August 2005 -- The fiscal 2006 appropriations for agriculture has been approved by the U.S. House of Representatives. This legislation funds key programs in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that assist the U.S. sheep industry.
Successfully funded projects that directly impact the sheep industry include: national scrapie eradication, wool research, Wildlife Services (WS) operations, WS research, National Sheep Industry Improvement Center (NSIIC) and Foreign Agricultural Services programs.
Rep. Henry Bonilla (R-Texas), as subcommittee chairman, shepherded the scrapie-eradication program to receive $19.3 million, an increase of nearly $2 million over the current year. Funding for university wool-research programs has been retained at $300,000.
WS operations will receive an increase to nearly $79 million while WS methods development will be budgeted at $14.4 million.
Additionally, Chairman Bonilla restored funds that would have been cut from livestock protection under the President?s budget. Wolf management funds of $1.2 million for Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, New Mexico and Arizona plus $1.3 million for Idaho, Montana and Wyoming have been allocated.
Other highlights include $1 million for the aviation safety program with $200,000 for a Virginia predator program.
Nearly $500,000 is allocated to NSIIC to continue funding loans and grants for the advancement of the U.S. sheep industry.
The bill also fully funded both the Marketing Assistance Program (MAP) and the Foreign Market Development (FMD) at $200 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.
In addition to these funded programs, Bonilla included language in the bill regarding the Livestock Risk Protection (LRP) program for lamb.
?The committee supports a lamb price insurance, risk management pilot for the U.S. sheep industry and understands that a lamb Livestock Risk Protection program would be beneficial for producers. The committee urges the Risk Management Agency to implement an LRP-Lamb pilot project of sufficient size and pilot length to properly test the viability of lamb price insurance for sheep producers of all size operations and geography,? he said.
Country-of-origin labeling of meat was also discussed. Rep. Dennis Rehberg (R-Mont.) did not have enough votes to approve an amendment to keep the mandatory provision as a 2006 implementation date versus the 2007 date listed in the final bill. ASI supports the 2006 implementation date for lamb labeling.
?In addition to Chairman Bonilla securing increased funding for the national scrapie-eradication program and keeping key funds in place for research and predator control, ASI applauds his support of the language on the Lamb-LRP program, which signals the strong support of the industry, as well as Congress for the project at the USDA,? states Peter Orwick, executive director of ASI.