NSIIC Grants Will Be Available

NSIIC Grants Will Be Available

The National Sheep Industry Improvement Center continues to offer grants to the sheep industry for projects that accomplish the goals as outlined in the NSIIC Strategic Plan.

The center was re-established in the 2008 Farm Bill and authorized limited funding at that point. Then, as a part of the 2014 Farm Bill, the center was awarded funding by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service to be used for the Sheep Production and Marketing Grant Program. Grant funding can be used on activities designed to:

• Strengthen and enhance the production and marketing of sheep and sheep products in the United States through the improvement of infrastructure, business, resource development and the development of innovative approaches to solve long-term problems.

• Provide leadership training and education to stakeholders.

• Enhance sheep and sheep products in the United States through assistance to all segments of the industry to address sustainable production and marketing of sheep and sheep products.

• Promote marketing of sheep and sheep products through an organized method that can measure tangible results.

• Enhance the sheep industry by coordinating information exchange and by seeking mutual understanding and marketing within the industry community.

Listed below is a cross section of projects funded fully or in part by the Sheep Center during recent years.  Some of these projects are completed and some are ongoing.

The Sheep Center board is very proud of the selection of grantees and the progress they have made in helping the sheep industry as a whole. This list is but a short representation of the kinds of grants funded by the center.

• Utah State University – Uses a high-density SNP Chip in identifying genetic regions that influence footrot in sheep. The project obtains genomic DNA from blood samples from clinically diagnosed footrot animals and compares them with non-footrot animals for genetic markers that span the genome of each animal.

• Ranching For Profit – Grant funds provided scholarships to sheep and goat producers to attend this highly praised school. Knowing how to raise sheep is a completely different proposition than knowing how to build and operate a business that raises sheep.

• Mountain States Rosen – This project was a multi-media effort to promote the distinctive extraordinary and little-known attributes of American lamb. Using “opt-in” digital and social media, the project sought to drive increased interest and sales.

• Instrument Grading Project – This project sought to develop and finalize instrument performance standards for lamb carcass field (cut ability) and quality grading, thus augmenting official USDA grade determination of lamb carcasses. It was also designed to produce data analysis/evaluation for benefit and effectiveness of the system to enhance the industry’s return on investment.

• Certified Lamb, California Wool Growers – This project is seeking to provide an avenue through which sheep producers can market a new, desirable, high quality and value-added product to consumers with a Certified California Lamb label.

• Kentucky State Sheep and Goat Development Office – Small Ruminant School – To help offset the reduction in quality sheep and goats in the state and provide a more sustainable environment for small ruminant production, this project is working toward assisting new, struggling, small ruminant producers.

• Sheep Venture Company – This grant funded the development of a guard dog and herding dog liability policy, and preparation of the loss prevention and marketing materials necessary to sell to the livestock industry, principally the sheep and goat industry. This insurance is beneficial because most farm and ranch insurance policies exclude working dogs.

• National Lamb Feeder’s Association Leadership School – The Howard Wyman Sheep Industry Leadership School was created primarily to help new people in the industry increase their knowledge and understanding of the changing industry. The Sheep Center has helped fund this school for several years. 

NSIIC is encouraging all segments of the industry to apply for funding for projects that will benefit the industry and will fall into the parameters of the priorities as outlined above. Currently, the center has budgeted approximately $300,000 for grants that will support projects consistent with the grant program objectives.

The primary objective of the Sheep Production and Marketing Grant Program is to fund a number of projects determined by industry leaders to be priorities for benefiting the sheep industry.

At the present time, we are anticipating an application announcement of July 1, with a deadline of Aug. 31, 2016.  Go to NSIIC.org for the application template and examples of previously funded projects.

The nine-member board is composed of seven voting and two non-voting members. Voting members include four domestic producers of sheep or goats, two members with expertise in finance and management and one member with expertise in lamb, wool, goat or goat product marketing. Non-voting members include the USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs and the USDA Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics. The board will review each proposal, recommend funding amounts and submit final recommendations to USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service for approval.

Please remember that individuals do not qualify and that applicants’ eligibility is restricted to a defined  entity,  e.g. a partnership, a corporation, a 501(c)(3) or a research institution. Both for profit and non-profit entities are eligible. The formal announcement will be posted on the web at NSIIC.org and distributed throughout the industry.  We expect this announcement will be made in early summer with a submission deadline approximately 60 days thereafter. Question or comments may be addressed by calling Steve Lee, Program Manager at 202-350-9065 or 207-236-6567, or by e-mail at stevelee@nsiic.org.

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