Sheep Station Update
July 3, 2014

It was reported in the ASI Weekly Newsletter last week that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack proposed to Congress that he reprogram funding of the Agricultural Research Service's U.S. Sheep Experiment Station (USSES) in Dubois, Idaho. This would close the station - despite a prohibition on closings imposed by Congress.

Idaho Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter communicated his concerns for the sheep industry and his state's economy with Vilsack and the Western Governors Association, expressing his concern that this closure decision was announced without first communicating with Idaho.

Members of the House of Representatives signed a letter to Chairman Robert Aderholt stating that members of Congress were unaware of the decision to reprogram federal funding from the USSES until after the decision was made.

Reps. Steve Daines (Mont.), Doc Hastings (Wash.), Raul Labrador (Idaho), Rodgers McMorris (Wash.), Mike Simpson (Idaho) and Greg Walden (Ore.) asked the House Appropriations subcommittee chair to deny the department's request.

American Sheep Industry Association President Clint Krebs (Ore.) thanked the members for their actions to defend the station.

"Your letter to the appropriations subcommittee was absolutely spot on in requesting disapproval of the reprogramming request that would shut down the USDA's lone sheep station," Krebs applauded.

"It appears to me that the department planned to take the easiest route to avoid harassing litigation by anti-grazing entities," continued Krebs. "Shutting down the station may perhaps be the easiest route for USDA but it is clearly not the best route for our industry."

All of this correspondence is available at www.sheepusa.org by clicking on the Issues and Programs tab and then Sheep Station.