Premier 1 Acquires Pipestone Sheep Unit

Premier 1 Supplies, LLC, announced that it has acquired the Sheep Business Unit from Pipestone Veterinary Services, PLC, a Minnesota-based company. The Sheep Business Unit was responsible for providing practical healthcare and nutrition knowledge to sheep producers throughout the United States, including a wide array of small ruminant feeds and supplements. The purchase will better serve the needs of Premier’s sheep and goat customers across the United States and Canada.

The asset purchase of Pipestone’s Sheep Business Unit fits into Premier’s strategy to advance the sheep industry through an education-first approach. Premier will provide its customers with access to Pipestone’s small ruminant veterinarians as well as other on-staff experts including Dr. Dan Morrical, a retired sheep specialist from Iowa State University. Dr. Morrical was responsible for ISU’s educational programs in all areas of sheep production, ranging from nutrition, genetics, marketing and management.

“The acquisition of Pipestone’s Sheep Business Unit complements our existing sheep and goat supply business. We can now provide a wider range of services – from sheep care to nutrition to field-tested products. This investment represents a win-win for customers,” said Ben Rothe, chief executive officer of Premier 1 Supplies. “The acquisition will allow us to provide programs, knowledge and assistance to sheep producers at a time when many university sheep extension programs are downsizing.”

“Pipestone is thrilled to team with a company that shares the same passion for helping sheep producers as we have had for the past 75 years,” said Hannah Walkes, president of Pipestone. “We view this as a tremendous opportunity to bring an even greater level of service and commitment to producers via an expansion of the Shepherd’s Club combined with Premier’s reach in the industry.”

Source: ASI Weekly April 13, 2018

Valais Blacknose Sheep Introduced in North America

The Valais Blacknose Sheep Association of North America announces the successful launch of a “breed up program” for introducing the breed to North America. The first generation of lambs are being born in 2018.

For centuries, the Valais Blacknose sheep were found only in Switzerland on the remote snow-covered peaks of Valais. Although the sheep are believed to have existed since the 15th century, it became a breed recognized by the Swiss Sheep Breeding Association in the mid 1960’s as the Walliser Schwarznasen or Valais Blacknose because of its unique markings. Several hundred were exported to the United Kingdom in 2014. The breed’s wool is considered ideal for carpets, bedding and felting.

The Blacknose Sheep Association of North America was formed in 2017 to support the introduction of the breed to the United States and record the offspring of the breed up programs already in progress.

For more information, on how to purchase the frozen semen of the Valais Blacknose Sheep, as well as general information on the breed, contact the Teton Blacknose Sheep Company at, or 561-309-1402.


Article Source: ASI Weekly March 23, 2018

Photo Source:

Targhee Association to Award Starter Flock

Correction: Targhee Starter Flock Program

A news item in last week’s ASI Weekly about the Targhee Starter Flock contained outdated information. We apologize for the error, and offer the correct information on the program as follows.

The U.S. Targhee Sheep Association will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of its Starter Flock Program by again offering a free registered Targhee Starter flock to a deserving youth at the 2018 USTSA National Show & Sale in Miles City, Mon., on July 12-14. The winner must be present to receive the flock and will be awarded one ewe lamb, one yearling ewe and one brood ewe donated by members of the USTSA. Each animal will be a USTSA registered animal, and at least QR in Scrapie Codon 171 genotype. The winner will also receive a $150 credit for use toward purchase of additional animals at the 2018 sale.

Applications are due April 1, and now available to download at or by contacting Mardy Rutledge at the USTSA office ( or 702-292-5715). Any young person, ages 9-17, as of Jan. 1, 2018, whose family does not raise Targhee sheep may apply. Applicants should possess a keen interest in the U.S. sheep industry, commitment to raising Targhee sheep over time, and a firm belief in the abilities of the breed. Applicants must demonstrate proof of care, facilities and transportation. Aside from receiving the flock of sheep, the winning youth will be paired with a Targhee breeder living near them who will act as a mentor.
Source: ASI Weekly March 16, 2018


Below – Original Note from March 8

The U.S. Targhee Sheep Association is offering a free registered Targhee starter flock to be awarded to a deserving youth, ages 9-17, at the USTSA National Show and Sale in Brookings, S.D., on July 15-16.

The winner must be present to receive the flock and will be awarded one ewe lamb, one yearling ewe and one brood ewe donated by members of the USTSA. Each animal will be a USTSA-registered animal and have tested at least a QR in Scrapie Codon 171 genotype. The winner will also receive a $150 credit for use toward the purchase of additional animals at the sale.

Applications are due April 1 and are available to download at or by contacting Tracie Roeder at the USTSA office at 406-467-2462. Applicants should possess a keen interest in the U.S. sheep industry, commitment to raising Targhee sheep over time and a firm belief in the abilities of the breed. Aside from receiving the flock of sheep, the winning youth will be paired with a Targhee breeder living near them who will act as a mentor.


Source: ASI Weekly March 9, 2018

Soil Health Enables Climate Beneficial Wool

Rancher Benefits in Multiple Ways from Soil Health

What if, before you purchased a hat or sweater, you knew the wool used to make it came from sheep raised on a ranch managed to improve soil health and increase soil carbon? For nearly a decade, ranch owner Lani Estill has worked with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service to improve soil health.

By adding carbon-conscious conservation practices to her ranch, the operation now stores more carbon in the soil than it emits through its operations. As a result, her operation, Bare Ranch, is marketing “climate beneficial” wool to a national clothing manufacturer. Estill and her family raise sheep and cattle on her 40,000-acre ranch, which sits on the border of northern California and northwest Nevada.

With help from her local NRCS offices and supported by Environmental Quality Incentives Program contracts, Estill has also improved wildlife habitat on her ranch. She improved sage grouse habitat by removing thousands of acres of invasive juniper and installed hedgerows for pollinators. She and her co-owners also installed fencing and livestock watering facilities and are following a prescribed grazing management plan.

Read the full story at

Source: ASI Weekly March 9, 2018

ASI 2018 Annual Convention Presentations

ASI Annual Convention Presentations Available

Most of the presentations given at the 2018 Annual Convention in San Antonio are now available online in a pdf format. To view the available presentations, go to

2018 ASI Convention Presentations

Wednesday Executive Board Meeting

Why is Now the Ideal Time to Expand On-farm OPPv Eradication 
Dr. Cindy Wolf, ASI Animal Health Committee

Thursday State Executives/Contacts Meeting

Tri-Lamb Young Leader Update 
Karissa Maneotis, Tri-Lamb Young Leader

Thursday Genetic Stakeholders Committee

Genetic Stakeholder Committee Update 
Tomy Boyer and Dr. Ron Lewis

Thursday Animal Health

National Scrapie Eradication Program Update 
Dr. Diane Sutton, USDA/APHIS

Mycoplasma Ovis Research 
Dr. Maggie Highland, USDA/ARS

Research Updates on Malignant Catarrhal Fever 
Dr. Cristina Cunha, USDA/ARS

Footvax Use in the United States 
Erica Sanko, California Wool Growers Association

Innovations in Parasite Research 
Dr. Joan Burke, USDA/ARS

Thursday National Sheep Improvement Program

Update and Panel 
Dr. Ron Lewis, Dr. Jason Osterstock, Ben Pjesar and Micah Wells

Thursday Production, Education, and Research Council

Range and Animal Science Research in Texas 
Dr. John Walker, Texas AgriLife

NWRC – Predator Research Facility Update – Livestock Working Dogs 
Dr. Julie Young, USDA/APHIS/WS

National Wildlife Resource Center Update 
Dr. Larry Clark, USDA/APHIS/WS

Evaluation of Three Maternal Lines Under Pasture Management 
Dr. Brad Freking, USDA/MARC

Thursday Wool Council

Marketing and Technical Services Update 
Roy Kettlewell, ASI Wool Consultant

Update on Marketing Wool Domestically and Internationally 
Goetz Giebel, ASI Wool Consultant

Raw Wool Services Update 
Dr. Lisa Surber, ASI Wool Consultant

Friday Lamb Council

Nourish With Lamb – 2018 Nutrition Education Program 
Megan Wortman and Allison Beadle

Lamb Market Outlook 
David Anderson, Texas AgriLife

Update on Mandatory Price Reporting 
Erica Sanko, California Wool Growers Association

Defining “Lamb” Maturity 
Dr. Travis Hoffman, North Dakota State University

Friday Wool Council and Wool Roundtable

Report on Wool Marketing and Trends 
Goetz Giebel, ASI Wool Consultant

Wool: From Fiber to Fashion 
Roy Kettlewell, ASI Wool Consultant

American Wool in the 2018 Olympics 
Jeanne Carver, Imperial Stock Ranch

Responsibility in Wool Production Update 
Dr. Lisa Surber, ASI Wool Consultant

USDA-AMS Wool Market Update 
Chris Dias, USDA-AMS, LPGMN Reporter

Feast and Famine: The Situation and Prospect of the World Wool Market 
Chris Wilcox, Poimena Analysis

ASI Market News App 
Chris Dias, USDA-AMS, LPGMN Reporter

Friday Let’s Grow

GM1 Sheep Production for Huntington’s Disease
Larry and Sue Holler, Dakota Lamb Producers

Friday Young Entrepreneurs Meeting

Pelt and Byproduct Values 
Erica Sanko, California Wool Growers Association

Friday Board of Directors Informational Session

Retailers Expectations of Lamb 
Brad Graham, Mountain States Rosen

ASI Legislative Update 
Jim Richards, Cornerstone Government Affairs

Feed Your Adventurous Side 
Chairman Jim Percival, American Lamb Board

Cost of Production Comparison and Economic Tools for Sheep 
Bridger Fuez, Livestock Marketing Specialist, University of Wyoming Extension

Wool: The “New” Performance Fiber 
Roy Kettlewell, ASI Wool Consultant

Saturday Board of Directors Meeting

Let the Good Times Roll? Global Situation and Outlook for Sheep Meat and Wool 
Chris Wilcox, Poimena Analysis

Wool Marketing Worldwide 
Goetz Giebel, ASI Wool Consultant

Untapped Crop Insurance Opportunities for Ranchers 
Brandon Willis and Burdell Johnson

Update on Let’s Grow! Program 
Susan Schultz, Let’s Grow Committee Chair

ASI Wool Council Update 
Ken Wixom, ASI Wool Council Chair

Production, Research and Education Council Update 
Jimmy Parker, PERC Co-Chair

National Sheep Industry Improvement Center 
Steve Lee, Executive Director, NSIIC

Ohio State Extension Rebuilds Sheep Team Blog

Shepherds now have a place to find all the latest information on sheep production, industry research conducted at Ohio State, and daily management tips. The recently rebuilt The Ohio State University Extension Sheep Team blog page can be found at

The site is managed by Sheep Team Program Coordinator Brady Campbell and includes contributions from the more than 25 Ohio State faculty and staff who each have unique interests in sustaining the sheep industry. Once at the site, readers will find current management information, a listing of upcoming events, research summaries and a library of resources.

Women Shearers Featured in Vogue

“I was always acutely aware that there were less women shearers,” photographer Nich Hance McElroy said of photographing women shearers up and down the West Coast for Vogue. But last year, when he began shearing on commercial crews for a shearer and sheep rancher named Robert Irwin, McElroy noticed more and more women working on flocks – many who Irwin actively recruited. Some were already farmers or gardeners themselves, some were tech professionals in the Bay Area with a back-to-the-land mind-set, some were part-time knitters who wondered why it was next to impossible to find local wool. McElroy began photographing them, too.

“I really think, going forward, it’s going to be women doing farm work,” Irwin told me recently by phone from California. “The last five years or so, teaching guys to do this stuff, a lot of them just don’t have the mentality of waking up and thinking to themselves, ‘I’m going to get better at this.’ The women do. They’re more apt to stick with this; they’re more detail-oriented; they’re tougher.”

Read the story at

APHIS No Longer Providing Free Plastic Scrapie Tags

To support animal disease traceability and scrapie eradication efforts, the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has provided both metal and plastic ear tags and applicators to sheep and goat producers – at no cost – since fiscal year 2002.

After a funding reduction in FY 2012, APHIS used specific, no-year funding (for scrapie and ADT) to continue purchasing the tags and distributing them free of cost to producers. These no-year funds were exhausted in fiscal year 2017. While the Agency remains committed to ADT efforts, beginning Oct. 1 of this year, APHIS is providing only metal tags free of charge to producers and others who handle sheep and goats. Plastic tags and applicators for metal and plastic tags will remain available for purchase directly from approved tag manufactures.

These changes will reduce APHIS tag and applicator costs while still providing sheep and goat producers with a free identification device. APHIS will provide a limited number of plastic tags to producers newly enrolled in the Scrapie Free Flock Certification Program who submit tissues for scrapie surveillance in order to encourage on-farm scrapie surveillance.

The agency will continue to work closely in partnership with states and industry to achieve scrapie eradication.

For more information on how to purchase tags and applicators, visit
Note: The American Sheep Industry Association and other stakeholder groups continue to work with USDA on alternatives to this new policy, including increasing the appropriations designated to the scrapie eradication program.

PA Extension to host farm marketing program Dec. 8

Penn State Extension along with Buy Fresh, Buy Local Greater Lehigh Valley to host session

ALLENTOWN, Pa. — Farmers who have been selling direct to consumers via farmers markets and/or CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) have noticed a shift in those market channels. For the last few years, farmers markets and CSAs have been stagnant and in some cases shrinking. Are there other market channel opportunities for farmers? Are there techniques we can use to improve customer retention? What are the current trends in local food we can capitalize on?

Penn State Extension along with Buy Fresh, Buy Local Greater Lehigh Valley will host an “Intensive Marketing” program at the Nurture Nature Center, 518 Northampton Street, Easton, Pa., on Dec. 8.

Nick Burton, State of The Soil, Simon Huntley, Small Farm Central and Marilyn Anthony from Temple University Fox School of Business will help to improve and sharpen our marketing skills for this day-long workshop.

Registration and detailed information to follow soon. For more information contact Brian Moyer at 610-391-9840 or email at

— Penn State Extension


Northeast SARE Invites Farmer Grant Applications

Proposals are due online by Tuesday, December 5, 2017 at 11:59 p.m. EST

BURLINGTON, Vt. — The call for applications for 2018 Farmer Grants has been released by the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Program.

Proposals are due online by Tuesday, December 5, 2017 at 11:59 p.m. ET. Funded projects will be announced in March 2018 and projects may begin in the spring.

Northeast SARE Farmer Grants are intended for farm business owners and managers who would like to explore new sustainable production and marketing practices—often through an experiment, trial or on-farm demonstration. Reviewers look for innovation, potential for improved sustainability, and results that will be useful to other farmers.

Awards are capped at $15,000 and projects may address the wide range of issues that affect farming in the Northeast. To search topics that SARE has previously funded, please access the national database of projects at:

Applicants must work with a technical advisor—typically a Cooperative Extension educator, NRCS staff, university research or extension specialist, private crop consultant, veterinarian, or other service provider—who serve the farmer applicant in a consulting capacity.

Application materials, including detailed instructions and supporting documents, are posted on the Northeast SARE website at Questions about the grants program should be directed to

The Northeast SARE region is made up of Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Northeast SARE programs are offered to all without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or familial status.

—Northeast SARE