|Consider Lending Your Voice to the Industry
(February 1, 2010) I hope this column finds all of you dealing well with winter and heading into a lucrative lambing season.
As I write this column, the lamb and cull-ewe markets have strengthened in recent months, and it’s terrific to see the return of lamb and cull-ewe prices at or above the levels they were two years ago. As of press time, light lambs and lambs 100 pounds or heavier were selling well over $1, and cull ewes in the north were bringing in more than mid to high 40-cents range, and in Texas, as much as 60 cents a pound or more. It is encouraging to producers to start up another season with positive markets.
We hear similar enthusiasm for a better wool selling season in 2010 as well and the expectation that the Australian currency will see record highs against the U.S. dollar.
I also want to say that it was a pleasure to meet those of you who attended convention in Nashville, and I look forward to another successful year with our producer leaders at the helm.
Anyone in our organization can be a producer leader for the U.S. sheep industry. A great way to do this is to be involved in the various American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) councils, committees, working groups and taskforces that shape our policy and the goals for our future. If you haven’t gotten involved in one of these many avenues to represent the industry, there is no time like the present.
The American Wool Council is tasked to support the American wool industry and to promote the usage of American wool – both in domestic and international markets. The Resource Management Council and its committees for Targeted Grazing, Predator Management and Public Lands, is tasked with representing the needs of U.S. sheep producers in matters of land, water, predators and other resource issues and opportunities. The Production, Education and Research Council and its committees for Animal Health and Genetic Stakeholders, works to maintain and improve the health of the industry’s flocks through ASI efforts and collaborative partnerships. We will be able to report on the ASI Lamb Council study on nontraditional lamb marketing in the next issue of the Sheep Industry News which is a great example of the work the council pursues. The Legislative Action Council champions sheep producers’ causes in the nation’s Capital to ensure that key programs are funded or maintained, and that key pieces of legislation are passed.
Other committees and taskforces include the Livestock Protection Dog Taskforce, which has gained nationwide interest as it works to protect the rights of sheep producers to use livestock protection animals on both public and private lands, the Goat Committee, which may not be taking nominees, as it fulfilled its task of appointing an interim board for the newly formed American Goat Federation, and the ASI Youth Taskforce.
I encourage all of you to let your interest be known and become a voice for your industry through these influential groups. Let your state organization know if you wish to be considered for nomination by mid-February. They will be voted on during the ASI Executive Board’s first meeting of year.
At the association level, the annual Wool Trust Report, which details the progress of the different wool programs for the prior fiscal year that are funded by federal Wool Trust Fund monies, was completed and sent to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for review. We appreciate all the state leaders for getting the requested reports into ASI, as they are an integral part of this and other national reports compiled by the organization.