June 15, 2004
June 2004 -- When we established a national organization in 1865 the main purpose was political. We needed protection from cheap woolen imports. So we organized ourselves and went to Washington, D.C. and told our congressmen that we needed protection. The result was the Tariff Act of 1867, which was what we needed to protect us.
In this tradition at the end of April more than 40 sheep men and women from across the country paid their own way to Washington and met with representatives and senators about the needs of our industry. Such visits in the past have obtained for our producers such things as the extension of the ewe-lamb payments, funding for Wildlife Services, funding for scrapie eradication, price reporting and loan deficiency payments for wool. None of these programs came easily. They were the result of sheep producers walking the "hill" and knocking on congressmen's doors, spending their time and money so that the entire industry would benefit.
This year we had people from North Carolina to California and from Montana to Texas. A huge thank-you to all the following: California: John Cubiburu, Lesa Eidman, Frankie Iturriria, Dominique Minaberrigarai, Richard, Stacy and Maggie Hamilton; Colorado: Ernie Etchart, Bonnie Kline, Judy Malone, Peter Orwick; Idaho: Jeff and Cindy Siddoway, Margaret Soulen-Hinson and Joe Hinson,Iowa: Stanley Potratz; Michigan: Bill Blake; Montana: Bob Gilbert, Chase Hibbard; Nebraska: Dwight and Sharon Tisdale; New Mexico: B.J. Brock, Sara Gnatkowski, Joan Kincaid, Tom and Pam Runyan; North Carolina: Bill and Sam Sparrow; North Dakota: Burdell Johnson; Ohio: Guy Flora; Pennsylvania: Janet Mawhinney; Texas: Chico and Ginnie Denis, Glen Fisher, Doris and Hayden Haby, DA and Kati Harral, Steve Salmon, Marvin Shurley, Driana Sloan, George and Jean Sultemeirer, Ray Willoughby; Utah: Clark Willis; Virginia: Linda Campbell, Leo Tammi; Washington, D.C.: Fran Boyd, Steve Lee, Jay Wilson; West Virginia: Joe Aucremanne, Paul Rodgers; Wyoming: Jerry Dilts, Frank Philp, Bryce Reece, Sandy Snider.
We also need to send our thank-you to Meyers & Associates. Larry Meyers and his staff did their usual excellent job of cooking lamb and arranging for invitations to the ASI lamb barbecue. The lamb chops furnished by Ranchers' Lamb of Texas, were delicious. Our thanks to Chico Denis, CEO of Ranchers' Lamb, for all his assistance.
More than 175 people attended the barbecue this year including Chairman Bill Thomas (R-CA), of the House Ways and Means Committee, Sen. Craig Thomas (R-WY), Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT), Sen. Mike Enzi of (R-WY) and Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN) of the House Agriculture Committee. Again speaking with congressional staff in a social atmosphere yields tremendous results for our industry.
The four-hour briefing by U.S. Department of Agriculture officials on Friday morning finished a very intensive set of meetings on Capitol Hill.
When you receive that wool LDP check or your payment for retained ewe lambs or when that Wildlife Services officer comes to help with a predator problem, thank those volunteers who go to Washington, D.C. to speak with our government and help maintain these programs.
We started 139 years ago by protecting the American sheep industry and with your help we will continue to do so on into the future.