August 15, 2003
The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations the last week of June approved the 2004 Agriculture Appropriations bill.
Funding levels include $125 million in Foreign Agricultural Service for the Marketing Assistance Program (MAP) and $34.5 million for the Foreign Market Development (FMD), in which ASI utilizes matching funds for the conducting of international wool and pelt promotions.
Wool research was allocated $300,000 and the scrapie eradication program $15.47 million ? the same level of funding as the current fiscal year. Wildlife Services was allocated an additional $1 million, for a total of more than $70 million.
Also of interest to the U.S. sheep industry was language encouraging the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to continue funding the Lamb Meat Adjustment Assistance Program retained ewe-lamb program utilizing Section 32 funds for an additional year.
Also included in the bill was language directing the USDA to assemble a report regarding quality grading of imported lamb and beef carcasses.
?With the budget situation, the appropriation levels are extremely tight this year and we applaud Chairman Bonilla?s leadership with the Appropriations Committee in funding the crucial sheep industry programs,? said American Sheep Industry Association Executive Director Peter Orwick. ?Inclusion of language urging USDA to continue Section 32 funding of the ewe-lamb retention program is another major plus in the House bill along with language directing a report on imported lamb carcass grading.?
The full House was expected to consider the bill after the July 4th congressional recess.