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Posted by Brian Allmer on March 1, 2013

ASI Council and Committee Assignments Made

The executive board of the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) this week agreed on appointments to its many councils and committees that support the work of the sheep industry.

President Clint Krebs (Ore.), who led the charge by assigning council and committee leadership stated, “The sheep industry is grateful to the many producers and industry affiliates who offer up their time and expertise to do the work of the industry. Without the dedication of our many volunteers, the association would be able to complete only a portion of the work laid out before it.”

Appointment letters are being mailed today to more than 200 sheep producers and feeders nationwide.

The American Wool Council appointees will oversee the largest share of ASI’s programs and workload. The Legislative Action Council receives a large number of nominations and is the biggest council of volunteer leaders, which is fitting since ASI is the national trade association with an office in Washington, D.C. The animal health, predator management and lamb groups all follow suit with considerable interest from sheep producers who wish to have input on the association’s policies and the tie back to the U.S. Department of Agriculture whether it be livestock protection, disease, trade or regulatory issues.

Attendees were reminded of the May 6-8 dates of the upcoming ASI Legislative Trip to Washington, D.C., and encouraged to participate.

AAC Offers 2013 Farm Bill Recommendations

The Animal Agriculture Coalition’s (AAC) 2013 Farm Bill recommendations letter was sent this week to the members of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees with a copy to Secretary Vilsack. The American Sheep Industry Association is an AAC member. 

“As you begin your work to pass a new bipartisan, five-year Farm Bill, the AAC-which is comprised of most major animal and animal-related commodity organizations as well as allied organizations representing veterinary medicine, animal science and various livestock sectors or animal agriculture interests in the United States-looks forward to working with you to ensure that farm policy benefits all agriculture interests. It is critical that the new draft bolsters the long-term ability of U.S. animal agriculture to be competitive in the global marketplace and provides consumers around the world with safe, wholesome, affordable food that is produced in a sustainable manner. We urge Congress to pass a comprehensive five-year Farm Bill this year, as the agriculture industry cannot weather another temporary extension.”

AAC stressed that research and education productivity is hampered by insufficient funding for both the Agricultural Research Service and the National Institute for Food and Agriculture’s Agriculture, Food and Research Institute. Therefore, an investment in more resources on animal health, livestock, poultry and aquaculture production, as well as in new animal products research was urged.

“Expenditures for animal health are just 7 percent of those designated for human health research. Investment in animal health and production innovation for the world’s 25 billion chickens and turkeys, more than 1 billion cattle and sheep, 750 million pigs and goats and more than 1 billion companion animals is grossly insufficient,” the letter continued.

Additional provisions supported by AAC with a direct impact on the U.S. sheep industry include the reauthorization of the Foreign Agriculture Service’s Market Access and Foreign Market Development Programs through 2017.

Because most drug approvals are sought only for those animal species that are produced in sufficient numbers to support large volume sales, specifically the major species (i.e., cattle, swine, chickens and turkeys), the private sector has little incentive to secure label claims for minor or specialty species. High costs associated with generating data necessary for approval with limited economic return has precluded adequate drug development for the management of diseases in minor species (i.e., sheep, farmed bison, reindeer, deer and fallow deer, meat and dairy goats, catfish, trout, finfish, lobster, game birds, rabbits and honey bees). Therefore, the inclusion of a Minor Use Animal Drug Program (MUADP) is being supported.

AAC also supports a competitive grant program within the Agricultural Marketing Service for the purpose of improving the U.S. sheep industry. The grant program would help to strengthen and enhance the production and marketing of sheep and sheep products, including improvement of infrastructure, business, resource development and innovative approaches to solve long-term needs with $1.5 million in mandatory funds and authorized at $3 million for each fiscal year 2013 through 2017.

Vilsack Warns of Meat Shortages Due to Furloughs 

Automatic U.S. budget cuts set to take effect today will eventually cause meat shortages due to layoffs of safety inspectors, but the government may stagger the furloughs to lessen the impact, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack said Wednesday in an interview with Reuters.

“At some point, you’re going to have shortages,” Vilsack said. “The reality is there are going to be disruptions.”

He said USDA would try to minimize the impact on consumers and the meat industry by staggering the furloughs but did not specify a timetable for when those cuts would occur.

Although the budget cuts are due to take effect Friday, USDA’s various labor contracts require between 30 and 120 days’ notice on furloughs, which would affect the date on which furloughs would begin.

A group of U.S senators, led by Sen. Grassley (Iowa), is asking Vilsack to clarify how meat inspectors can be furloughed under sequestration and provide the legal rationale that would allow it to occur.

“Furloughing meat inspectors may shut down meat and poultry facilities and harm workers, farmers and consumers. I find it hard to believe that reductions can’t be made elsewhere in the department that doesn’t impact health and safety,” Grassley said in a statement. Reprinted in part from

Ranchers Develop Methodology to Respond to Drought

Like a general mapping out his strategy before going into battle, a rancher must be prepared to respond effectively to drought, one of the biggest threats to Great Plains ranchers. With the input of ranchers and advisers, a drought-planning methodology has been created to encourage more ranchers to develop advance plans.

Drought-planning concepts are examined in the current issue of the journal Rangelands. Noting that “a strategic objective of every ranch should be to strive for drought resilience,” the National Drought Mitigation Center interviewed and brought together ranchers and advisers to develop this planning methodology.

The many aspects of a drought plan include how a ranch operation will maintain natural resources, production, financial health, customer relations and lifestyle. However, drought planning is essentially part of a larger vision for a ranch. This vision might include the importance of native grass, livestock, wildlife and people in its overall goals.

The article is available in the February 2013 issue of Rangelands at

Online Resources for the Sheep Industry

For the past several years, Susan Schoenian, Sheep and Goat Specialist with the University of Maryland Extension, has been conducting webinar short courses for sheep and goat producers. The short courses include 4 to 6 individual webinars and participants can log in from home.

Several topics are available to view including Breeding Better Sheep and Goats, Nutrition and Feeding, Spring Worms and Ewe and Doe Management.

These webinars are available at There are also links to the PowerPoint presentations that accompanied each webinar.

Also available is a one-hour archived webinar, Farm Animal Biosecurity — Manage Disease Risks on the Farm, for livestock producers and extension educators. This course was developed for the cooperative extension system and can be accessed at


Weekly National Market Prices for Wool 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s prices for wool can be accessed at The effective repayment rate is the lower of either the 30-day average or weekly rate.

< 18.6 Micron 3.88 5.13 Not Available 18.6-19.5 3.38 4.99 Not Available 19.6-20.5 2.94 4.68 Not Available 20.6-22.0 2.72 4.61 Not Available 22.1-23.5 2.56 4.51 Not Available 23.6-25.9 2.33 3.52 Not Available 26.0-28.9 1.78 2.11 Not Available > 29 Micron 1.38 1.77 Not Available
GREASE PRICES in $ per pound

Ungraded Wool 40 cents 49 cents Not Available Unshorn Pelt

6.865 lbs x
Ungraded Wool LDP

Not Available Wool LDPs are not available when the weekly repayment rate is above loan rate.

Market Summary, Week ending February 22, 2013
Feeder Prices
, San Angelo: new crop 50-60 lbs. for 160-162 $/cwt.; 60-70 lbs. for 150-162 $/cwt., 70-80 lbs. 140-150 $/cwt.
Slaughter Prices – Negotiated, Live, wooled and shorn 119-183 lbs. for 107.24-123 $/cwt. (wtd. ave. 118.17)
Slaughter Prices – Formula1, 3,887 head at 224-291 $/cwt. for 78.60 ave. lbs.; 3,282 head at 190.01-223.04 $/cwt. for 92.90 ave. lbs.
Equity Electronic Auction, no sale.
Cutout Value/Net Carcass Value2, $254.97/cwt.
Carcass Price, Choice and Prime, YG 1-4, weighted averages, 773 head at 55-65 lbs. for $286/cwt., 1,154 head at 65-75 lbs. for $257.38/cwt., 1,598 head at 75-85 lbs. for $237.25/cwt., 1,914 head at 85 lbs. and up for $214.11/cwt.
Boxed Lamb, weighted average prices ($/cwt.), Trimmed 4″ Loins $426.20, Rack, roast-ready, frenched $1,022.58, Leg, trotter-off, partial boneless $483.51, Ground lamb $540.63, Shoulder, square-cut $237.29.
Imported Boxed Lamb, weighted average prices ($/cwt), AUS Rack (fresh, frenched, cap-off, 20-24 oz to 28 oz/up) $919.87, AUS Shoulder (fresh, square-cut) $194.91, NZ Rack (fresh, frenched, cap-off, 20 oz/up) NA, AUS Leg (fresh, boneless) NA, AUS Rack (frozen, frenched, cap-off, 20-24 oz to 28 oz/up) $829.69, NZ Rack (frozen, frenched, cap-off, 12-16 oz) $924.69, AUS Shoulder (frozen, square-cut) $174.90
Exported Adult Sheep, From 2 weeks ago: 349.
Wool, Price ($/pound) (*Denotes new prices.) Clean, Delivered, 18 micron (Grade 80s) NA, 19 micron (Grade 80s) NA, 20 micron (Grade 70s) NA, 21 micron (Grade 64-70s) $4.44, 22 micron (Grade 64s) $4.32, 23 micron (Grade 62s) $4.13*, 24 micron (Grade 60-62s) $3.51, 25 micron (Grade 58s) $3.22, 26 micron (Grade 56-58s) NA, 27 micron (Grade 56s) NA, 28 micron (Grade 54s) NA, 29 micron (Grade 50-54s) NA, 30-34 micron (Grade 44-50s) $1.80*.
Australian Wool, Clean, delivered FOB warehouse & gross producers ($/pound) 18 micron (Grade 80s) 4.87-5.52, 19 micron (Grade 80s) 4.74-5.37, 20 micron (Grade 70s) 4.45-5.04, 21 micron (Grade 64-70s) 4.42-5.01, 22 micron (Grade 64s) 4.36-4.94, 23 micron (Grade 62s) 4.29-4.87, 24 micron (Grade 60-62s) NA, 25 micron (Grade 58s) 3.29-3.73, 26 micron (Grade 56-58s) 2.92-3.31, 28 micron (Grade 54s) 2.27-2.57, 30 micron (Grade 50s) 2.13-2.41, 32 micron (Grade 46-48s) 1.81-2.05, Merino Clippings 2.72-3.08.
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)


American Sheep Industry Association; 9785 Maroon Circle, Suite 360; Englewood, CO 80112-2692
Phone: (303) 771-3500 Fax: (303) 771-8200 Writer/Editor: Judy Malone E-mail:
Web sites: and

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