October 6, 2006
October 6, 2006 - Effective Sept. 30, 2006, the National Sheep Industry Improvement Center (NSIIC) became the new American Sheep and Goat Center (ASGC), a Utah nonprofit corporation.
NSIIC was established in the 1996 Farm Bill to strengthen the infrastructure of the sheep industry. It has provided loans and grants for business ventures when normal commercial credit or funding was not available. Since 2000, the center has provided 56 loans to 38 entities in 21 states for approximately $15.5 million. The center has also made 58 grants totaling $20,754,529.
Federal legislation authorized the sheep center until it reached $50 million in funding or until September of 2006. Approximately $20 million in appropriations is still needed to complete the initial charge of the 1996 Farm Bill. For this reason, the NSIIC board of directors prepared plans for a private entity to assume the current assets and charges.
As the national trade association that successfully secured the original center, the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) has actively communicated in the appropriations process as well as in hearings for the upcoming Farm Bill the importance of re-authorizing the center and securing the balance of the funding.
ASI President Paul Frischknecht commented, "We applaud the development of the new center to fulfill the existing slate of grant and investment responsibilities. It is positive to allow the completion of the current projects while at the same time have an additional board working to assist our business.
"The center is expected to continue strong support of risk-management options for the industry," added Frischknecht. "In both the agricultural appropriations process and in the next Farm Bill, ASI supports the re-authorization of the NSIIC in order to complete the investment funding."
The new center will notify the existing grant recipients of the change. Current contact information can be utilized until further notice.