The federal budget for the next fiscal year as proposed this week by the President would impact U.S. Department of Agriculture program spending by increasing one export promotion program and decreasing the Market Access Program. Changes to payment limits, eligibility of commodity programs and user fees on federal meat inspection would also be affected.
Of additional interest to sheep producers is a proposed elimination of a provision important to American wool mills referred to as grants to wool manufacturers. Twenty-five percent of the American wool clip is produced for clothing used by the U.S. armed services. Purchases of wool and wool-blend clothing by the American military is approximately $147 million annually.
A statement by the American Sheep Industry Association expresses concern with this proposed cut as the wool textile processing chain that produces the wool garments for the armed services is fragile and a small loss of textile companies shuts down American production.
If Canadian firms resume their unfair competition and put American wool companies out of business, American service men and women will be forced to rely on foreign-made clothing.
The inability of America to process wool garments means the loss of the single largest market for U.S. wool producers and certainly the loss of most domestic purchases.
Staff contact: Peter Orwick, ext. 33