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Biden Agrees to Resume Lamb Trade with U.K.

On Wednesday, United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that after talks with President Joe Biden the United States has agreed to lift the ban on U.K. lamb imports.

The ban – in place since 1989 due to the mad cow BSE crisis in the U.K. – hinges on finalization of the USDA Small Ruminant Scrapie rule. The rule was initially proposed in 2015, and the American Sheep Industry Association last submitted comments in September 2016.

At the request of ASI earlier this year, many members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate wrote the Biden administration with industry concerns and requests on this topic.

“The fact that lamb trade rose to this level of government talks reflects the frustration of U.K. farmers that we delayed lamb long after beef trade resumed,” said ASI Executive Director Peter Orwick. “We have asked successive administrations to prioritize export opportunities for American lamb before allowing additional lamb imports into the domestic market, which is already heavily influenced by imported product. We are also concerned that the economic analysis underpinning the final scrapie rule is woefully inadequate. Last updated in 2015, the economic analysis does not take into account the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union and the significant disruptions that has caused to their lamb exports to the European Union.”

The final scrapie rule is currently under review by the White House Office of Management and Budget for promulgation.

ASI is aware that some members would welcome the finalization of this rule in order to import heritage genetics from the United Kingdom and other nations.

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LRP-Lamb No Longer Available

Livestock Risk Protection-Lamb is no longer an available product provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency.

Lapses in USDA mandatory price reporting for lamb have presented major challenges for the on-going operation of LRP-Lamb. The program was suspended in 2020 as market conditions exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to the closure of the Mountain States Rosen lamb plant in Greeley, Colo. This affected the lamb industry’s ability to meet the confidentiality guidelines for mandatory price reporting for lamb that were integral to the operation of the program.

“We’re sorry to have to discontinue this product for our industry,” said Tim Turner, president of the American Sheep Industry Association’s for-profit Sheep Venture Company. “LRP-Lamb was a good product that helped a lot of people and the lamb industry.”

SVC has conducted three meetings this year with producers, feeders, industry analysts and insurance program developers to encourage the development of a new risk protection program for the lamb industry. A new program is likely to take up to two years for development and USDA approval.


SheepCast: Government Funding, U.K. Lamb & CFAP

This week, the ASI SheepCast looks at the current situation for funding the federal government into the next fiscal year, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement that United Kingdom lamb is on track to enter the United States and Coronavirus Food Assistance Program totals for sheep and wool producers.

Click Here to listen to the podcast.


Vermont Goes Online for Virtual Festival

While the in-person Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival has been cancelled, a virtual festival has been scheduled for Oct. 2-3.

The virtual festival will celebrate small farms and natural fiber with almost 70 vendors offering fleece and yarn, fiber animals, handspinning and fiber crafting equipment and supplies, handcrafted wool items and handmade lotions and soaps. Festival vendors will offer virtual talks, tours and demos. There will also be a chance to win prizes donated by the festival’s generous vendors. Most of the virtual event will take place on the festival’s Facebook group page.

Click Here for more information.


Solid Demand Leads to Rise in Australian Market

The Australian wool market recorded an overall increase this week on the back of solid demand. At the end of the previous series there was a noticeable strengthening to the market, and that stronger buyer sentiment carried into this week.

From the outset, the prices being achieved were noticeably higher than those achieved at the previous sale. The market quickly found a level and generally traded around these levels all the way to the final hammer.

Specialty, non-mulesed types came under intense buyer pressure and the prices being achieved for these types was significantly higher than other similar types. By week’s end, the individual Merino fleece Micron Price Guides across the country added between 3 and 60 cents. Only the 21 micron MPG in the West recorded negative movement (-5 cents). The rises in these MPGs helped push the AWEX Eastern Market Indicator up by 16 cents for the series. The EMI closed at 1,368 Australin cents.

The crossbred sector recorded small losses this week, this was reflected in the MPGs which fell by between 3 and 7 cents. These falls prevented the EMI from making a larger rise. In the carding sector, the North and South had solid increases. In the West, the Merino Carding Indicator fell by 10 cents, bring the three sectors into closer alignment.

As shearing ramps up across the country, the amount of wool making its way to market increases. Next week there are 41,652 bales selling in Melbourne, Fremantle and Sydney.

Source: AWEX


Gretel Ehrlich to Keynote Sheep Tales Gathering

The Trailing of the Sheep Festival – October 6-10 in the Wood River Valley of Idaho – is proud to present celebrated author and essayist Gretel Ehrlich as keynote speaker for its Sheep Tales Gathering. She will speak on Friday, Oct. 8, at 7 p.m. at The Argyros Theater in Ketchum, Idaho.

Ehrlich will share the stories of her travels and her deeply personal concern for friends and peoples throughout the world that are losing their traditional connections to the land through climate chaos. Their experiences fill her new book Unsolaced: Along the Way to All That Is.

After the reading, Jenny Emery Davidson, executive director of the Community Library in Ketchum, will join Gretel in conversation about her experiences and the writing of this book.

To search for answers, she travels landscapes from the Arctic to Zimbabwe and more. Intently, she listens to stories and walks threatened landscapes thriving only several years ago. She spends time with friends and experts charting ice flows in Greenland and seeking innovative ideas on healthy grazing lands from Africa’s Allan Savory. She is determined to understand what’s at stake for the future.

Ehrlich’s first awareness of the beauty and complexities of our changing world began during her transformative days living and cowboying in Wyoming and are found in her debut publication in 1985, The Solace of Open Spaces. The book is a collection of essays on rural life in Wyoming.

Ehrlich’s presentation is part of a lineup of special events to celebrate the festival’s 25th anniversary year. But Friday night’s program is unique, according to festival Co-Founder and Artistic Director Diane Peavey, an Idaho sheep producer.

“Stories and oral histories are at the heart of the Trailing of the Sheep Festival,” she said. “The weekend is a yearly celebration of folk and traditional art, history, heritage and the cultures of Idaho and the West. People have always shared their stories with family, friends and their tribe.”

Peavey noted that, “The goal of the Sheep Tales Gathering is to share from the stage those stories and experiences that explain the culture and the landscapes of home and the life and commitment to sheep herding and ranching in Idaho. And during this evening with Gretel, we take this exploration a step farther. Her experiences are unique and provocative, and we come away exposed to new and important information about our own lives.

“This is the importance of storytelling,” Peavey added. “We extend our vision and broaden our responses to the world around us by sharing insights, listening and learning from each other.”

Source: Trailing of the Sheep

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