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Important for Industry to Continue Momentum into 2015
By Clint Krebs
As we start the new year, I think it is important to look back over the past year. Most of the time, at our operations, we are so busy doing the day-to-day work that we forget the major changes that have been made. I think the same thing could be said about the American Sheep Industry.
First, the hiring of Alan Culham as the new Let’s Grow coordinator is a major step for our industry. The Let’s Grow project started when Glen Fisher was president six years ago, and I feel it has made positive changes for the sheep industry.
Now that we can fund and hire additional staff, I think we can look for many more good things to happen. Welcome aboard, Alan, and thank you for taking on a job that will help the entire sheep industry.
Also of note from 2014, the American Lamb Board’s Roadmap is up and running with some major changes being presented. It is positive to see “solutions” about some of our biggest problems being “talked about,” instead of just hearing people complain about the “problem.” I think it unlikely that we will see any big changes in this short one year time frame, as it takes time to implement anything worthwhile.
I do know we have a lot of good people working very hard to hammer out positive changes. I would like to thank everyone who is taking part in this project for volunteering their time and talent.
In February of 2014, we finally passed the farm bill. It included funding for the Sheep Improvement Center and reauthorized the wool fabric provision. These funds have made positive changes for our industry in the past, and I am sure we can expect to see additional good things in the future.
A lot of the outcomes we see every day on our farms and ranches are the result of things happening in Washington D.C. Having the privilege of working with Jim Richards, our lobbyist in D.C., I can say having him on board, has made for many positive results.
Thank you to Jim and everyone at Cornerstone Consulting.
We now have 37 congressional members supporting our position regarding grazing domestic sheep along with bighorn sheep. This is a major change from the past where too many people, felt it was a local issue in Idaho. We have been able to show this issue is being orchestrated by environmental groups to affect everyone who is using public lands in the west.
Thank you to not only our supporters in Congress but to everyone who has donated money to fund the scientific research needed to prove our position. Dr. Maggie Highland, and Dr. Don Knowles especially deserve a special thanks.
The legislative sub-committee on H-2A has been able to bring together all the working-groups responsible for bringing in a legal work force for the sheep industry (for more than 50 years), and come up with a proposal to the Department of Labor. This proposal will make positive changes not only for the employers, but for the more than 1,300 guest workers we have working for the sheep industry.
THESE ARE JUST A FEW OF THE CHANGES that come to my mind, and there are many others. I think it always important to look back over the past. One of my favorite sayings is, “When you stop living and making changes, you start dying.”
As we start this new year I think our industry is very much alive, and that we will continue to make positive changes in the future. I’m looking forward to see everyone in Reno.