American Sheep Industry Weekly May 20, 2016…

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First Lamb Exports to Taiwan in More than a Decade

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced this week that access to Taiwan for American lamb was approved. American Sheep Industry Association President Burton Pfliger (N.D.) applauds the announcement as this is the first new export-market access for American lamb in years.

“The sheep industry appreciates the department’s efforts in elevating entry for U.S. lamb exports as a market access priority and for making meaningful progress for lamb to move into Taiwan after more than a decade,” comments Pfliger. “We also want to acknowledge the years of assistance from the office of the Governor of Idaho in driving this issue with USDA.

“There are companies shipping beef to Taiwan who are anxious to include their lambs cuts in those shipments,” continues Pfliger. “Hopefully, the white table cloth restaurants will be interested in our high value cuts, such as lamb racks and loins.”

U.S. lamb was collateral damage in several key markets, including Taiwan, following the first U.S. case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in beef in December 2003.

“Reopening these markets has been a top priority for the lamb industry, because lack of access in Asia has been a significant obstacle for U.S. lamb exports,” explains Dennis Stiffler, Ph.D., chief executive officer of Mountain States Rosen and vice chair of the U.S. Meat Export Federation. “Weakness of the Mexican peso and Canadian dollar has recently reduced exports to our two largest markets. So now more than ever, U.S. lamb needs a broader range of alternative destinations. Our industry has had some recent success in the Middle East, Central America and the Caribbean, but we really need greater access to Asian markets in order to meet our export goals. We see the reopening of Taiwan as a great first step.”

Last year, Taiwan imported nearly 17,714 metric tons of lamb and sheep meat products, valued at more than $74 million. In terms of value, the market was split about evenly between Australia and New Zealand – the only two supplying countries currently serving Taiwan. It was the 11th-largest export for New Zealand lamb and sheep meat in 2015 and it was Australia’s 12th-largest market.

Through the first quarter of 2016, U.S. lamb and lamb variety meat exports totaled 2,676 metric tons – up 18 percent year-over-year. However, export value was 16 percent below last year’s pace at $4.5 million.

June 1 is Deadline to Submit Sheep Heritage Scholarship Application

Through the American Sheep Industry Association, a Sheep Heritage Foundation Memorial Scholarship in the amount of $3,000 is being made available for sheep-related graduate-study students. The scholarship is for the advancement of the sheep industry – lamb and wool – through financial support of a graduate-level (M.S. or Ph.D.) student who is attending a school in the United States.

The application form can be downloaded from the home page of or obtained by contacting ASI, Attn: Memorial Scholarship, 9785 Maroon Circle, Suite 360, Englewood, Colo. 80112-2692, 303-771-3500 or email

June 1 is the deadline for all applications.

ASI’s Let’s Grow Grants Support Sustainability of Sheep Industry

During the last 12 months, the American Sheep Industry Association’s Let’s Grow Committee has funded 36 grants infusing more than $671,000 into the American sheep industry nationwide. Ninety-eight grant-requests amounting to more than $2.9 million were submitted to the committee for consideration. Submissions were received from national organizations, state associations, breed groups, producer units and individuals located in more than 30 states spanning the country.

“It is evident to the committee that the sheep industry in the United States remains innovative,” said ASI Let’s Grow Committee Chair Susan Shultz. “Producers and producer groups alike have offered many groundbreaking and inventive ideas for sustaining and improving the industry.”

The Let’s Grow Committee met in Denver in May to review the State Mentor Program applications, as well as the Round 3 grant submissions. Twenty-two mentor grants were supported. Of the 28 Let’s Grow grants submitted, 10 were approved for full or partial funding infusing nearly $185,000 into the industry.

Grants receiving funding in Round 3 of the program show a great amount of diversity and offer educational opportunities for producers across the country. Following are the details of these grants.

  • Western Maryland Commercial Sheep Producer Group – Determining Anthelmintic Resistance in the Southeast U.S. – Scope: Maryland, Virginia, Georgia
  • Producers Marketing Cooperative Incorporated – Producer Group Implementation of the 150 Percent Challenge – Scope: Texas
  • Utah Leading Edge Group – Leading Edge Sheep Production – Part III – Scope: Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada
  • Cornell University – Increasing Annual Lamb Productivity Through the Identification of Genes and Diagnostic Markers for Selection of Out of Season Breeding – Scope: Nationwide
  • American Polypay Association – Expanding the Use and Application of Quantitative Genetics in the Polypay Breed – Scope: Nationwide
  • Dakota Lamb Growers Cooperative – GM1 Sheep Production for Huntington’s Disease: Training Videos, Record Management and Cooperator Communications – Scope: Nationwide
  • National Sheep Improvement Program – NSIP Producer Profiles and Genetics Exchange Website – Scope: Nationwide
  • RightRisk, LLC – Business Tools for Success – Scope: Nationwide
  • Montana Wool Growers Association – Next Generation Wool Grower Program – Scope: Montana
  • Montgomery Sheep Farm – Southeastern U.S. Grass-Based Pipestone-Model Lamb Production – Scope: Southeastern U.S.

It is the expectation of the committee that they will offer Round 4 of the grant application process in the fall of 2016. The priorities to be addressed in that round of funding will be reviewed and refined prior to the application being made available.

Anyone wishing to follow the progress of the funded grants can find an executive summary and a progress report at by clicking on the Funded Projects tab. As work on the grants is accomplished, updates are made available.

Wool Prices Hold

Anticipation of how central banks in Australia and the United States will set interest rates in the coming months seemed to put downward pressure on the Australian dollar, which fell again this week to close at 72.09 U.S. cents. The currency, which has fallen 8 percent in the past month, appears to be a major factor affecting the Australian wool market with the weaker currency keeping wool prices buoyant.

The market had two sluggish selling days across all centers pushing the Australian Wool Exchange Eastern Market Indicator to 1291 to finish the week 4 cents higher. The true effect of the currency movements on the wool market, however, is revealed when looking at the EMI in U.S. dollar terms.

Despite the modest increase in Australian dollar terms, the EMI finished a noteworthy 14 cents lower on a U.S. dollar basis.

Amendment to Close Berry Amendment Loophole Advances

Groups supporting Made In America fought another effort this week that would have weakened the Berry Amendment.

The House and Senate Armed Services Committee’s versions of the National Defense Authorization Act each contained a provision (Section 808) that would close a loophole created by the Department of Defense to skirt the Berry Amendment with respect to athletic footwear. Although athletic shoes are part of the uniform that recruits are required to wear, most of the branches avoid the Berry Amendment by issuing a “voucher” to the recruits and asking them to buy sneakers from the exchanges instead.

In a letter to the leadership of the Rules Committee, the American Sheep Industry Association joined 17 other organizations representing a strong spectrum of associations, organized labor and a variety of different sections asking for support to oppose an amendment by Rep. Mark Sanford (S.C.) that would have struck Section 808 from the bills.

“We have long disagreed with the policy that has allowed athletic footwear for certain services to be furnished to U.S. troops outside the Berry Amendment. Singling out certain types of footwear for procurement outside the Berry Amendment creates a damaging precedent that undermines these important protections altogether,” the groups wrote.

Legislative action this week maintained Section 808 in both the House and Senate versions of the NDAA, strengthening the Berry Amendment and supporting Made In America.

Fifty-Plus Ag Groups Show Support for Farm Credit System

With farm and ranch commodity prices increasingly under pressure, concerns are growing that the agriculture economy may be entering a prolonged period of instability, making the role of the Farm Credit System more important than ever, the American Sheep Industry Association and more than 50 agricultural groups wrote to the Senate Agriculture Committee.

“Credit availability in good times is singularly important to our respective members. Credit availability in tough times may well mean the difference between producers staying on the land or being forced to abandon their operations,” the groups wrote.

“It is our belief that the FCS and commercial banks play a critical role in ensuring that farmers, ranchers and other rural Americans have access to constructive, competitive credit on an ongoing basis. We need all the resources that can be made available to sustain agriculture and rural America now and into the future,” according to the groups.

The groups sent the letter ahead of a Senate Agriculture Committee Farm Credit System oversight hearing held May 19.

Pendleton and Britannica Launch New Home Textiles Collection

Pendleton Woolen Mills, a globally acclaimed-lifestyle brand headquartered in Portland, Ore. and Britannica Home Fashions, a marketer and manufacturer of premium bedding and home fashions in New York City, announced a new license for Pendleton Home beginning fall 2016. The Britannica x Pendleton license will leverage Pendleton’s iconic woolen blankets and design archives with companion non-wool fabrics of sateen, cotton, percale and blended fabrics from Britannica, to create exciting and unique styles for top of the bed, bath and home.

Pendleton Home products will include, sheets, coverlets, duvets, matelassé, cotton blankets, table linens, decorative pillows and bath textiles; a graphic and textural blend of Pendleton design aesthetics and woolen blankets with Britannica’s expertise of complementing non-wool fabrics.

Reprinted in part from Textiles and Trade

Bill Retains 34-Hour Restart Provision

The American Sheep Industry Association is part of a coalition of other agricultural organizations and businesses to keep language in the fiscal 2017 transportation funding bill that would allow certain truck drivers to use the “34-hour restart” provision of the Hours of Service rules of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

The provision, adopted in 2003, let drivers, who were limited to 70 hours of driving in a week, to “restart” the week by taking a 34-hour break, including two, back-to-back periods of rest between 1 and 5 a.m. New Hours of Service regulations that went into effect July 1, 2013, required drivers to limit their restart to once a week and to include at least two nights off duty from 1 to 5 a.m. In December 2014, Congress suspended the new restart provision until Sept. 30, 2015, and required the FMCSA to determine if it actually decreased driver fatigue.

The language adopted this week in both the House and the Senate Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies appropriations bills retains the 34-hour restart provision regardless of the outcome of the FMCSA study. It also would prevent drivers from abusing the provision by capping the amount of time they can drive or be on duty at 73 hours in a seven-day period.

Meet the Remarkable Team Players on this Maine Sheep Farm

Gwen and Bea are diligent workers at Stoneheart Farm in South Paris, Maine, and they enjoy being with the sheep. They get the work done but they’re not your normal farmhands. They’re border collies.

“I could not do what we do on this farm without these dogs. They make all the difference,” said John Simmons, who runs the farm in western Maine with his wife, Doreen.

The Maine Cooperative Extension created a short documentary as part of a video series called “Growing Maine” to bring people closer to farmers and producers, to better understand how they do what they do.

Watch the video 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.

GREASE PRICES in $ per pound

Ungraded Wool

40 cents
56 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 May 13, 2016
Feeder Prices ($/cwt.), San Angelo: 40 lbs. for 200; 60 lbs. for 194; 70-80 lbs. for 164-178; 80-90 lbs. for 170-173; 95-105 lbs. for 161-168.
Slaughter Prices – Negotiated ($/cwt.), wooled and shorn 129-182 lbs. for 126.51-150 (wtd avg 134.86).
Slaughter Prices – Formula, No prices reported due to confidentiality.
Equity Electronic Auction, No sales.
Cutout Value/Net Carcass Value1, $310.52/cwt.
Carcass Price, Choice and Prime, YG 1-4, $/cwt., weighted averages, 414 head at 55-65 lbs. not reported due to confidentiality; 1,088 head at 65-75 lbs. for 284.91, 1,363 head at 75-85 lbs. for 275.72; 1,804 head at 85+ lbs. not reported due to confidentiality .
Boxed Lamb, weighted average prices ($/cwt.), Trimmed 4″ Loins 518.09, Rack, roast-ready, frenched (cap-on) 1,307.43, Rack, roast-ready, frenched, special (cap-off) 1,767.22, Leg, trotter-off, partial boneless 480.39, Shoulder, square-cut 278.17, Ground lamb 455.38.
Imported Boxed Lamb, weighted average prices ($/cwt.), AUS Rack (fresh, frenched, cap-off, 28 oz/up) 840.16, AUS Shoulder (fresh, square-cut) 188.03, AUS Leg (fresh, semi boneless) 378.21, AUS Rack (frozen, frenched, cap-off, 28 oz/up) 687.09, NZ Rack (frozen, frenched, cap-off, 20 oz/up) 744.91, AUS Shoulder (frozen, square-cut) 167.93.
Exported Adult Sheep, 0 head
Wool, Price ($/pound) Clean, Delivered, Prices from 2 weeks ago: 18 micron (Grade 80s) 4.52, 19 micron (Grade 80s) 4.42, 20 micron (Grade 70s) 4.04-4.17, 21 micron (Grade 64-70s) 3.91-4.09, 22 micron (Grade 64s) 3.69-3.89, 23 micron (Grade 62s) 3.45-4.02, 24 micron (Grade 60-62s) 3.22-3.40, 25 micron (Grade 58s) 3.06-3.26, 26 micron (Grade 56-58s) NA, 27 micron (Grade 56s) NA, 28 micron (Grade 54s) 2.36, 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) 3.98-4.51, 19 micron (Grade 80s) 3.87-4.38, 20 micron (Grade 70s) 3.69-4.18, 21 micron (Grade 64-70s) 3.63-4.11, 22 micron (Grade 64s) 3.56-4.04, 23 micron (Grade 62s) 3.50-3.97, 24 micron (Grade 60-62s) NA, 25 micron (Grade 58s) 3.02-3.42, 26 micron (Grade 56-58s) 2.76-3.13, 28 micron (Grade 54s) 2.10-2.38, 30 micron (Grade 50s) 1.83-2.07, 32 micron (Grade 46-48s) 1.61-1.82, Merino Clippings 2.80-3.18.
1The 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’S AMS

Loan Rate
LDP Rate
Week of 5/18/16
Graded Wool
CLEAN PRICES in $ per pound
<18.6 Micron
$.04 LDP Available
Not Available
Not Available
Not Available
Not Available
Not Available
Not Available
> 29 Micron
Not Available

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:
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