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ASI Accepting Awards Nominations

It’s time once again to submit nominations for ASI awards, which will be presented during the 2024 ASI Annual Convention on Jan. 10-13, 2024, in Denver, Colo. The deadline for all award nominations is Nov. 17.

There are five awards open for nominations: The McClure Silver Ram Award, the Peter Orwick Camptender Award, the Distinguished Producer Award, the Industry Innovation Award and the Shepherd’s Voice Award.

The McClure Silver Ram Award is dedicated to volunteer commitment and service and is presented to a sheep producer who has made substantial contributions to the sheep industry and its organizations in his/her state, region or nation.

The Peter Orwick Camptender Award recognizes industry contributions from a professional in a position or field related to sheep production. Nominees should show a strong commitment and a significant contribution to the sheep industry, its organizations and its producers above and beyond what is called for in his/her professional capacity.

The Distinguished Producer Award was launched in 2014 to recognize the 150th anniversary of the national organization – the oldest livestock association in the country. This award is a way to recognize an individual who has had a significant long-term impact on the industry, including involvement with the National Wool Growers Association or American Sheep Producers Council.

The Industry Innovation Award recognizes the accomplishments of an individual or organization that improves the American sheep industry in a game-changing way, regardless of whether its impact is felt at the regional or national level.

The Shepherd’s Voice Award for Media recognizes outstanding coverage of the sheep industry by either print or broadcast outlets. The award excludes all publications and affiliates related solely to the sheep industry, allowing for recognition of outlets with general coverage of sheep industry issues.

Nominations must be submitted to ASI by Nov. 17, and past recipients of these awards are not eligible.

Click Here for more information.


Exec. Board Summary of Actions

The American Sheep Industry Association Executive Board unanimously agreed during a Zoom meeting this week to inform the ASI Board of Directors that the preliminary investigation of violation of U.S. trade law by lamb importers has been completed by the law firm of Kelley Drye & Warren LLP.  The investigation does not document subsidies or product dumping to support filing trade petitions by the association.

The executive board unanimously agreed to schedule an information session virtually in October, for the board of directors and state association executives to relay the discussion and findings of the law firm.

In other actions, the executive board unanimously approved the budget for fiscal year 2024 of the National Livestock Producers Association’s Sheep and Goat Innovation Fund. The executive board unanimously approved nominations provided by NLPA to serve as directors of the board of the Sheep and Goat Innovation Fund for fiscal year 2024.


Sen. Barrasso Bill Keeps Sheep Import Ban

U.S. Sen. John Barrasso (Wyo.) introduced legislation to stop the Biden Administration from lifting a ban on imports of sheep and goat products until accurate studies show the possibility of contamination or transmission of diseases have been completely eliminated.

In 2022, the U.S. Department of Agriculture implemented a final rule to remove BSE-related import restrictions on sheep and goats and their products. The Stop and Study Sheep and Goat Import Ban will stop this rule from taking effect and require updated, thorough research before exposing the sheep and goat industry – and ultimately U.S. consumers – to possible contaminations.

“In Wyoming, the sheep and goat industries have been a part of our ranching way of life since statehood. We know we can rely on American producers to provide families with safe, reliable and healthy meat products,” said Barrasso. “Imported sheep and goats are at a higher risk of being contaminated or diseased. It’s critical that we keep the ban on imported sheep and goats in place until we can prove they are free of any possible diseases or contaminations.”

Cosponsors of this legislation include Sens. Cynthia Lummis (Wyo.), John Hoeven (N.D.), Kevin Cramer (N.D.) and Mike Rounds (S.D.). This bill has received support from the Wyoming Wool Growers Association and the American Sheep Industry Association.

“This bill sheds light on one of the most critical challenges facing the American sheep industry, the large volume of imported sheep and goats (and products derived from sheep/goats). The sheep industry has faced price volatility and unpredictability for decades and a steady decline of sheep inventory across the country for decades. There are many causal factors and a stop and study on importation of these animals and derived products will hopefully lead to conversations on best solutions for all parties involved in the American sheep industry and our markets,” said WWGA Executive Director Alison Crane.

“The American Sheep Industry Association greatly appreciates the leadership of Senator Barrasso on this important legislation. It has been over 20 years since USDA has looked at the impacts of increased imported lamb on our domestic market. ASI has continued to ask successive administrations to prioritize export opportunities for U. S. producers, before allowing additional imports. The necessary legislation introduced by Senator Barrasso in the Senate will provide the domestic sheep and lamb industry the information we need to assess the potential impacts of importing and exporting lamb products and inform the conversation going forward,” said ASI President Brad Boner.

The Stop Sheep and Goat Import Ban will:

  • Direct the secretary of agriculture to conduct a study on the potential costs and benefits of the delayed rule.
  • Require the secretary’s study to research:
  • the estimated amount of sheep and goat meat imported into the United States as a result of the implementation of the rule.
    • the estimated increase in the number of live sheep and goats imported into the United States as a result of the rule.
    • the estimated demand for sheep and goat meat in the United States during the 10-year period beginning on the date of the enactment of the bill.
    • the impact of the COVID–19 pandemic on the economic data and market conditions for imports of sheep and goat meat and live sheep and goats.
    • any negative impacts that could result from the implementation of the rule.
  • Require the secretary to submit the study to respective committees in the House and Senate no later than one year after this bill is signed.

Click Here for full text of the legislation.

Source: Sen. Barrasso


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.

House Fails to Pass the FY24 Ag Spending Bill

This has been an eventful week for U.S. House of Representatives appropriations with the 2023 fiscal year expiring tomorrow at midnight. On Tuesday and Wednesday, the House took H.R. 4368 to the floor – the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2024 – to vote on the bill’s filed amendments.

Members spent several hours engaging in lively debate over nearly a hundred different amendments. One important amendment of note to ASI included the outcome of Rep. Victoria Spartz (Ind.) Amendment No. 76. Spartz’s anti-checkoff program amendment failed by a recorded vote of 49-377.

Rep. Harriet Hageman’s (Wyo.) Amendment No. 83 concerning livestock electronic identification eartag prohibition in cattle also failed by a recorded voted of 97-336.

House Republican leadership announced there would be a vote set for late Thursday evening to consider the passage of H.R. 4368 and four other appropriations bills. While the House successfully advanced four appropriations bills late last night, the agriculture spending bill failed on the House floor by a vote of 191-237. This was ultimately due to bipartisan opposition over the steep spending cuts to key agricultural programs included in the bill. Now, all eyes are on Congress to pass an urgent stop-gap measure that would extend government funding for the fiscal year and avoid a Sunday shutdown.


USDA Opens Application for Ag Employer & Farmworker Program

Last Friday, USDA opened applications for the Farm Labor Stabilization and Protection Pilot Program, which aims to address workforce challenges in agriculture by offering up to $65 million in grants. This program seeks to expand the potential pool of agricultural workers, improve job quality for employees, and promote safe and lawful migration pathways for workers through the H-2A temporary agricultural worker program.

Eligible domestic agricultural employers can apply for grants ranging from $25,000 to $2 million to support these objectives, with a 24-month grant window for each recipient. The program is part of the broader efforts to enhance the resiliency of the food and agricultural supply chain while facilitating economic benefits for both U.S. and foreign workers. Applications are due by Nov. 28.

Click Here for more information on the program.


Australian Wool Market Continues to Fall

The Australian wool market fell again in this series, although there were positive signs late in the week.

Melbourne opened proceedings on Tuesday, selling in isolation. The prices on offer for Merino fleece types were all below those achieved at the close of the previous series. By the close of the day, the Southern Micron Price Guides had dropped by between 1 and 45 cents. A solid day in the crossbreds – where all MPGs recorded increases – and minimal movements in the skirting and oddments resulted in the Southern Indicator losing 3 cents. With only Melbourne in operation, the AWEX Eastern Market Indicator dropped by just 1 cent.

The second selling day, all three centers were in operation. Sydney and Fremantle quickly came back to the levels that were set in Melbourne on the previous day, then there were generally further falls across all three regions. The regional MPG movements ranged between plus 8 and minus 37 cents. The EMI dropped another 6 cents, again a buoyant crossbred market prevented a larger fall.

On the final day of the series, Sydney and Fremantle were the only centers selling. The Merino fleece MPGs movements in Sydney ranged between plus 13 and minus 24 cents. In Fremantle – selling last – the MPGs were all positive (+5 to +23 cents), setting a good precedent for next week’s opening. The EMI ended the week 9 cents lower, closing at 1,135 Australian cents.

Due to a weakening Australian dollar – the AUD lost 0.82 cents compared to the U.S. dollar since the close of Week 12 – when viewed in USD terms, the fall in the EMI was greater. The EMI lost 15 U.S. cents, closing the series at 723 U.S. cents.

Next week’s selling changes again due to a public holiday in Sydney, shifting selling to Wednesday and Thursday, when 42,115 bales are expected to be offered nationally.

Click Here for the Australian Wool Report Prices in USc Per Pound.

Source: AWEX


Mutton BBQ Joint Among Nation’s Best

Southern Living magazine recently named Old Hickory Bar-B-Que a top 50 barbecue joint of 2023. Writer Robert Moss said he spent the past year buzzing down interstate highways and navigating winding roads to craft his list.

Much to the surprise of sixth-generation owner John Foreman, Old Hickory found itself at No. 24 on the list, ahead of several prominent establishments.

“It’s a big deal, and I’m very proud. It’s hard to describe the feeling, but it reassures me we’re doing things the right way,” Foreman said. “It’s also an inspiration to keep going and not rest on our success.”

While mutton put Old Hickory and Owensboro, Ky., on the map, the restaurant has also been dishing out pork, chicken, beef, turkey and more using hickory coals since 1918. And for 105 years, consistency has been the key.

“We’ve used the same dip and the same sauce for years, always cooking on hickory,” Foreman said. “The tradition stems from doing the small things and paying close attention to detail.”

Foreman added that his crew has also played a pivotal role in the establishment’s success.

“I’ve been lucky with excellent and loyal employees over the years,” he said. “They see this place as theirs and take pride in it. Everybody here contributes and does their best.”

The segment in Southern Living reads:

Owensboro is the barbecued mutton capital of the world, and the best place to sample this distinctive Kentucky delicacy is at Old Hickory. Since 1918, six successive generations of the Foreman family have been barbecuing mutton alongside pork, chicken, beef and turkey, and they’re still using hickory coals to fire the big cinderblock pits with sliding metal doors in the cookhouse behind the restaurant. After a judicious dunk in thin Worcestershire-laced “dip,” the long, tender strands of smoked mutton are chewy, smoky and sublimely delicious.

Old Hickory’s burgoo is an outstanding version of the classic Kentucky barbecue accompaniment, featuring mutton, pork, chicken and vegetables slow-simmered into a smooth, tangy and very satisfying stew.

Click Here to learn more about Old Hickory.

Source: Old Hickory Bar-B-Que


USDA Delivering Emergency Relief Funds

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced this week that it will begin issuing more than $1.75 billion in emergency relief payments to eligible farmers and livestock producers. These much-needed payments are helping farming and ranching operations recover following natural disasters in 2020, 2021 and 2022.

“USDA provides substantial economic support for America’s farmers and ranchers through its critical farm program payments. These payments are reflective of the incredible and cumulative financial hits brought on by devastating natural disasters that agricultural producers nationwide have endured while fulfilling their commitment to produce our food, fiber and fuel,” said Agriculture Sec. Tom Vilsack. “This additional assistance helps offset the tremendous losses that these producers faced and is a valuable investment, not only for farmers and ranchers but in the economic successes of our communities – rural and urban – and in our nation’s food security for generations to come.”

Emergency Livestock Relief Program

This week, FSA will issue more than $581 million in 2021 and 2022 drought and wildfire emergency relief to eligible ranchers.

FSA is closing out the Emergency Livestock Relief Program for losses suffered in 2021. ELRP Phase Two payments are estimated at $115.7 million. Ranchers who lost grazing acres due to drought and wildfire and received assistance through ELRP Phase One will soon receive an additional payment through ELRP Phase Two. This second payment will be equal to 20 percent of the 2021 gross ELRP Phase One payment. ELRP Phase Two payments to producers will be automatic with no application required. In April 2022, FSA staff processed more than 100,000 payments through ELRP Phase One and paid eligible ranchers more than $600 million for 2021 grazing losses.

In 2022, ranchers continued to experience significant loss of grazing acres due to drought and wildfire. To help mitigate these losses, eligible ranchers will receive ELRP disaster assistance payments for increases in supplemental feed costs. To expedite payments, determine producer eligibility and calculate the ELRP 2022 payment, FSA is using livestock inventories and drought-affected forage acreage or restricted animal units and grazing days due to wildfire already reported to FSA by ranchers when they submitted their Livestock Forage Disaster Program applications. ELRP payments for 2022 losses are estimated at $465.4 million and will be automatic with no application required.

Emergency Relief Program Phase Two

FSA is closing out Phase Two of the Emergency Relief Program this week through the delivery of more than $1.17 billion in crop disaster assistance payments to producers of eligible crops who suffered losses, measured through decreases in revenue, due to qualifying natural disaster events that occurred in calendar years 2020 and 2021. ERP Phase Two was intended primarily for producers of crops that were not covered by federal crop insurance or FSA’s Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program. Previously, through ERP Phase one, FSA staff processed more than 300,000 applications and paid an estimated 217,000 eligible producers more than $7.4 billion.

These programs represent a few of FSA’s extensive commodity, conservation, credit, disaster recovery and safety-net programs. By the close of the fiscal year on Sept. 30, for all farm and farm loan programs — including vital access to capital for distressed borrowers — USDA, through the delivery of FSA programs, will have invested more than $19 billion in America’s agricultural producers with more economic support on the way in fiscal year 2024.

For more information on available FSA programs, contact your local USDA Service Center.

Source: USDA

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