FY 2006 Appropriations Testimony
March 18, 2005
Last week, the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) took the opportunity to present formal testimony to the U.S. Senate and House subcommittees on agriculture appropriations in support of U.S. Department of Agriculture programs for next fiscal year. ASI President Paul Frischknecht outlined the industries priorities in appropriating funding for critical agricultural programs.
National Sheep Industry Improvement Center. ASI strongly supported the $1 million funding level given to the sheep center in FY 2005 and urges the subcommittees to continue funding at that level for FY 2006.
Scrapie Eradication. Essential to the scrapie eradication effort being accomplished in a timely manner is adequate funding. The industry urges the subcommittee to support the President's request of $19 million for this program.
Wildlife Services. The value of sheep and lambs lost to predators and predator control expenses are second only to feed costs for sheep production. ASI supports the FY 2005 appropriations level for Wildlife Services operations and methods development programs, particularly as it relates to livestock protection. The industry requests the committees to restore the funding levels that have been decreased in the Administration's FY 2006 budget, and approve the initial $9 million for the livestock protection program for Wildlife Services operations.
Risk Management Agency (RMA). This is the first time the sheep industry is supporting RMA due to its assistance in developing a livestock risk protection product for lamb (LRP-Lamb). ASI urges the subcommittees to support the President's request and recommend additional funding to enable RMA to deliver insurance products for both traditional crops and for the livestock sector.
Foreign Agricultural Service. Full funding for these programs is encouraged. This includes the Market Access, Quality Samples and the Foreign Market Development Programs. ASI is the cooperator for American wool and sheep pelts and has achieved solid success in increasing exports of domestic product.
ASI also recommended continued funding for numerous research projects that are relevant to the sheep industry. Included in these research projects are: the Minor Use Animal Drug Program, emerging and exotic diseases, rangeland restoration, grazing, wool quality, and competitiveness of lamb and wool in the marketplace.
"Like the 2005 fiscal year budget, the committees are again working within tight budget constraints," commented Peter Orwick, ASI executive director. "We are asking the subcommittees to help producers build upon the first growth in the U.S. sheep industry since 1990 by approving appropriation funding for these critical programs."
Staff contact: Peter Orwick, ext. 33