September 15, 2003
ASI Wool Council, Executive Board Meet in Denver
Members of the American Sheep Industry Association executive board convened in Denver July 11-12, 2003.
Two priority items included board approval of the FY 2003-2004 Wool Trust budget, which was presented by ASI?s wool council, as well as approval of the FY 2003-2004 dues budget.
Both budgets were recommended for approval by ASI?s board of directors, whose members received a mail ballot in August.
Committee reports included an update by Janet Mawhinney, chair of the Legislative Action Council, concerning the one-year extension of the Lamb Market Adjustment Assistance Program (LMAAP). To date, 24 U.S. senators and numerous U.S. representatives have backed ASI by communicating their support to extend the LMAAP program to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Chairman Henry Bonilla (R-TX) included language in the FY 04 appropriations bill urging USDA to extend the retained ewe-lamb program for an additional year.
Tentatively set for September 25-26 in Washington, D.C., is the second Lamb Summit between the sheep industries of Australia, New Zealand and the United States. The board worked toward developing an agenda for this gathering that would be beneficial to the U.S. sheep industry. Potential topics for discussion include pharmaceuticals, quality improvement and an inquiry into which markets and programs are showing increased lamb demand for Australia and New Zealand. It was agreed that Guy Flora and Cleve Dumdi would select the U.S. participants for the September meeting.
The Minor Use/Minor Species (MUMS) legislation was discussed. Adding a tax incentive component to the language of the bill would provide additional incentive to pharmaceutical companies to label products for the U.S. sheep industry.
Margaret Soulen-Hinson updated the board on the progress of the sheep insurance project, through which ASI is seeking funds to assist in the development of an insurance program.
A priority for the sheep industry is to finalize completion of an emergency communication plan in the event an animal-health issue should arise. The board will continue to explore the best avenues in the development of this substantial communications plan.
A national animal health identification plan is being discussed by many in industry and government, which generated considerable discussion, questions and concerns at the meeting. ASI is represented on the national committee and agreed to communicate with the organizers of the plan that the sheep industry will continue to participate in this endeavor, but that endorsement of the proposed rule would be held until publication of the plan.
The next meeting of the ASI Executive Board is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 24-25, 2003.