|Industry Strengths: Diversity and Unity
(September 1, 2011) One of the strongest attributes of our industry is the diversity of operations and the broad spectrum of raw materials we produce. Many times we think only of lamb and wool, but we also provide materials for pharmaceutical companies and the material for those great Uggs. And where would the baseball world be without wool felt? The jobs and economic return created by the production of our raw materials is something we can all be proud of.
The executive board meets once a year away from Denver to provide the opportunity for the board to tour and learn about a different aspect of our industry. This July we met in Indianapolis and toured the Poe family’s Hampshire operation. What a wonderful experience! The Poes shared the philosophy they employ in their AI operation, and we were able to walk through all the stations of the procedure and watch Tad Thompson, DVM, and crew in action. Walking around the Poe property and discussing management practices was a tremendous education for our board. It reminded me that our best resources are often times our own producers. I want to extend my appreciation to the Poe family for hosting us and to Bob Benson for his efforts in organizing the meeting.
We have been fortunate to enjoy continued strong prices for both lamb and wool, and according to Scott Brown, economist with the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) at the University of Missouri, “The profitability for livestock producers until 2020 is remarkably robust, particularly in light of the expectation of strong grain prices.” He goes on to say, “Overall, the livestock outlook is pretty optimistic. Volatility will continue to be the norm; thus, it’s important for producers to put risk mitigation strategies in place.”
As sheep producers, the Livestock Risk Protection-Lamb (LRP-Lamb) is a great risk management tool, I encourage you to contact Burdell Johnson of Food and Fiber Risk Management (701-867-9160 or firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions you may have regarding LRP-Lamb.
There were some notes of interest in the annual report of Australia’s Sheepmeat Council regarding the U.S. market. They predict:
• food safety market-access requirements will continue to mount in the United States;
• current moves by commercial retailers to have animal welfare certification could be moved into regulation; and
• nutritional labeling for all meat at retail and for sheepmeat meals at food service is likely
to be expanded as consumers focus on health and nutrition continues to grow.
Australia’s viewpoints highlight the need for American sheep producers to continue to emphasize the natural, humane production methods our industry embodies.
Lastly, I want to extend a huge “thank you” to the companies and producers from across the country that stepped up to the plate and sent letters of support for Congressman Simpson’s legislative language on the bighorn/domestic sheep issue. We are a diverse industry with many different production methods, but we are a united industry when it comes to supporting each other and therein lies our strength. The letters should be very helpful when Interior Appropriations is considered by the full U.S. House this month.