Reprograming of Dubois Funding Denied
July 18, 2014

Rep. Mike Simpson (Idaho) announced that the agriculture subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee blocked the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) planned closure of the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station (USSES) in Dubois, Idaho.

Simpson worked with other western House members asking Chairman Robert Aderholt (Ala.) to deny a request by USDA's Agricultural Research Service to reprogram funds from the sheep station, which would have result in its closure. Simpson was pleased to report that the request had been denied.

"Because of its location and expertise, experts at the Idaho station are conducting research that no other facility is currently able to do, including unique research on the domestic-wildlife interface that is vital to the future of the sheep industry," Simpson said. "Closing down the Dubois station would effectively end this important research, and it would be a huge loss to American agriculture, which is why my western colleagues and I are fighting so hard to keep it open."

"I'm pleased that we have avoided shutting down the Dubois center for now, but I recognize that this decision does not eliminate the potential threat of a future closure of USSES," Simpson said. "I will continue to work with USDA, University of Idaho and members of the sheep industry to ensure the long-term viability of the sheep center at Dubois. It is critical that the sheep industry have a voice in future USDA decisions affecting their economic vitality."

Vilsack sent a letter to Aderholt on June 17 saying that the station had become a liability and the station was being slated for closure on Nov. 3. Congress had 30 days to respond to Vilsack's decision, which would have been July 17.

"The Dubois facility is the only national station dedicated to sheep research," said Peter Orwick, American Sheep Industry Association executive director. "The sheep industry agrees with Rep. Simpson that, with the proposal provided by USDA, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to meet the research needs of the industry. Most of the research being done at the station cannot be duplicated outside of this facility. This situation provides a great opportunity to address sheep research and the use of the Dubois station."