Sheep producers further their causes

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COLUMBUS – Recently, two representatives from the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association, Jim Percival and Roger High, traveled to the nation’s capitol for the annual American Sheep Industry Spring Legislative Trip.
A sheep producer from Greene County, Percival is a member of American Sheep Industry’s Legislative Council while High serves as Ohio Sheep Improvement Association’s executive director.
Purpose. The purpose of the legislative trip was to inform members of Ohio’s congressional delegation about important policy issues related to Ohio’s sheep industry.
While in Washington, association representatives had the privilege of meeting with Sen. Sherrod Brown and Reps. Zach Space and Jim Jordan. He also met with aides to Reps. Charlie Wilson, John Boehner and Sen. George Voinovich.
Issues discussed during these meetings included the 2007 farm bill; reauthorization of the National Sheep Industry Improvement Center; support for the Wool Loan Deficiency Payment; and the conservation title for prescriptive grazing with sheep that included the possibility of adding the ewe lamb payment under disaster assistance for agriculture.
Issues. Another important issue discussed included support for H.R. 1760, which would allow state-inspected meat to be shipped across state lines.
Ohio’s delegation also encouraged an opposition vote on legislation that would ban the slaughter of horses in the U.S.; emphasized the continued need to maintain the current animal identification system sometimes referred to as the Scrapie Identification System; and asked for continued support for the scrapie eradication program.
Possibly the most important thing the association’s representatives discussed was for increased funding for USDA-Wildlife Services in the eastern region of the United States.
With increased losses to predators such as coyotes and black vultures, this is becoming a more significant issue.
The eastern sheep and cattle industries are working with other livestock trade organizations and Farm Bureau to request an increase in the funding for USDA-Wildlife Services in states such as Ohio.
More information. For more information about Ohio Sheep Improvement Association, refer to its Web site, www.ohiosheep.org, or contact the office at 614-246-8299.

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