DENVER, Colo. ?The American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) board of directors unanimously approved the association?s fiscal year 2006-2007 Wool Trust budget via mailed ballots at the end of August. The budget proposal had been recommended by the ASI American Wool Council and the executive board during their July meeting.
The $2,250,000 budget provides programs and services that will improve the viability of the sheep industry and address the American Wool Trust objectives.
Through the market development and promotions program, ASI will continue to explore market opportunities for wool and maintain a strong emphasis on developing U.S.-made wool products for military uses. Further work will help refine the current enzyme process which makes wool products machine-washable. There will be additional exploration into wool/Nomex? blended products, a comfortable, flame-retardant, high-strength fabric, for the civilian market and military underwear applications. In addition, ASI will facilitate further research of the encapsulation process, which enhances water repellency without eliminating breath-ability, on wool fabrics for the civilian-performance markets.
Direct marketing activities with international wool buyers will continue to be funded in the upcoming fiscal year. Those activities include trade teams, communications and in-country representatives, who continually service the trade. Trade missions and processing trials are major components of the international program. The quality improvement program will continue to assist new international customers to learn more about American wool or traditional users to try new U.S. wool products.
Programs to recruit, train and retain people into the sheep shearing profession are focused to help increase the number of shearers available to the sheep industry. This program, in conjunction with the Certified U.S. Wool Clip Program, will continue to bring domestic wool quality to preferred world-wide standards.
In addition, emphasis will be placed on further education of the use of the AWEX-ID (Australian Wool Exchange Identification) program. ASI will continue working with the U.S. wool infrastructure on its implementation, which includes the development of the auditing system to maintain integrity of the descriptions and registration of AWEX-ID appraisers.
Market information and analysis for the sheep industry, quality-assurance, animal-health and trade services are a critical component of the budget.
The ASI producer communications program will continue as changes will be made to the ASI Web site, www.sheepusa.org, and a Web site will be created for the Sheep Industry News. In addition, funds have been allocated for printed materials, press releases, radio spot requests and for the 2007 annual convention, which will be held in San Antonio, Texas.
In addition to the Wool Trust budget, ASI has matching funds allocated to continue to apply for more than $900,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture?s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), which will be used to promote U.S. wool and pelts internationally.
Fund II Budget
Board members also approved the proposed ASI Fund II budget that had been recommended by the executive board. This budget carries the legislative and membership services, the Meyer?s and Associates lobbying program and continues the new staff position in Washington, D.C., for the ASI Resource Management Program. This position allows ASI to further address key issues of the U.S. sheep industry, such as predator control, public and private land use, endangered species and wildlife interaction issues across the country.
The budget revenue for the coming year includes the first dues increase since 1989.
?As is evident by the board of director?s vote, the industry is supportive of ASI?s services,? says Paul Frischknecht, president of ASI. ?We look forward to tackling the key issues and opportunities of the nation?s sheep industry in 2007.?
ASI is a national trade organization supported by 43 state sheep association, benefiting the interests of nearly 68,000 sheep producers