Iowa Sheep Industry Looks to Increase State Checkoff Investment
May 18, 2012

The Iowa Legislature authored a bill that was signed by Gov. Branstad to allow sheep producers the opportunity to increase the state sheep checkoff rate. A special referendum will be held this summer. 
Producer voters can authorize an initial increase in the per head assessment from the current 10 cents to 25 cents per head. If the proposed increase to 25 cents per head fails, then the current rate of 10 cents will remain in effect. 
If the increase to 25 cents is approved, a second question will be asked as to whether the Iowa Sheep and Wool Promotion Board (ISWPB) should be empowered to have the authority, by resolution, to subsequently change the per head assessment under the following guidelines:
the rate cannot be lowered and it cannot be raised by more than 5 cents once every three years,
the maximum rate is capped at 50 cents per head and
the rate will only be changed after a producer comment period deems it necessary.
The Iowa sheep checkoff began in the 1980s, and, at the time, generated approximately $100,000 annually in collections. Due to a decrease in the number of sheep produced in the state, collections have declined to $50,000 annually. Based on current production numbers, an increase in the assessment would generate approximately an additional $30,000. This would bring the overall budget of the ISWPB to $80,000, which will be used for education and promotion of lamb and wool. 
"The biggest issue the ISWPB faces is not being able to fund all of the requests they receive," said Micky Burch, executive director of the Iowa Sheep Industry Association. "Research and promotion funding requests are reviewed quarterly and often projects cannot be funded in their entirety or at all. The proposed assessment increase will allow the ISWPB to fund more requests and continue to help grow the Iowa sheep industry."