The American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) initiated coalition letters supporting an increase in funding in the 2010 appropriations bill for livestock protection programs administered through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service's Wildlife Services (WS) agency. The program is crucial to a healthy sheep and cattle industry in the United States.
Well over 250,000 sheep and nearly 150,000 cattle are lost to predators each year. The value of the animals lost to predators and predator control costs are major expenses in the livestock industries affecting tens of thousands of farm families across the country. Without additional federal funding to support existing livestock protection programs, predation management expertise will be lost and livestock grazing in some areas will be jeopardized.
Letters were sent to the leadership of the Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies at both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. A total of 59 sheep and cattle producer organizations, wildlife management and state government entities supported the effort in the Western United States, with 40 industry groups signing onto the letter requesting funding for the Eastern region.
Wildlife management programs are funded in a variety of ways from state to state with federal funding being just one source. State, county, private industry and predator districts are carrying the bulk of the costs associated with livestock protection efforts.
"These joint livestock industry letters are one useful tool for state association leaders to use with their congressional delegations to line up funding for their state and multi-state livestock protection programs," stated Peter Orwick, ASI executive director.
Staff contact: Peter Orwick, ext. 33