also be a key piece of the recommendation to be considered by the ASI Executive Board.
Ag Groups Express Concerns About OFF Act
More than two dozen agricultural trade groups – including the American Sheep Industry Association – recently submitted a letter to leaders of the U.S. Senate raising concerns with Amendment #1097 to the 2024 Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration, Rural Development appropriations bill.
“The proposed amendment attempts to attach the so-called Opportunities for Fairness in Farming Act, to the spending bill. If enacted, this amendment would substantially undermine our members’ ability to promote U.S. agriculture- and natural resource-based commodity products,” read the letter.
“This language targets commodity research and promotion boards, better known as ‘checkoff’ programs. Checkoffs were established at the urging of the producers of their respective product. While each individual program operates in a manner uniquely crafted to suit the needs of that specific commodity, generally, a small portion of the sales receipts of that commodity is allocated to a research and promotion board overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“Checkoffs are entirely funded and directed by those who pay assessments into them – in other words, producers themselves. As such, all checkoff expenses, including the salaries of USDA personnel overseeing them, are funded by the same receipts they generate. There are no taxpayer dollars used to implement checkoffs, and no appropriated dollars are used to oversee them pursuant to statute. For this reason, we hold that Amendment #1097 is not relevant to the FY24 agriculture appropriations bill and respectfully urge the Senate to reject this misguided amendment.
“Research and promotion boards exist to develop new markets and strengthen existing channels for specific commodities while conducting important research and promotional activities. They also work to educate consumers on behalf of a particular commodity to expand total demand to the benefit of all producers. Using the pooled resources and stakeholder investments obtained through checkoff assessments, they promote the product as a whole to create an industry-wide benefit through increased sales, consumer awareness, and higher overall demand. For every dollar invested into a commodity checkoff, producers see several more in return. Congress should not interfere with these popular, successful programs which benefit U.S. agriculture and natural resources producers.”
LMR Should be Deemed Essential
Five organizations from the livestock and meat industries signed on to a letter today calling on Sec. of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to continue livestock mandatory reporting in the event of a government shutdown at the end of the month. The American Sheep Industry Association joined the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the National Pork Producers Council, the North American Meat Institute and the American Farm Bureau Federation in making the request.
“LMR, managed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service, is a critical source of market information regarding livestock sales to packers and the subsequent sale of meat products,” read the letter. “LMR data helps ensure livestock producers have reliable and accurate information when making critical business decisions and supports competition and transparency in the industry. Failure to continue publishing reports will jeopardize swine, cattle and lamb producers’ ability to effectively market their livestock.
“Since the LMR program was established in 2001, it has become a crucial source of information on swine, cattle, lamb and related meat product transactions. AMS uses data packers submit on the purchase and sale of livestock and meat products to publish over 300 market reports a week on price trends, supply and demand, and more – all while preserving the confidentiality of specific transactions. As a reliable, trustworthy and freely available source of data, these reports are often used in livestock and meat marketing decisions, as well as in risk management tools.
“Livestock contracts are often based on prices reported under LMR and a disruption to LMR could have adverse effects on farms – especially small family farms – potentially pushing some out of business. LMR captures the overwhelming majority of the beef, pork and lamb industry, as well as the markets for cattle, hogs and sheep. Any interruption to LMR could negatively affect livestock markets, supply chains and the rural communities that depend on these industries.
“We recognize that, under current law, authority for the LMR program will expire along with federal funding on September 30, 2023. However, we encourage AMS to continue LMR reporting on a voluntary basis if reporting entities continue to provide information. Such a practice would be consistent with previous lapse in LMR authority and would ensure that all industry sectors maintain essential access to critical market reports.
“Given the substantial harm that will occur if LMR is disrupted, we respectfully request that AMS personnel directly involved in the operation and administration of the LMR program be deemed essential in the event of a federal government shutdown in order to continue operation of this indispensable program. This approach is not unprecedented because during the government shutdown of 2018-2019 Market News support staff were excepted from furlough and allowed to continue LMR reporting and related programming. We request USDA take a similar approach in the event of a lapse in appropriations.”
Australian Market Suffers Slight Slide
After recording solid price increases in the previous series, the Australian wool market was unable to continue that improvement, recording an overall loss this series. The national offering was 868 bales higher than the previous week, with 42,287 bales available to the trade.
The overall fall was driven by losses in most Merino fleece types. The movements in the individual Micron Price Guides in Sydney and Melbourne ranged between +4 and -25 cents. Small movements in the other sectors resulted in the AWEX Eastern Market Indicator dropping by 4 cents for the series. In a complete reversal of the trend seen at the close of Week 10, the Western region – selling last – recorded the largest falls of the week. The Western Merino fleece MPGs closed the week between 27 and 59 cents lower.
As expected, the reduction in prices pushed the passed-in rate higher, as sellers were reluctant to accept the lower levels. The passed-in rate rose by 5 percent, with 10.1 percent of the national offering failing to reach seller reserve. When compared to the same time last year, the average passed-in rate is 4.8 percent lower at 9.3 percent (season to date).
Due to a strengthening in the Australian dollar – the AUD gained 0.41 cents compared to the USD since the close of the previous series – when viewed in USD, the market recorded an overall positive movement, albeit a marginal one. The EMI gained 2 U.S. cents this series, closing the week at 738 U.S. cents.
Next week’s offering is slightly smaller and will be held in an unusual pattern to accommodate public holidays (Monday in Fremantle and Friday in Melbourne). Melbourne will sell Tuesday and Wednesday, while Sydney and Fremantle will offer Wednesday and Thursday. Currently, 40,389 bales are expected to be offered nationally, with Sydney holding a designated Superfine sale.
Click Here for the Australian Wool Report Prices in USc Per Pound.
Shearing Schools Planned for 2023-24
A handful of shearing schools have announced dates for the 2023-24 season. If your school isn’t listed below, please contact Heather Pearce at firstname.lastname@example.org to have it added to the list.
- 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.
- Connecticut Sheep Breeders Association Shearing School & Wool Quality Workshop, Oct. 14 at the UConn Swine Barn in Storrs, Conn. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
- North Dakota State University Shearing School, Nov. 18-20 in Hettinger, N.D. Contact Dr. Christopher Schauer at email@example.com.
- Utah State University Shearing School, Jan. 18-20, 2024, at the USU Animal Science Farm in Wellsville, Utah. Visit eventbrite.com/e/usu-sheep-shearing-school-2024-registration-722911155727 for more information.
- Missouri Extension Shearing School, March 6-7, 2024, at Lincoln University’s George Carver Farm in Jefferson City, Mo. Contact Jody Bruemmer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-681-5540.
- Shepherd’s Cross Shearing Schools, April 11-13, 2024, and April 15-17, 2024, in Claremore, Okla. Visit https://shepherdscross.com/sheep-shearing-school-asi.html for more information.
- Washington State Beginner Shearing School, April 22-26, 2024, Moses Lake, Wash. An advanced shearing school will also be conducted on April 27. Contact Sarah Smith at 509-754-2011, ext. 4363 or email@example.com.
Small Ruminant Workshop Planned
Fibershed will host an animal husbandry workshop led by Dr. Rosie Busch of the University of California-Davis on Oct. 9 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. pacific time.
The workshop is coordinated by Wild Oat Hollow and will cover overall ruminant health, nutritional needs and body condition scoring, as well as how to prepare for lambing, potential complications and how to manage them. The workshop is free to attend and will be held at the Fibershed Learning Center in Point Reyes Station, Calif.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
Source: Wild Oat Hollow
ALB Announces Survey Winner
When the American Lamb Board called for help from American sheep producers and feeders to collect sustainability information, 622 responses to the 30-minute survey were received – exceeding ALB’s goal.
Indiana sheep producer Nick Meier won the random drawing of those who completed the survey for a paid trip to the 2024 American Sheep Industry Association Annual Convention in Denver. Everyone who completed the survey is getting an American lamb cap.
“Thank you to everyone who responded – it will contribute and make a difference,” said ALB Chair Peter Camino, of Buffalo, Wyo. “The U.S. lamb industry can use this data based on actual industry practices to help advocate for the industry and to identify where to invest U.S. lamb checkoff dollars for sustainability research and education.”
The survey findings will be compared to a similar survey ALB conducted in 2011. This comparison will allow the American sheep industry to identify areas where improvement has been made and what issues still need addressing. The survey data will also be utilized to communicate with retailers, chefs and consumers, and guide industry education and research efforts.