The National Sheep Industry Improvement Center (NSIIC) board of directors is accepting grant proposals designed to improve the competitiveness of the U.S. sheep and goat industries.
Proposals must be submitted before midnight, Sept. 15. The center has approximately $1 million available for grants that will support facility and infrastructure improvements designed to strengthen and enhance the production and marketing of sheep and goat products in the United States through infrastructure development, business development, production, resource development and market and environmental research
The American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) established the Sheep Center in the 2008 Farm Bill and worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) to set up the federal regulations and the appointment of sheep producers and marketers to the board of directors.
“ASI is pleased that the board has identified increasing American lamb and wool production as a top priority for its support as it parallels the 2011 through 2014 nationally approved initiative of “Lets Grow” to build the sheep inventory to meet new demand,” stated Peter Orwick, ASI executive director. “ASI encourages state sheep associations and businesses interested in projects to build sheep numbers to coordinate with the ASI office on grant proposals that can impact regional and national efforts.”
Financial assistance provided by NSIIC must accomplish one or more of the following objectives:
Strengthen and improve long-term sustainability of the lamb and wool industry’s infrastructure by increasing the numbers in production;
Provide integration of performance/production data from sources that can help enhance the National Sheep Improvement Program;
Provide leadership training and education to producers and packers within the sheep and goat industries;
Enhance sheep and/or goat production by improving the infrastructure of the U.S. sheep and goat industry through assistance to all segments of the industry to address sustainable production and marketing of sheep and goat milk, meat, fiber and related services such as grazing for fire management and pasture improvements;
Promote lamb and meat goat marketing through an organized method that can measure tangible results; and
Enhance the sheep and goat industry by coordinating information exchange and seeking mutual understanding and marketing within the international industry community.
The nine-member board is comprised 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 Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs and the Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics.
The Board will review each proposal, recommend funding and submit them to AMS for approval.