January 2005 -- The fiscal 2005 Omnibus Appropriations Bill has been approved by both the House and Senate. The bill provides nearly $85.3 billion in mandatory agriculture spending for the next fiscal year. However, all funding figures are subject to a 0.83-percent across-the-board reduction.
Successfully funded projects that directly impact the sheep industry include: scrapie eradication, wool research, Wildlife Services operations, Wildlife Services research, National Sheep Industry Improvement Center (NSIIC), the Market Assistance Program and the Foreign Market Development program.
The scrapie eradication program is slated to receive $17.7 million, an increase from the $15.4 million received in the current year. Funding for university wool research programs remains stable at $300,000.
Wildlife Services operations will receive a slight increase, to $73.7 million, while Wildlife Services? methods development will maintain a $17.4-million budget.
An increase from $500,000 to $1 million has been allocated to NSIIC for the continuance of loans and grants aimed at advancing the U.S. sheep industry.
The bill also fully funds both the Marketing Assistance Program (MAP) and the Foreign Market Development (FMD) at $140 million and $34.5 million, respectively. The American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) utilizes these matching-funds programs as a means of cost-sharing promotional and developmental functions for wool and pelts as well as overseas marketing activities.
?The sheep industry compliments House Chairman Henry Bonilla (R-TX) and the Chairman of the Senate Robert Bennett (R-UT) for their support and leadership in the additional funding of key sheep programs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture,? commented ASI Executive Director, Peter Orwick. ?Members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senators Larry Craig (R-ID) and Conrad Burns (R-MT), are also commended for going the extra mile to assist our industry.?
The bill awaits the President?s signature.