|Ringing in the Holidays with an Industry Update
(December 1, 2009) Your executive board met Nov. 9-10, and the Re-building the American Sheep Inventory Committee met Nov. 10-11.
On the lamb side of the industry, the export markets for American sheep products to the Middle East and Asia, which were discovered in an American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) investigation of emerging markets, were reviewed during the meetings.
The executive board also visited with Superior Farms’ officials at the Denver lamb plant to view the new instrument grading system for lamb carcasses. The first of four data-collection periods was conducted in October. ASI’s Lamb Council, Colorado State University and Superior jointly supported the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service project to conduct this trial for grading of lamb.
On the wool side of the industry, there was extensive discussion of an opportunity for ASI to secure equipment and a process for a washable wool application in America. Commonly referred to as ‘superwash,’ the process will enable the production of more wool products for the U.S. military and commercial markets with American wool. The executive board fully encouraged ASI to continue the search and investigation of purchasing the equipment to be used by U.S. textile firms.
On other fronts of the industry, a report from the livestock protection dog working group focused on a draft certification program for management of dogs and avoidance of conflicts with humans. The working group met in November to review the program with the expectation to provide a plan at the January convention.
The Legislative Council reported on the status of numerous issues the association is tracking from food safety to H-2A sheepherders to efforts of building more partners with the support of the USDA’s Wildlife Services (WS). ASI recently worked with the National Association of Counties which this summer adopted supportive policy of WS.
The Goat Committee reported on progress of the American Goat Federation, which has set plans to meet with the sheep industry at the annual convention.
And as customary of recent executive board meetings, the bighorn sheep controversy was discussed at length.
On another note, Texas weather has been great. We have had moisture and a ‘real’ fall, with cool mornings and warm afternoons. We even have some wonderful fall colors this year. I hope all of you have had decent weather and it continues until spring.
Thanksgiving has come and gone, and it is great to pause and count our blessings. We have so many and we need to recognize them all and give thanks. For me, Thanksgiving and Christmas are family times and times to make memories of a lifetime. I hope you and yours experience the same.
As we end this year and start another, I look back and think that the sheep industry has fared well through the recession and the change in administration in Washington, D.C. Sure, we have not won all the battles, but the war is not over in any area, and it gives us opportunities to win more battles next year. The officers, executive board and staff have worked hard on issues important to our state associations, and we will continue to work. I urge you to come to Nashville for the convention, Jan. 20-23, and be a part of the decisions to establish the issues for next year.
ASI does not exist without individual producers who support their state associations. We thank you!
Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.