ASI Takes Sheep Issues to D.C.
ASI led a contingent of more than 60 members of the sheep industry to Washington D.C. last month for meetings with with senators, congressmen, USDA officials and representatives from the U.S. Forest Service.
The goal was to communicate sheep industry wants and needs – and the effort was very focused on a half-dozen major issues.
Domestic and bighorn sheep, predators and wildlife services, the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station, mandatory price reporting, trade and H-2A sheepherder provisions were the main points stressed by producers and the industry.
USDA meetings were arranged with four offices: Wildlife Services, Agriculture Marketing Service, Trade and Veterinary Services. ASI was also efforting a meeting with the Department of Labor to discuss the H2A program and the potential rule changes involving “special procedures."
The purpose of the annual trip to D.C. each spring is to bring the message of the sheep industry to the nation’s capital and coordinate updates on wool, lamb, trade, sheep disease and protection programs. Visits with federal policy makers regarding legislation and meetings with agriculture and land management agencies about programs that impact the business of sheep producers have proven to be valuable.
This year’s trip got off to a good start, as USDA Under Secretary Edward Avalos made a surprise visit to sheep industry leaders while they visited with USDA officials on March 24. Avalos congratulated attendees on their “commitment to the industry by taking the time from their farms and ranches to come to Washington to discuss the issues of importance to the industry.”