USDA Announces New Programs to Assist Sheep Producers

Targeted News Service

WASHINGTON, July 28 -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture'sAgricultural Marketing Service issued the following news release:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced today two new programs to assist the sheep industry with the production and marketing of their products in the United States.

Through the new Sheep Production and Marketing Grant Program, approximately $1.5 million in grant funds are now available to assist the sheep industry. Additionally, AMS' existing verification program for small-scale livestock producers will now include opportunities for the grass-fed sheep industry.

"USDA is committed to working with sheep producers as they continue to provide quality products and increase their returns here at home," said USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Ed Avalos. "The Sheep Production and Marketing Grant Program, as well as inclusion in the USDA Grass Fed Program for Small and Very Small Producers, will create new opportunities for growth and innovation within the sheep industry."

Authorized by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (2014 Farm Bill), the Sheep Production and Marketing Grant Program is designed to strengthen and enhance the production and marketing of sheep and sheep products in the United States by improving infrastructure, business and resource development, and by supporting innovative approaches to address long-term needs. Through this program, AMS will award grant funds to at least one national entity that is working to strengthen and enhance the production and marketing of sheep and sheep products in the United States.

Eligible organizations must submit an application for Federal assistance and sign a grant agreement via by August 27, 2014 at 5p.m. EST. Applications received after this deadline will not be considered for funding. Additional information will be provided on the program's website at

The USDA Grass Fed Program for Small and Very Small Producers was designed as a verification tool for small and very small-scale producers to certify that animals meet the requirements of the grass-fed marketing claim standard. The program was first announced in April for the grass fed beef industry, and now sheep have been added to the program. For this program, USDA is targeting producers that market lambs produced from 99 head of ewes or less per year. Producers who are certified under the new program will receive certificates that allow them to market their sheep as USDA-certified grass fed, increasing their market value and creating new economic opportunities for these producers. Additional information is available at This program is part of the many USDA services available to small and midsized producers. More information about these programs is available at

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Today's funding announcement for this new grant program was made possible by the 2014 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit

For additional information on the grant program, contact Kenneth Payne, Division Director, AMS Livestock, Poultry, and Seed Program's Research and Promotion Division, at (202) 720-5705, or via email at [email protected]. For additional information on the grass-fed program, contact Steve Ross, National Assessment Services Supervisor, AMS Livestock, Poultry and Seed Program's Quality Assessment Division at (970) 346-0567, or via email at [email protected].

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