Present Via Zoom: Bryce Freking, Jeremy Refshaw, Kathy Ewert, Mark Meurer, Chris Kaeb, Mark Van Roekel, John Anderson. Also attending were past president Brett Pharo and John Carlson.
Mark Meurer called the meeting to order.
Minutes of the October 15 Directors meeting were approved.
- Chris Kaeb gave the financial report. APSA has a net worth of about $30,000.
- There are two former directors that still have credits.
- Some small debts from many years ago were cleared from the books.
- Chris sent 500 dollars to ASI for our Industry Support Sponsorship. This is the same rate as 2019.
- Advertising - Bryce says advertising starts closer to the sale dates in the summer. Currently we are advertising in The Shepherd.
- The Midwest Stud Ram Sale is scheduled for June 14-19th in Sedalia.
- There was a discussion about APSA sponsoring an on-line sale but there was concern on how this might affect other sales.
- Spencer is Scheduled for July 30 and 31.
- APSA will publicize Sedalia and Spenser and an on-line sale if one is held in place of the former Eastern Sale.
- There was discussion of a possible APSA on-line sale, possibly in the fall. Mark Meurer will send out an email to APSA members to see if they would be interested in consigning or buying sheep from an APSA sponsored sale.
- Newsletter- Brett is planning to publish the next newsletter in late January. It will have the Directory, Board Nomination form and registration and membership trends. Pictures and articles may be submitted to Brett.
- Youth – Kathy mentioned the discussion from the previous meeting on having a bred ewe futurity sale. Possibly three head at 250/hd. Kathy mentioned a program in Kansas where two different producers provide ewes to one youth. She suggested the board could re-imburse producers ½ the value of a pen of three and the youth would re-imburse APSA that money by selling lambs over the next year or two. The recipients of these futurity lambs would also submit a report to APSA on their project. That report could be published in the newsletter.
New Business :
- Kathy has been doing a lot of work on how genomics testing could be used to improve the PP breed. Currently there are limited options for PP breeders to do comprehensive testing as the PP breed does not have a reference population. We would need to establish this reference population (at least 2500 animals sampled, preferably more) in order to get enough data to be useful. Kathy has been talking to Dr. Brenda Murdoch from the University of Idaho. Brenda is interested in working on a USDA grant to help collect the baseline data needed (reference population). The grant would need a biological question. This could be finding markers for a trait of economic significance like fall lambing or accelerated lambing or milk production. Once the baseline data had been collected we could look at genomically enhanced ebvs, determine parentage and look for genetic defects.
- John Carlson has also been looking into genomics as a member of the NSIP Ad Hoc Genomics Committee. That committee has been meeting weekly. John mentioned that genomics will be very important for sheep breeders going forward. The beef industry has been benefiting substantially from their genomics testing. John said that genomics would be a big help in ram buying, since many of the traits measured by NSIP are expressed in females and have relatively low heritability. Genetic markers for traits of interest would make ebvs much more accurate over time.
- NSIP has been working with the company Neogen. Neogen has a 50K SNP array. SNP stands for single nucleotide polymorphism and refers to variations found at a single site on the DNA. A 50 K SNP array would measure the variations at 50,000 sites on each sampled animal’s DNA. The Katahdin Association has used Neogen for their genomics work and will have genomically enhanced ebvs starting in 2021.
- John Carlson said we will need 2000 to 3000 animals for a genetic base. The USSES may have 700 samples already that could help form that base.
- John has been looking at a possible grant through the NSIIC to help defray the cost of processing samples. These grants go up to $30,000 and typically have an industry matching component. NSIIC grants are typically submitted late spring or early summer. In 2020 the grant awards were announced in October. This grant would be aimed at developing genetically enhanced ebvs for sheep on NSIP. John said we should try to get all sires, ¾ of the ewes and enough lambs to get our genetic base population.
- Membership dues reminder was sent out from Associated Registries.
- The board will be looking at short and long term goals of the APSA in the near future.
- Associated Registries will increase the cost of what they charge APSA from $3.15 to 3.55 per animal but the PP Assoc will not pass this increased charge on to producers. Associated Registries said this price will not change for at least 5 years.
John Anderson, Secretary