House Passes Sheep-Friendly Farm Bill
June 22, 2018

The U.S. House of Representatives approved the Farm Bill on Thursday by vote of 213 to 211. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (Texas) shepherded the legislation through committee and onto the House floor this week.

The legislation is the strongest in decades for the American sheep industry with wool and cotton textile provisions and mandatory funding provided for minor species animal drug development. These were two key requests of the American Sheep Industry Association. Additional risk management is reauthorized with crop insurance and a wool marketing loan. ASI also actively supported the vaccine development program for disease preparedness, which is newly funded in the Farm Bill, as well.

"Chairman Conaway is commended for his leadership and support for the American sheep industry," said ASI President Mike Corn of New Mexico.

Also of interest are programs reauthorized for livestock emergencies, as included in testimony of ASI before the committee leadership.

ASI recognizes Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.), who secured an amendment with beneficial language to address the threat to the sheep business posed by wild sheep activists. The language was co-sponsored by Rep Dan Newhouse (Wash.) and supported by Conaway.

Amy Hendrickson, executive director of the Wyoming Wool Growers Association and a critical sponsor of the congresswoman's amendment, shared enthusiasm for this language. The amendment directs the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Department of the Interior to make vacant allotments available to grazing permit or lease holders in the event of conflict with wildlife or natural disaster. There is also language that prevents a court injunction in the event that the agency is unable to make a vacant allotment available.

For more background on the sheep provisions requested by ASI in the Farm Bill, visit https://d1cqrq366w3ike.cloudfront.net/http/DOCUMENT/SheepUSA/State%20Brochure%20May%202018.pdf.