ASI Discusses Trade at USDA
December 15, 2017

American Sheep Industry Association President Mike Corn of New Mexico traveled to Washington, D.C., on Thursday, Dec. 14, to meet with U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney about trade issues affecting the American sheep industry.

The key point of the meeting was lamb imports which have consistently affected domestic sales of American lamb. The unregulated flow of cheap, frozen imports is even more of a concern given the lack of export markets for the American sheep industry. ASI leaders, including Dr. Stanley Poe of Indiana, addressed the importance of opening markets such as Japan, Europe and China for American lamb. USDA worked with ASI to reopen Taiwan nearly a year ago, and ASI is encouraged about Japan negotiations.

Corn also took the opportunity to thank McKinney for the work of USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service, which is a valuable partner in marketing American wool for manufacturing abroad. In fact, more than 60 percent of the 2017 American wool clip was exported to China, Western Europe and India. ASI is one of the largest cooperators with USDA on the Quality Samples Program, which has been key to introducing American wool to new textile firms.

ASI leaders relayed four key priorities that the association requested USDA to implement shortly after the new administration took office. These points need to be addressed ahead of any additional international trade actions. Corn and ASI Executive Director Peter Orwick also met with the lead officials of the Agricultural Marketing Service on market news reporting and impending appointments to sheep affiliated boards under USDA.