Tag Archives: sheep

American sheep producers have collected more than $26.6 million in payments from the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program according to numbers released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture this week.

Payments for lambs and yearlings accounted for more than 91 percent ($24,366,284.11) of money paid to the American sheep industry. Producers also benefitted from wool payments – $1,368,303.22 for non-graded wool and $894,354 for graded wool.

“America’s sheep producers are struggling just like everyone else during this difficult time for our country,” said American Sheep Industry Association President Benny Cox. “We thank the Trump Administration, Congress and the U.S. Department of Agriculture for not only recognizing those struggles, but for taking action to assist the industry financially.”

ASI played a key role in showing losses and projected damage – $125 million at the farm gate – within the sheep industry as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. That information was part of the decision-making process as USDA worked to develop this vital assistance program. And ASI continues to reach out to USDA and congressional supporters to address additional losses within the industry – specifically coverage for replacement and cull ewes. USDA announced this week the addition of a handful of specialty crops not covered in the original program announcement, and it is expected to do the same for livestock in the near future.

As of July 6, the CFAP program had approved 365,262 applications and paid out $5.364 billion to American agricultural producers. Livestock accounted for just more than 50 percent of all CFAP payments at $2.7 billion. USDA releases updated data on CFAP payments each Monday at www.farmers.gov/cfap/data.

 

A Stafford Springs, Conn., woolen mill has won a $2 million military contract to make Army dress uniforms in a Pentagon initiative to strengthen industrial supply chains damaged by the coronavirus.

American Woolen Co. Inc. will produce polyester and wool blend fabric for the United States Army. The $187 million Department of Defense program is intended to back the defense workforce in shipbuilding, aircraft manufacturing and clothing and textiles and restore jobs lost as a result of the virus.

“This new investment to keep production of U.S. Army uniforms here at home, in eastern Connecticut, will help ensure that the men and women of our armed services have the resources they need no matter what,” said Rep. Joe Courtney, whose congressional district includes American Woolen.

Courtney – a member of the House Armed Services Committee – called American Woolen an “eastern Connecticut success story” that revitalized the historic Stafford Springs mill when it came close to shutting in 2014.

Jacob Harrison Long, chief executive officer of American Woolen, said the program demonstrates the Pentagon’s “commitment to invigorate the domestic textile industry” and support small, local businesses. American Woolen is starting production of the U.S. Army’s “Army Greens” uniform that recalls uniforms worn by soldiers during World War II.

Source: Hartford Courant

 

The American Sheep Industry Association, its state affiliates, the National Lamb Feeders Association and the Public Lands Council sent a letter to congressional leaders this week calling for additional support of the sheep industry in light of disruptions in the lamb and wool marketplace due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Specifically, we are asking that Congress raise the Commodity Credit Corporation’s borrowing authority from the current $30 billion and make funds available immediately to ensure USDA has, with the oversight of Congress, the ability to respond to the needs of our domestic food and fiber producers,” read the letter to the Senate and House majority and minority leaders. “As you are aware, the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program developed and administered by the USDA has helped bridge the initial gap caused by the loss of consumer demand and uncertainty in the livestock markets.

“However, the relief USDA has been able to provide was limited due to funding restrictions and therefore only covered producer losses through mid-April with funding provided by the CARES Act. Additionally, CCC funds intended to compensate for on-going market disruptions have proven insufficient. Our industry continues to suffer greatly and USDA’s ability to respond to current and future losses as needed is critical to our producers’ ability to continue to operate through what are easily proving to be the most difficult economic times anyone alive has ever faced.

“Our initial estimated economic impact to the American sheep industry forecasts a loss of at least $353 million in 2020, and it is clear now that we will eclipse that number. We were pleased that lambs and yearlings (less than 2 years of age) and wool were included as eligible commodities under CFAP. Since the release of the program details, we have submitted additional data through the USDA’s Notice of Funds Availability filing in the Federal Register showing that replacement and cull ewes also exceeded the Department’s 5 percent loss threshold for eligibility under CFAP.

“The inclusion of replacement and cull ewes, even under the existing coverage dates, would significantly help our industry move toward recovery. This inventory class makes up nearly two-thirds of our sheep flock. That said, it is clear that to provide coverage to all segments and all regions of a widely diverse agricultural industry, a second (and possibly even subsequent) round of temporary assistance is necessary. Many producers in our industry are only now feeling the full effects of the pandemic’s impact; and as was the case for replacement and cull ewes, we are only now able to quantify those losses with sufficient economic data to meet the USDA’s threshold under CFAP.

“Therefore, we request that additional borrowing authority be made available through the CCC to allow the USDA to extend the CFAP, or similar temporary assistance, as well as any additional funding required to cover losses suffered by American agriculture post the current coverage eligibility; including the 2020 lamb, ewe and wool crops.”