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Drake's Market News

September, 2013

The Sheep Industry remains a changing business. At the time of this writing, the majority of “Old Crop” lambs have been harvested. Feed yards have the lowest number of lambs on hand in many years for this time of year. One reason for this is...

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Drake's Market News

February, 2013

The industry just finished its yearly meeting in San Antonio, Texas. The weather and hospitality in Texas were great. For the most part, the mood was upbeat and the majority of the people had optimism in their thoughts. Drought was the greatest concern, for many producers do not know...

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National Lamb Feeders Letter to the Sheep Industry

February, 2013

The NLFA Board feels an educational letter needs to be put out to the sheep industry that, in their opinion, will explain what has happened to our industry, marketwise, in the last couple of years.

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President’s Message

February, 2013

If the National Convention has any influence on the upcoming year in the lamb market, it should be a great year. I do have my doubts. Surely it has a great chance of being better than 2012; if it doesn’t, we are in for a hell of a ride. We do have a lot of IFs this coming year.

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The Upset Lamb Market is a Global Affair

February, 2013

Sheep prices are on a rollercoaster ride and are hurting farmers in New Zealand. Australia’s largest lamb and sheep processor thinks he knows a half a dozen reasons why Australian lamb and sheep prices are half of what they were two years ago. Directors of North America’s National Lamb Feeders Association have drafted a special letter to explain the problems to their members. The upshot? It is a global affair.

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Drake's Market News

June, 2012

OK, the industry has a problem. The industry has lost demand, has the incorrect product to improve demand, has too much product in the freezer, is out of step for normal movement, and is losing a lot of equity. Can the industry address these problems? YES!!

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A Letter from the Vet

April, 2012

If I insult anybody in this E-mail it was intentional. It’s about time we in the livestock industry took a stand and that should be “Hell No”. The art of compromise in this fight against animal rights people is absolutely ridiculous. How do you compromise when the other side has no position unless someone gives it to them? Hormel is a classic example. After a long history of supporting farmers and farmers supporting them they decide for some reason they need to be in the supply side as well so they end up owning sows in Arizona, California and Wyoming. Two states Arizona and California passed laws requiring sows be in pens not crates. Wyoming the other state they own sows in has no regulation. Evidently the animal rights people that come to their shareholder meetings are far more important than the producers that have supplied them with product for decades. I would suggest that...

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Drake's Market News

April, 2012

Look in the mirror. This person and the other people in the sheep industry contributed to today’s problems in the sheep industry. What do you mean? “No I didn’t!” As bad as the problem is now, I don’t know what I did, but I sure had to do something. Normally, “Old Crop” lambs will be slaughtered by the end of the second quarter. This year these lambs will continue into the third quarter and maybe well into the fourth quarter. These lambs will be big and ugly. The knife will make the product much better for the consumer, but the processor, will have to “eat” the trimmings. This does not help the pocket book of the processor, and history tells us that....

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Drake's Market News

September, 2011

Over the past months, I have written about the volatility found in our country and our industry. There has been decidedly more stability in our industry. This stability has come from the presence of the major packers being processors, promotion from the ALB, stabilizing shelf life of our product, and seeking and understanding the needs of our customers. On the other side of the equation, our industry is hammered by a non-understanding government, weather which keeps our industry from growing, and a growing need from world consumers for protein and standard food products. Government that supervises agriculture is now made up of people that know little about....

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Drake's Market News

May, 2011

Our area, Northern Colorado-Wyoming-Western Nebraska, has finally received rain. This area really needed it, but much of the country does not need any more rain or what it has received, with the exception of Texas and New Mexico. They are burning up.

East of here farmers are swimming in water and having difficulty getting seed into the ground. Corn futures continue to gain ground, as market participants fear the potential negative impact of slow plantings in the Eastern Corn belt and the possibility that a sizable number of acres along the Mississippi River will be lost to flooding this year. The numbers of acres...

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Drake's Market News

March, 2011

In earlier letters, I have mentioned volatility. I was generally talking about the overall volatility in all proteins and grains throughout the world. A leader in volatility now is our lamb business. Is it out of control? Has supply blinded decisions about demand and true needs? What are true needs? Do packer/processors need to weigh going "Dark" versus red bottom lines and market share? I do not have the answers to these questions, but I will offer some ideas, right or wrong.

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Request for American Lamb Board Nominees

March, 2011

NLFA is one of the national organizations certified to submit nominations to the USDA, Agricultural Marketing Service for individuals to serve on the American Lamb Board. There are two positions expiring in 2012, one for a feeder and the other for a first handler. NLFA is seeking...

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Drake's Market News

December, 2010

I have been a serious student of the Sheep Industry for over 35 years, but I am about to come to the conclusion that I need to quickly UNLEARN what I know. We have a new industry. Can we keep it? I do not know. I think I have the right thoughts on trends, but my ideas are wiped out by the volatility. The U.S. is the "best" market in the world. The U.S. has the highest per capita income and wealth, the third largest population globally, strong markets and institutions, but no one is perfect. The worst problem is that the U.S. is no longer...

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