Cargill pulled a variety of animal feeds with excessive levels of aflatoxins from retail shelves from February through April 2019, but the company did not announce the action until this week.
Aflatoxin is a fungal toxin that commonly contaminates maize and other types of crops during production, harvest, storage or processing, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Exposure to aflatoxin is known to cause both chronic and acute liver damage in humans. People working with or eating contaminated feeds or foods are at risk of illness.
All 14 of the recalled products were sold under the Southern States brand.
“The affected products, which were manufactured and sold in the eastern United States, were removed from retail shelves throughout February, March, and April 2019. Livestock, horses and poultry exposed to aflatoxin are at risk of exposure to several health hazards,” according to the recall notice posted by the Food and Drug Administration.
The implicated feeds were manufactured at Cargill’s Cleveland, N.C., facility. The implicated products were recalled from retail outlets and distributors in Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.
Consumers and other end users who have any of the affected lots in their possession are urged to return remaining product to their local dealers or retailers for a replacement or full refund. Consumers can call 800-822-1012 for additional information. Source: FoodSafetyNews.com
The American Wool Council has provided fans of the all-natural fiber with a new way to Experience Wool through the creation of a YouTube page. The page currently hosts three videos produced by Brand Juice in the past year to market American wool to a wide variety of consumers.
The videos were shown on multiple occasions during the American Sheep Industry Association Annual Convention last month in New Orleans, and can now be shared from the YouTube page by producers looking to promote American wool and its many benefits.
In The Luxurious Fiber, a narrator explains that the “Fabric designers choose first to achieve pure elegance, absolute luxury and unmatched style” is American wool.
The High Performance Fiber is aimed at more demanding users and offers, “There’s one time-tested, expedition-proven material you can count on. One fabric for four seasons. Experience the confidence of American wool.”
Natural and Sustainable promotes what might be the fiber’s greatest trait. “What this miracle becomes is infinitely remarkable, versatile, beautiful and in the end, sustainable.”
If you haven’t seen them yet, check out the videos. Share them with your friends, family and clients, and help the American Wool Council in promoting this natural, renewable, sustainable fiber that is perfect for any occasion in any season.
The decline of the American textile industry began after World War II
In recent years, however, there’s been a slow-growing demand for wool yarn that’s completely produced in the United States, from sheep to skein, said knitting and wool industries expert Clara Parkes. (Lindsay Wilson, Flickr/Creative Commons)
EAST JORDAN, Mich. — It began when Debbie McDermott allowed her daughter Jamie to raise two sheep for a 4-H project. Eventually, her 165-year-old farm was transformed into a successful, family-run, custom fiber processing mill.
McDermott’s Stonehedge Fiber Mill, which opened in 1999 in East Jordan, Michigan, now produces more than 700 pounds of yarn monthly for customers in 38 states and Canada. It produces an additional 15,000 pounds monthly for its personal lines of yarn, including Shepherd’s Wool, which is milled and dyed in-house before it’s shipped and sold in about 300 shops.
“I really think the appeal is our yarn’s made in the U.S., and people are more and more going toward U.S.-made products as a support for U.S. companies,” McDermott said.
Most garments worn in the United States in the first half of the 20th century were American-made, but the decline of the American textile industry began after World War II, according to knitting and wool industries expert Clara Parkes. She’s a member of the American Sheep Industry — an industry trade group — and author of several books on knitting.
In recent years, however, there’s been a slow-growing demand for wool yarn that’s completely produced in the United States, from sheep to skein, Parkes said.
One reason, she thinks, could be that consumers are turning back to wool because of the environmental risks of microplastics in garments made from synthetics like acrylic, nylon and polyester. The microplastics are released into waterways when the synthetic garments are washed.
Locally sourced yarn helps not only the environment but local businesses too, Parkes said. “There’s the environmental impact of shipping goods all the way across the world and bringing it back, but now people are asking themselves, ‘What if I can get the wool here and just keep it here?’”
McDermott echoed that sentiment: “Shopping local is allowing farmers to raise and keep their animals on the farm.”
Consumer interest in locally sourced yarn inspired the Michigan Fiber Cooperative to produce a line, Fresh Water Fiber, which uses wool and alpaca from Michigan farms. It’s processed by Stonehedge Fiber Mill and dyed by Why Knot Fibers in Traverse City.
One store that stocks Fresh Water Fiber is Wool & Honey in Cedar, Michigan. Owner Melissa Kelenske said she buys from Michigan-based fiber artists and companies that focus on producing high-quality, ethically sourced yarn with attention to their environmental impact.
“I think the farm-to-table movement of eating local, shopping local — basically the major slow food movement — laid the ground work for the knitting industry,” Kelenske said.
Another yarn company that supplies Wool & Honey is Brooklyn Tweed, of Portland, Oregon. Knitwear designer Jared Flood founded the company in 2010 to “preserve, support and sustain” American textile production by doing business with sheep farmers, fiber mills and dyers across the United States.
The business concept “was not so much about patriotism as supporting local economies,” said Christina Rondepierre, Brooklyn Tweed’s marketing manager.
“It was also the revitalization of East Coast mills and dyeing houses and the whole U.S. textile industry so they could sustain income and make sure towns and business were able to stay afoot,” Rondepierre said. For example, the Harrisville, New Hampshire, Historic District mill village spins some of Brooklyn Tweed’s yarns. The village was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1977.
But patriotism, too, is helping to revive the American wool industry.
After Ralph Lauren drew flak for making its Team USA apparel for the 2012 Summer Olympics in China, the fashion company had all Team USA apparel for the 2014 Winter Olympics made in the United States. The yarn used for the closing ceremony sweaters was 4,000 pounds of Shepherd’s Wool from Stonehedge Fiber Mill.
McDermott was shocked when a Ralph Lauren representative asked her to supply the yarn.
“It was a mouth-dropped-open moment when I realized who I was talking to on the phone,” she said. “It was a neat experience.”
The Garden State Sheep Breeders organization is proud to announce the introduction of the Garden State Sheep Breeders Youth Ambassador Program. Part of our mission as stewards of the sheep community is to develop and grow our sheep leaders of tomorrow. The program’s goal is to empower the selected candidate with the knowledge, skills and aspirations necessary to develop them into an effective advocate for the Garden State Sheep Breeders. The program will seek to strengthen and expand upon the chosen candidate’s leadership abilities so that they may serve as a positive role model while promoting sheep, build meaningful relationships and support the sheep industry.
The Swaledale casket is made using pure virgin wool, supported on a strong recycled fibreboard frame. Wool is a fiber with a true “green” lineage that is both sustainable and biodegradable. The interior is generously lined with cotton and attractively edged in jute.
Independently tested and accredited for strength and weight bearing, the Swaledale’s unique design combines the highest environmental standards with an attractive and soft feel. Designed to differ from the traditional wooden casket, it offers a contemporary style with comfortable handling. The concept is completed with a personalized embroidered woolen name plate. All the materials used in the Swaledale casket are readily biodegradable and suitable for cremation and all types of burial.
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.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, www.tetonvalais.com or 561-309-1402.
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.
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 http://u.osu.edu/sheep/.
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.
“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.”