|ASI Activity for the Month of May
(June 1, 2012) At the January meeting of the American Sheep Industry Association’s (ASI) Board of Directors, a proposal was approved to merge the American Sheep and Goat Center (ASGC) with ASI. After months of work, this merger became finalized in mid-May.
ASGC is the successor organization of the original National Sheep Industry Improvement Center (NSIIC) which by federal statute had to privatize in 2007. All of NSIIC’s authorities were then transferred to ASGC which include the approval of nomination to serve on the National Livestock Producers Association Sheep and Goat Fund Committee and the approval of the Sheep and Goat Fund Committee policies and procedures. ASGC provided grants to numerous sheep industry projects around the country primarily to strengthen infrastructure.
ASGC also purchased Casualty Underwriters Insurance Co. as a long-term investment with the primary goal of helping deliver the Livestock Risk Protection for Lamb insurance program. Funds for further grants were essentially expended at that time; however, the 2008 Farm Bill contained a new center under the U.S. Department of Agriculture which was established to provide grants. ASI secured the new authorization of this center with $1 million in financing.
The reasons behind the merger are to provide savings in administrative costs and consolidate entities within the industry that are serving the same purpose. ASI’s for-profit entity, the Sheep Venture Co., will house the insurance company. The new center will provide grants to the industry and ASI will cover the administrative responsibilities for the sheep industry with the Sheep and Goat Fund Committee. ASI will finalize an extension of a cooperative agreement with the committee to continue the loan program. The insurance company transferred to the Sheep Venture Co. did require state approval for the transfer of ownership and that was accomplished in May.
Also last month, ASI hosted the International Wool Textile Organization Congress (IWTO) in New York City and we were impressed with the number of U. S. wool warehousemen, traders and textile manufacturers who participated in this meeting point for the entire wool industry.
The IWTO membership is primarily textile mills and processors from nearly 20 nations. Although a sheep-producer organization, ASI has been very active in IWTO and has a proven track record in expanding American wool exports which have doubled in the last decade. Due to the limited resources of the remaining textile industry in the United States, ASI support and staff were necessary to serve as host for the world’s wool industry.
The wool industry responded with the largest crowd in many years and relayed nothing but compliments for the ASI planning and execution of a top-notch annual congress!
One of the highlights of the congress was the opening address from renowned U.S. fashion designer, Joseph Abboud, who actually uses wool in almost 80 percent of his designs.
John Fernsell, founder of IBEX Outdoor Clothing, closed the commercial suppliers forum speaking about the need of the wool industry to better communicate wool’s performance qualities and relay the wool grower passion to the consumer. Fernsell says he “likes the price wool is at today,” further explaining that wool producers are facing rising costs and today’s prices are crucial to make the wool industry sustainable for the future.
I am also happy to report that ASI has developed the first draft of the Toolkit for New Sheep Producers to further our effort to grow the national flock. These toolkits were distributed to all the state associations that signed up with ASI for networks of mentors to assist new sheep producers as well as those who had requested one once it was developed. The office has received a number of requests for more of them and staff will be working to fulfill those orders as quickly as possible.
There is a number of good resources included in the toolkit to teach new producers about the production of safe and wholesome food and fiber, the well being of sheep, sheep disease issues, ration software programs and educational opportunities and courses. Also included in the package is a complimentary digital version of ASI’s Sheep Production Handbook.
We hope new producers find this toolkit as a useful resource to help them succeed in the industry. If you would like to place an order for a Toolkit for New Sheep Producers, please contact Mary in the office, 303-771-3500 ext. 46 or email@example.com.