The American Sheep Industry Association (ASI), along with state associations, fully supported the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service's (ARS) proposed action of "no new federal action" to continue historic sheep grazing on ARS lands, U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management allotments and a Department of Energy feedlot.
These were the ASI comments submitted on the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station (USSES) Grazing and Associated Activities Project 2010. ASI believes this is by far the best option for USSES to achieve its research goals and objectives of developing integrated methods for increasing production efficiency of sheep and to simultaneously improve the sustainability of rangeland ecosystems.
The USSES is very important to the U.S. sheep industry. Since its establishment in 1918, the USSES has been instrumental in sheep breed development, evaluation and improvement as well as making germplasm available to ranchers. Three of the top 10 sheep breeds in the U.S. were developed at the USSES--Columbia, Targhee and Polypay.
Rangelands and range nutrition research has historically been, and are currently, extremely important focuses at the USSES. Unmatched information on managing grazing on sagebrush steppe to preserve native ecosystems has been produced. Most of the research at the USSES spans multiple years and some of the long-term genetics and rangeland research necessarily spans more than 70 years. In many cases, the USSES is the only location in North America with the appropriate land and animal resources for these types of long-term experiments and technology transfer.
Also, the USSES is unique in that new research and work conducted over the past 90 years can be integrated to provide a clearer understanding of the long-term consequences of animal and range management strategies.
For these reasons and many more, ASI supports ARS' proposed action of no new federal action.