11-17-12 ASI WEEKLY NEWS FOR SHEEP INDUSTRY LEADERS…
Posted by Brian Allmer on November 17, 2012
Convention News! Convention registration forms should have been delivered to mailboxes this week. If you did not receive one, go to www.sheepusa.org/Annual_Convention to get your registration brochure.
New Producer Tool Kits Disseminated
As a result of the American Sheep Industry Association’s (ASI) participation in the Future Farmers of American’s national convention earlier this month, ASI has distributed more than 150 New Producer Tool Kits.
According to information from Lesa Carlton, California Wool Growers Association state executive, who manned the booth for ASI, the toolkits were in high demand from young producers and classroom instructors alike. This is the first time that such comprehensive, complimentary materials have been made available to such a broad audience of producers and educators.
These materials are being offered as a part of the Grow Our Flock initiative initiated by ASI in 2011.
Tri-State Meeting Hosts Wool Panel
Many U.S. wool buyers, warehousemen and wool processors gathered at the joint Idaho, Wyoming and Utah Wool Growers meeting Nov. 9-10 to discuss the 2012 wool season and to provide insight into the upcoming year. The panel consisted of Larry Prager and Scott Lammers, Center of the Nation Wool; Jason Banowsky, Lempriere USA; Mike Corn, Roswell Wool; Dan Gutzman, Pendleton Woolen Mills; Will Griggs, Utah Wool Marketing; Terry Martin and Rick Honaker, Anodyne Wool; and Bruce Barker, Great Plains Wool Co.
A general opinion was that the 2012 wool market was driven by a declining economic situation across Europe in conjunction with a warmer winter across the northern hemisphere, both resulting in disappointing garment sales last year. A larger inventory of garments resulted in less processing into fabrics, which ultimately resulted in less demand and lower trends in global raw-wool prices. The declining value of the U.S. dollar and the corresponding increase in the value of the Australian dollar was another contributing factor. It was also noted that the declining demand for goods forced China, the world’s largest wool processing country, to reduce overall production of finished garments.
Consensus among the buyers and warehousemen was that continued better preparation of U.S. wools would result in broader demand and a wider array of uses of U.S. wools, regardless of micron. Specifically, the continued removal and separation of bellies from fleeces, topknots, leg wool, tags and second cuts and any off colored wool due to stains. Buyers and processors continued to note the problems being experienced with black fibers in white wool, contamination of hair-sheep fibers and poly contamination. Excess branding paint and markers were also discussed along with suggestions for handling paint on cold days, application recommendations (keep brands to 4 mm or less) and the axiom that ” less is better” when applying paint.
The panel expressed the need for a larger supply of wool to meet the demand. Reduced supplies from declining sheep numbers have resulted in higher overhead costs for all segments of the wool industry. Due to the large volume of wool needed for processors to minimize costs, any problems or issues that occur with the wool results in higher costs.
It was reiterated that developing a plan with the shearing crew can reduce contamination as well as decrease the stress for the sheep and the labor during harvest. Making contact with the buyer or warehouse representative to discuss potential wool outlets can also assist in proper wool preparation.
Mentor Webinar Draws Attendees from 11 States
Positive comments such as “I really enjoyed this webinar. It, in itself, was a great mentor/mentee experience,” and “I love the concept of the webinar as a way to discuss issues. I hope to participate in more of these in the future,” were received at the completion of the last webinar entitled Capitalizing on the Mutual Benefits of a Mentoring Relationship.
A presentation about the guidelines for forming, maintaining and completing a good mentoring relationship was provided, followed by producer’s sharing their mentoring relationship experiences. A variety of questions from the 24 attendees representing 11 states were entertained resulting in quality discussion.
A recording of the webinar is available at www.optimalag.com/webinars/2012-11-13%2018.01%20Capitalizing%20on%20the%20Mutual%20Benefits%20of%20a%20Mentoring%20Relationship.wmv. This is a Windows Media file and plays on Windows Media Player. The mentoring guidelines PowerPoint slides are available at www.optimalag.com/webinars/Mentoring%20Relationship.pdf.
The program is funded by the American Sheep Industry Association and the National Sheep Industry Improvement Center.
Shepherds of the Western Range
Open range sheep herding is a proud and historic part of western ranching heritage. H-2A sheep herders are center stage in this rugged and sometimes remote lifestyle. Shepherds of the Western Range takes an in-depth look at the working conditions of the H-2A sheep herders. It provides a unique opportunity to learn about sheep herding on the open range.
The individual chapters of the DVD can be viewed at http://coloradosheep.org/H-2A_Sheep_Herders.html.
To obtain a copy of the DVD, Shepherds of the Western Range, send $10 to the Colorado Sheep and Wool Authority, PO Box 292, Delta, Colo. 81416.
ASI Joins to Urge Passage of Permanent Estate Tax Relief
The American Sheep Industry Association joined more than 30 groups representing the agriculture industry in sending letters to the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate urging them to provide farmers and ranchers with permanent and meaningful relief from the estate tax. Current estate tax relief is set to expire at the end of 2012 with exemption levels dropping to $1 million per individual and the tax rate increasing to 55 percent.
At a minimum, the signators support extending the exemption of $5 million per person and retaining the top rate of 35 percent until such time as full repeal of the estate tax is possible. It is also imperative that any estate tax law passed, other than full repeal, index the exemption to inflation, provide for spousal transfers and include the stepped-up basis.
Family farmers and ranchers are not only the caretakers of our nation’s rural lands but they are also small businesses. The 2013 change to the estate tax law does a disservice to agriculture because farmers and ranchers are a land-based, capital-intensive industry with few options for paying estate taxes when they come due. The current state of the economy, coupled with the uncertain nature of estate tax liabilities, makes it difficult for family-owned farms and ranches to make sound business decisions.
In conclusion, the groups urged Congress to act immediately and permanently renew the current estate tax provision, until such time as full repeal is possible. This permanent extension will give farmers and ranchers the certainty they need to conduct business.
Census Countdown Begins for America’s Farmers and Ranchers
America’s farmers and ranchers will have the opportunity to make a positive impact on their communities by taking part in the Census of Agriculture. Conducted every five years by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the census captures a complete count of all U.S. farms, ranches and those who operate them.
Census data is used by all those who serve farmers and rural communities from federal, state and local governments to agribusinesses and trade associations. Companies and cooperatives can use the information to determine the locations of facilities that will serve agricultural producers. Often legislators use the information when shaping farm policies and programs.
As preparations continue for this year’s Census of Agriculture, farmers and ranchers are asked to share their stories, ask questions and talk to fellow producers about this critical effort. Answers to the census help grow your farm future, shape farm programs and boost services for you, your community and your industry.
NASS will mail out census forms in late December, and responses are due by Feb. 4, 2013. Producers also have the option to complete the forms online. The census is your voice, your future and your responsibility. For more information about the census, visit www.agcensus.usda.gov.
USDA Updates Nutrient Database for Meat Products
The U.S. Department of Agriculture released an updated version of its National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference with data on 8,194 food items including more than 200 individual lamb cuts.
The database is the foundation of most food and nutrition decisions in the United States and is used in food policy, research and nutrition monitoring. It can be accessed at www.ars.usda.gov/Services/docs.htm?docid=8964.
EPA Denies Ethanol Mandate Waiver Requests from Governors, Coalition, Congress
A coalition of livestock, poultry and dairy organizations, including the American Sheep Industry Association, expressed extreme disappointment with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) denial in the wake of the worst drought in more than half a century of requests that it waive a federal law that requires corn to be turned into ethanol for gasoline.
The Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) requires 13.8 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol to be blended into gasoline in 2013, an amount that will use about 4.5 billion bushels of the nation’s corn crop, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
“We are extremely frustrated and discouraged that EPA chose to ignore the clear economic argument from tens of thousands of family farmers and livestock and poultry producers that the food-to-fuel policy is causing and will cause severe harm to regions in which those farmers and producers operate,” the coalition said.
In fact, dozens of poultry, pork, beef and dairy operations have filed for bankruptcy, been sold or simply gone out of business over the past several months because of rising feed grain prices.
USDA’s Nov. 9 crop report puts this year’s corn harvest at just 10.7 billion bushels, down 13 percent from last year. The ethanol industry will use more than 40 percent of the corn supply next year.
“We now have about one-third less corn than we need to adequately supply animal feed, ethanol, exports and sufficient carry-over levels,” the coalition noted. “But the government continues to mandate that a significant amount of the corn supply be blended next year into gasoline.”
When Congress expanded the RFS in 2007, certain “safety valves” were added to the law. One provision allows the EPA administrator to reduce the required volume of renewable fuel in any year based on severe harm to the economy or environment of a state, a region or the United States.
A bipartisan group of 34 senators and 156 house members and nine governors also petitioned EPA to grant a waiver of the federal requirement for the production of corn ethanol because the mandate, coupled with a drought that has reduced yields and pushed up prices of feed grains, has caused the severe economic harm for which Congress added “safety valves.”
“Unfortunately, EPA chose to ignore all of them by issuing a decision that is going to cost more American jobs, put family farmers and ranchers out of business, create an animal feed crisis and cause food costs to soar in the coming months,” the coalition concluded.
Coalition Urges Passage of New Farm Bill This Year
The American Sheep Industry Association joined a coalition of 235 agriculture organizations urging Congressional leadership for the passage of a new five-year Farm Bill to be signed into law by the end of the legislative session.
In a letter addressed to Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives John Boehner,
Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Minority Whip Steny
Hoyer, the coalition noted the importance of the legislation.
“Failure to pass a new five-year Farm Bill before the year’s end will create significant budget uncertainty for the entire agricultural sector, including the rural businesses and lenders whose livelihoods are dependent upon farmers’ and livestock producers’ economic viability,” the letter states.
The letter also urged Congress to pass a new five-year bill, offering that a temporary extension would be a “short-sighted, inadequate solution that would leave our constituencies crippled by uncertainty.”
The coalition undersigning the letter was comprised of organizations representing the farming, livestock, specialty crop, feed, rural development, nutrition, health, conservation, woodland owners, municipalities, trade, agricultural research, crop insurance and renewable energy communities.
Holiday Lamb Recipe Contest
From now through Dec. 14, fans of lamb are invited to post their ewe-nique family recipes along with a quote about why they love American lamb on the American Lamb Board’s (ALB) Facebook Page,www.facebook.com/AmericanLamb, or on Twitter or Pinterest using the hashtag #AmericanLambFamilyRecipe. Weekly winners, chosen at random, will receive a lamb cut of their choice for a family feast. A panel of lamb-lovin’ chefs will review all entries and choose a grand prize winner, who will receive a $500 gift certificate to a restaurant in their hometown that serves American lamb. Winners will be announced each week, as well as the grand prize winner on Dec. 17, via Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
“Faces of Farming and Ranching”
U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) started a movement to bring more farmers and ranchers together to answer people’s questions about how their food is grown and raised. Many voices are leading conversations about food – and often leaving the people who grow and raise our food out. USFRA sought to change that.
Over the summer, USFRA kicked-off a nationwide search to find the “Faces of Farming and Ranching” to help put a real face on agriculture. More than 100 farmers and ranchers from all across the country entered for their shot at becoming a face of agriculture – one who will be sharing stories and experiences on a national stage to help shift conversations about food production and set the record straight about the way we feed our nation.
From the large group of passionate, dedicated farmers and ranchers, nine finalists were selected. They include Chris Chinn (Mo.), Will Gilmer (Ala.), Daphne Holterman (Wis.), Brenda Kirsch (Ore.), Tim Nilsen (Calif.), Eric McClam (S.C.), Katie Pratt (Ill.), Bo Stone (N.C.) and Janice Wolfinger (Ohio).
From Nov. 15 through Dec. 15, people can visit www.fooddialogues.com to learn more about each of the nine finalists and the work they do. Consumers, farmers and ranchers are asked to vote for who they believe best represents those across the country who work to bring food to the table.
In addition to the public vote, a panel of judges will interview and evaluate the finalists to help determine the winners of “Faces of Farming and Ranching.” Winners will be announced in early January 2013.
U.S.-EU FTA Must Include Agriculture
A coalition of U.S. food and agricultural organizations reiterated today that any trade deal between the United States and the European Union (EU) must include agriculture and that the EU must address non-tariff trade barriers.
In a letter signed by 60 organizations sent to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the coalition said it is important that any Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the EU be comprehensive and address impediments to trade in agricultural products. The coalition sent a similar letter in January.
“Carried out properly,” wrote the coalition to U.S. Trade Ambassador Ron Kirk, “a U.S.-EU FTA would generate economic growth and create many thousands of new jobs on both sides of the Atlantic.”
That means negotiating a high-standard, 21st-century agreement, something that has been central to the Obama administration trade policy, the coalition pointed out. But that is not the type of agreements the EU has negotiated with other trading partners.
“We cannot help but be skeptical that the EU is prepared to undertake a U.S.-style comprehensive negotiation and to include the agricultural sector,” the coalition wrote.
Sage Grouse Database Goes Live
This week, the Public Lands Council (PLC) rolled out its sage grouse database, a library designed to make information pertaining to sage grouse conservation available to the public land grazing community.
Grazing is compatible with and beneficial to sage grouse habitat conservation, and this library is intended to provide members of the public lands grazing community with the scientific, legal and policy resources to support that fact as plans develop. The documents provide a balanced perspective and sound scientific information that should shape the policy decisions and legal proceedings that are rapidly developing.
Watch The Dust Bowl
The roots of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Services come to life in Ken Burns’ documentary, “The Dust Bowl,” airing on PBS Sunday and Monday, Nov. 18 and 19.
The film chronicles the worst man-made ecological disaster in American history, in which the frenzied wheat boom of the “Great Plow-Up,” followed by a decade-long drought during the 1930′s nearly swept away the breadbasket of the nation. Vivid interviews with 26 survivors of those hard times, combined with dramatic photographs and seldom seen movie footage, bring to life stories of incredible human suffering and equally incredible human perseverance.
A preview of the film is available at www.pbs.org/kenburns/dustbowl.
Climate Change Study Raises Doubt about Drought
A study published this week in the journal Nature argues that a changing climate does not necessarily mean more regions around the world will be affected by drought.
Researchers from the Australian National University (ANU) and Princeton University in New Jersey say many previous studies made predictions about the increased global extent of drought based on an assumption that higher temperatures always mean more drought.
ANU’s Michael Roderick, Ph.D., said that overstates the importance of temperature, and doesn’t sufficiently account for factors like sunlight, humidity and wind.
“But people didn’t have measurements of that at sufficient density, so their formula actually presupposes that drought will increase with temperature,” he said. “When we’ve done the calculations, we don’t find that. We find some places where drought has increased, and other places where drought has decreased, but overall there’s been very little change in global drought since 1950.”
Weekly National Market Prices for Wool
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s prices for wool can be accessed at www.fsa.usda.gov/FSA/webapp?area=home&subject=prsu&topic=col-nl-wm. The effective repayment rate is the lower of either the 30-day average or weekly rate.
Ungraded Wool 40 cents 49 cents Not Available Unshorn Pelt
Ungraded Wool LDP
Not Available Wool LDPs are not available when the weekly repayment rate is above loan rate.
Market Summary, Week ending November 9, 2012
Feeder Prices, San Angelo: 45-60 lbs. for 112-122 $/cwt.; 62 lbs. for $112/cwt.; 70-80 lbs. for $106/cwt.
Slaughter Prices – Negotiated, Live, wooled and shorn 127-170 lbs. for 88.88-115 $/cwt. (wtd. ave. 102.05)
Slaughter Prices – Formula1, 2,853 head at 192.75-236.42 $/cwt. for 80.30 ave. lbs.; 4,611 head at 196.80-223.31 $/cwt. for 91.50 ave. lbs.
Equity Electronic Auction, wooled 145 lbs. for $90/cwt.
Cutout Value/Net Carcass Value2, $271.80/cwt.
Carcass Price, Choice and Prime, YG 1-4, weighted averages, 1,072 head at 55-65 lbs. for $282.18/cwt., 1,592 head at 65-75 lbs. for $254.69/cwt., 1,866 head at 75-85 lbs. for $236.14/cwt., 1,465 head at 85 lbs. and up for $205.17/cwt.
Boxed Lamb, weighted average prices ($/cwt.), Trimmed 4″ Loins $516.06, Rack, roast-ready, frenched $1,070.40, Leg, trotter-off, partial boneless $492.87, Ground lamb $534.79, Shoulder, square-cut $241.43
Imported Boxed Lamb, weighted average prices ($/cwt), AUS Rack (fresh, frenched, cap-off, 24-28 oz & 28 oz/up) $895.66, AUS Shoulder (fresh, square-cut) $203.51, AUS Leg (fresh, semi-boneless) $294.53, AUS Rack (frozen, frenched, cap-off, 20-24 oz to 28 oz/up) $883.79, NZ Rack (frozen, frenched, cap-off, 12-16 oz & 20 oz/up) $1,137.25.
Exported Adult Sheep, 0.
Wool, Price ($/pound) Clean, Delivered, 17-Week Old Price Denoted with *: 18 micron (Grade 80s) NA, 19 micron (Grade 80s) NA, 20 micron (Grade 70s) 3.73*, 21 micron (Grade 64-70s) 4.36, 22 micron (Grade 64s) 3.99, 23 micron (Grade 62s) 3.78, 24 micron (Grade 60-62s) 3.63, 25 micron (Grade 58s) 3.28, 26 micron (Grade 56-58s) 2.90, 27 micron (Grade 56s) 2.51, 28 micron (Grade 54s) NA, 29 micron (Grade 50-54s) NA, 30-34 micron (Grade 44-50s) NA.
Australian Wool, Clean, delivered FOB warehouse & gross producers ($/pound), 18 micron (Grade 80s) 4.69-5.32, 19 micron (Grade 80s) 4.34-4.92, 20 micron (Grade 70s) 4.00-4.53, 21 micron (Grade 64-70s) 3.95-4.48, 22 micron (Grade 64s) 3.82-4.33, 23 micron (Grade 62s) 3.79-4.30, 24 micron (Grade 60-62s) 3.59-4.07, 25 micron (Grade 58s) NA, 26 micron (Grade 56-58s) 3.03-3.43, 28 micron (Grade 54s) 2.19-2.48, 30 micron (Grade 50s) 2.00-2.27, 32 micron (Grade 46-48s) 1.78-2.01, Merino Clippings 2.32-2.63.
1Prices reported for the two weight categories of the largest volume traded. Second, multiplying the carcass prices by an estimated 50.4% dressing percentage yields live weight prices. 2The cutout value is the same as a net carcass value. It is a composite value that sums the value of the respective lamb cuts multiplied by their weights. It is also the gross carcass value less processing and packaging costs.
(Source: USDA/Agricultural Marketing Service)