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ASI WEEKLY – Nov 14, 2014

November 14, 2014

American Sheep Industry Association; 9785 Maroon Circle, Suite 360; Englewood, CO 80112-2692
Phone: (303) 771-3500 Fax: (303) 771-8200 Writer/Editor: Judy Malone E-mail:
Web sites: and

150th Celebration Update

The National Wool Act was signed in 1954 by President Dwight Eisenhower. It provided incentives to producers to encourage an annual production of 300 million pounds of shorn wool as a measure of national security and economic welfare. The National Wool Growers Association sought administration action to address wool and textile imports and the White House responded with the alternative of the incentive program. As part of the passage of the Act, the American Sheep Producers Council was formed in 1955 to promote both lamb meat and wool.

Current Information: John Ascuaga’s Nugget Resort and Casino has been renamed the JA Nugget Resort and Casino after its sale. Attendees will detect changes in the property from capital investments made by the new owners. Some of the changes that will be evident include:

  • the casino floor has been upgraded,
  • Trader Dick’s is now Gilley’s Saloon, Dance Hall & Bar-b-que;
  • the lobby is being renovated;
  • a new sports betting area has been created; and
  • Orozko’s Restaurant has been converted into a private function space.

Things that remain unchanged are John Ascuaga, who remains with the property in an ambassador role, and the continuation of Chef Norton’s great lamb meals.

Make your reservations now to join the American Sheep Industry Association for its 150th Celebrations in Reno, Nev., Jan. 28-31, 2015.

Last Chance to Nominate for ASI Awards

Tomorrow, Nov. 15, is the deadline for the submission of all nominations for the annual American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) awards program.

Three award categories are available for nomination — the McClure Silver Ram Award, the Camptender Award and the Distinguished Producer Award. Please note that past award recipients are not eligible. Awards will be presented at the ASI Convention, Jan. 28-31, 2015, in Reno, Nev.

Additional information and the nomination form are available at, by clicking on the “2014 Award Program” link located on the home page.

USDA to Survey Sheep Operations

Starting in late December, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will measure sheep inventories and wool production during a nationwide survey.

Operators surveyed will be asked to provide information about their sheep inventories, counts of lambs born during 2014 and production and prices received for wool. NASS will contact about 23,000 operations nationwide to request their responses to the survey.

“Accurate date on sheep inventory and production is a critical decision-making tool for USDA and the industry in order to be more responsive to domestic and international markets and consumer needs,” said Joseph Prusacki, NASS national operations division director.

Survey results will be published in the Sheep and Goats report on Jan. 30, 2015.

AU Wool Prices Lift

There were further gains in the Australian wool market this week with the Eastern Market Indicator (EMI) up nine cents in U.S. dollars. The lift in the market came despite a 1-cent rise in the Australian dollar, which had benefited from a softer U.S. currency. The U.S. dollar exchange at .8693, up from .8575 last week.

In U.S. terms, the EMI was 19 cents higher, more than double the 8-cent lift in Australian terms.

The recent trend of strong buyer support for the better spec types continued this week amid low quantities. Representing just one-third of the Merino fleece offering, low mid-break (< 50) volumes are at a multi-year low. Despite strong interest in the fleece sector, Merino skirtings tracked sideways during the sale. Crossbreds found good support, adding 14 cents to the Micron Price Guide.

Reprinted in part from AWEX Weekly Wool Market Report

Obama to Announce 10-Point Immigration Plan

President Obama is planning to unveil a 10-part plan for overhauling U.S. immigration policy via executive action — including suspending deportations for millions — as early as next Friday, a source close to the White House told Fox News.

The president’s plans were contained in a draft proposal from a U.S. government agency. The source said the plan could be announced as early as Nov. 21, though the date might slip a pending final White House approval.

The draft plan contains 10 initiatives that span everything from boosting border security to improving pay for immigration officers.

But the most controversial pertain to the millions who could get a deportation reprieve under what is known as “deferred action.” The plan calls for expanding deferred action for illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children — but also for the parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents. The latter could allow upwards of 4.5 million illegal immigrant adults with U.S.-born children to stay, according to estimates.

Another portion that is sure to cause consternation among anti-“amnesty” lawmakers is a plan to expand deferred action for young people. In June 2012, Obama created such a program for illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, entered before June 2007 and were under 31 years of age as of June 2012. The change would expand that to cover anyone who entered before they were 16, and change the cut-off from June 2007 to Jan. 1, 2010. This is estimated to make nearly 300,000 illegal immigrants eligible.

The other measures include calls to revise removal priorities to target serious criminals for deportation and end the program known as “Secure Communities” and start a new program.

The planning comes as immigrant advocates urge Obama to act. As lawmakers returned for a lame-duck session, Democrats in Congress on Wednesday begged Obama to take executive action.

Obama has vowed to act in the absence of congressional action and has claimed that congressional action could still supersede his executive steps.

Reprinted in part from Fox News

Gunnison Sage Grouse Given ‘Threatened’ Status

The Gunnison sage grouse will be listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced Wednesday.

The listing was a downgrade from an earlier agency recommendation – and an acknowledgement of work by private land owners and state wildlife officials in Colorado and Utah to cut threats to the bird in an effort to avoid an endangered listing.

Wednesday’s announcement left conservationists and state wildlife managers disappointed, but for different reasons. Utah wildlife officials wanted no federal protection and the wildlife conservation groups wanted an endangered listing.

The listing comes with an option for a special rule that allows federal officials to relax some ESA restrictions to allow ranchers, farmers and landowners in Colorado and Utah committed to grouse conservation to continue their practices without new restrictions.

Gunnison sage grouse were recognized as a separate species from Greater sage grouse in 2000 and were soon after designated as a candidate for listing under the ESA. The majority of the birds live in southwestern Colorado, but the entirety of the species is found in just 7 to 12 percent of its historic range.

The FWS also is designating 1.4 million acres of critical habitat – some unoccupied historic territory and some currently occupied – it deems necessary for the recovery of Gunnison sage grouse. The critical habitat designation only affects actions on the land by federal agencies and does not restrict access to or activities on private land.

Reprinted in part from The Salt Lake Tribune

Sheep – A Sericea Solution?

Research at Kansas State University has found that sheep will voluntarily graze, and therefore could help sustainably control the noxious weed sericea lespedeza in parts of Kansas and neighboring states.

A costly situation in the Kansas Flint Hills could become a scenario for profit, but it would require beef and sheep producers to work together to sustainably manage a noxious weed problem plaguing the area. Grazing sheep in the late season, between August and October, could be a cost-effective way to help control the spread of sericea lespedeza in parts of Kansas and neighboring states.

In the past, it has taken costly herbicide application to get rid of sericea, which is a tannin-rich perennial legume. The latest research that examines ways to control sericea in Kansas grasslands involves two cost-effective grazing approaches: supplementing grazing cows with a corn steep liquor byproduct to prompt them to eat sericea and using sheep as “clean up” grazers on sericea once stocker cattle are removed from pastures mid-summer.

To cut down on costs, KC Olson, a beef cattle scientist for K-State Research and Extension, has aimed to provide more grazing pressure on the plant.

“When a plant has been grazed, the rules of nature dictate that the plant directs its nutritional resources away from seed production and toward restoration of leaf area,” Olson said. “That would be a small way we could cut into the reproductive capacity of that plant and get some control over it.”

A video about controlling sericea lespedeza is available at

Sex of Lambs has Big Impact on Meat Yield

Treating male and female lambs differently during finishing and processing can result in financial benefits, concluded a recent on-farm trial in New Zealand.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand said a group of 15 top-performing North Island farmers analyzed the records for 42,000 lambs across two seasons to look for impacts of feed, breed and gender on saleable meat.

The results emphasized the importance of treating the sexes of lambs differently. Group spokesperson Stuart Elligham, general manager at Horizon Farming Limited, said, “The main message I took out of the trial was that famers tend to treat lambs as lambs. They don’t separate out different sexes nor recognize what the different sexes are doing at different times of the year.

“This method of management is particularly noticeable in terminal-sired lambs, where all sexes tend to be treated the same. A male lamb is different from a wether lamb, which is different from a ewe lamb.”

The study showed that at the same age, ewe lambs were fatter, on average, than male lambs, reinforcing the idea that “identifying different sexes and adjusting their feeding regime and timing of processing can improve the bottom line.”

Reprinted in part from


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November 14, 2014 ASI WEEKLY NEWS FOR SHEEP INDUSTRY LEADERS American Sheep Industry Association; 9785 Maroon Circle, Suite 360; Englewood, CO 80112-2692 Phone:
ASI WEEKLY – Nov 14, 2014

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