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September Sheep Update

Livestock Update, September 1996

Steve Umberger, Animal & Poultry Sciences

In-Person and Absentee Voting for National Sheep Referendum.

On October 1, 1996, the U.S. Department of Agriculture will conduct a second referendum on the Sheep and Wool Promotion, Research, Education and Information Order. The Order will go into effect if it is approved by a simple majority of sheep producers, feeders, and importers of sheep and sheep products. A referendum on this same issue was conducted February 6, 1996, but the Secretary of Agriculture determined that the results were invalid because the voting procedures were applied incorrectly and inconsistently. In-person voting will take place in the County Cooperative Extension Offices on October 1, 1996. Voters who wish to vote absentee may request an absentee ballot from the County Extension Office that serves their residence or, if the voter is a business entity, the office that serves the entity's main headquarters. Requests for absentee ballots may only be made from August 26 through September17. Requests may be made in person, by telephone, in writing, by FAX, or by electronic mail. All absentee ballots must be received by mail in County Extension Offices by the close of business on September 27. To be eligible to vote in this Referendum, you must have been a person engaged in the production, feeding, or importation of sheep or sheep products during the calendar year 1994. The term "person" means an individual or a legal entity, or a group of individuals with joint ownership interest in sheep. Each eligible "person" has one vote. If approved, the program will be funded by a mandatory assessment on domestic producers, feeders, and exporters of live sheep and greasy wool of one cent per pound on live sheep and two cents per pound on greasy wool sold. Importers will be assessed one cent per pound on live sheep, the equivalent of one cent per pound of live sheep for sheep products, and two cents per pound of degreased wool or the equivalent of degreased wool for wool and wool products.

American Sheep Industry Association Requests Sheep and Embryos Import Ban.

The American Sheep Industry Association has submitted a request to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to place an immediate temporary ban on the importation of live breeding sheep and embryos into the U.S. in an attempt to reduce the risk of BSE in the United States. The request asks for the ban until a further risk assessment can be completed and the amount of scrapie in the United States can be quantified. The American Sheep Industry Association also asked USDA/APHIS to scrutinize permit applications for Canadian importation's to ensure the reproductive status of sheep destined for the United States is known. It has become common knowledge that embryos from other countries around the world have been placed in Canadian recipient ewes and moved into the U.S. under the permit system without APHIS's knowledge. This alleged abuse of the rule would allow foreign embryos into the U.S. without post-entry surveillance. A study conducted in Belgium involving the feeding of BSE-infected cattle parts to six sheep resulted in one sheep showing signs of infection from BSE. As a result of this study, Great Britain has begun prohibiting the consumption of brains, spinal columns and spleens from sheep, goats and deer. In March, the British government announced it believes an outbreak of ther are human disease Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease possibly could be traced to the consumption of beef infected with BSE. (Source: American Sheep Industry Association Industry News)

Virginia Commercial Bred Ewe and Ram Sale Scheduled for March 1, 1997.

The 1997 Virginia Commercial Bred Ewe and Ram Sale will be held at the New River Valley Fairgrounds on Saturday, March 1. Approximately 250 bred ewe lambs and 15 yearling rams will be sold. The strict health requirements associated with the sale make it an excellent source for replacement ewes or a starter flock. The 1996 sale with 181 bred ewe lambs averaged $168.12 per head. The sale was changed from its traditional January date to March to give producers more time to get their ewe lambs bred. Producers interested in consigning to this sale should call or write Richard White, Extension Agent, Pulaski County, 143 Third Street, Pulaski, VA, 24301-4999, (540)980-7761. The consignment deadline for the sale is December 1, 1996.

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