- Lamb Access to Taiwan Approved – American Lamb was given access to the Taiwan market for the first time since it was collateral damage following the first U.S. case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in beef in 2003. In 2015, Taiwan imported nearly 17,714 metric tons of lamb and sheep meat products from Australia and New Zealand, valued at more than $74 million.
- New American Wool Logo Unveiled – The ASI Wool Council debuted its updated American wool logo that brings the industry’s image up to par with the products being created with this innovative, sustainable fiber.
- Sheep Inventory Up – For the second consecutive year, the all sheep and lamb inventory, as reported by USDA, was up.
- Scrapie Proposed Rule Published – The proposed rule to amend the regulations on the scrapie eradication program (the first in 15 years) was published and ASI delivered comments.
- Let’s Grow Grants Support Increased Efficiency – In two separate funding cycles, the Let’s Grow Committee reviewed 55 grant applications approving nearly $400,000 in funding. Since May 2015, the committee has funded 50 grants infusing more than $865,000 into the American sheep industry nationwide.
- Berry Amendment Protected – An assault to weaken the impact of the U.S. military’s Buy American Berry Amendment was thwarted. The procurement of American made items for the Department of Defense remains in effect.
- Forest Service in Contempt for Using Flawed Study to Ban Sheep – The U.S. District Court held that the Secretary of Agriculture and the Chief of the U.S. Forest Service were in contempt of court for relying on two illegal reports on disease transmission from livestock to bighorn sheep.
- Sheep Experiment Station Celebrates 100 Years – For 100 years, the American sheep industry has counted on the valuable research performed at the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station. Being the only research facility dedicated to sheep, the station remains valuable to the industry.
- Development of Educational Materials – ASI released its three-part video series, How to Handle Sheep, detailing the process of handling sheep through the entire life span of the animal. Also, the updated Sheep Production Handbook became available this year, as well as the U.S. Baseline Lamb Cost of Production Model. Let’s Grow Webinars continued to draw large participation and the 12 Best Practices one-pagers were developed. All information is available at www.sheepusa.org.
- Mandatory Price Reporting – USDA reviewed comments submitted to its final rule but chose not to implement industry recommendations. Some weekly lamb prices became unavailable due to USDA’s interpretation of industry structural changes resulting in the unavailability of Livestock Risk Protection-Lamb for most of the year.
- UW-Madison Dairy Sheep Program Closed – Eighty years of research and outreach came to an end with the dispersal of the dairy sheep flock at the Spooner Agricultural Research Station at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
By Dan Armitage, host of Buckeye Sportsman, Ohio’s longest running outdoor radio show This past summer, …