The interim final rule published on July 23 to establish the National Sheep Industry Improvement Center (NSIIC) became effective this week.
"The American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) is pleased that this first step has been accomplished and that the center is now effective," commented Glen Fisher (Texas), ASI president. "We are seeking to have a board appointed and the program operational by the end of the year."
The center was established in the 2008 Farm Bill with $1 million provided up front, as well as authorization for appropriations in the amount of $10 million for each of the fiscal years 2008 through 2012. The legislation established a NSIIC revolving fund in the U.S. Department of the Treasury for making grants to eligible entities.
The purpose of the sheep center is to strengthen and enhance production and marketing of sheep or goat products in the United States through infrastructure development, business development, production, resource development and market and environmental research.
The ASI executive board this week submitted a slate of 14 nominations for the seven voting director slots. The board will be appointed by Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack and will be composed of four active producers of sheep, two finance and management members and one member with lamb or wool marketing expertise.