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IN Sheep and Wool checkoff program

Purdue Extension

The sale of wool or sheep in Indiana will have a special assessment tacked on to it beginning next month.

Members of the industry approved the checkoff program this summer after a petition initiated the process last year. The 0.5% assessment for each transaction is expected to raise $30,000-$40,000 annually.

Jerry Fankhauser, assistant director of the Office of Agricultural Research at Purdue (ARP), administered the check-off process. ARP is within the College of Agriculture.

He says funds may be used for promotion, consumer and producer education, and research.

"The Sheep and Wool Market Development Council entertains proposals, either from those within the industry or elsewhere – maybe researchers here in the college putting together a proposal – and votes on funding such proposals.”

Fankhauser says members are still being selected for the council.

The most recent Census of Agriculture figures for sheep and lamb inventory in Indiana. New Census figures are expected in Feb. 2014.

Tippecanoe, Clinton and Montgomery are among the top-ten sheep and lamb producing counties in the state, according to the last Census of Agriculture. Still, the number of sheep per operation is small.

Indiana Sheep Association (ISA) president Mike Crowder says while the average flock size in Indiana is less than 20 head, producers want to thrive.

“A lot of our farms are small, hobby farms,” he says. “Folks just like to raise sheep and they’re trying to figure out ways to best promote it to keep it equitable for them to continue.”

Indiana had a sheep and wool checkoff as recently has 2002, but state law did away with that when the national checkoff program began. New legislation is allowing the state program to return.

Stan Poe is the owner/operator of Poe Hampshires in Johnson County and past president of the ISA. He says most Hoosiers are unaware of the state’s sheep and wool industry.

“The funding could allow us to do more in-state research, more in-state promotion, rather than relying on the national association to do that for us or provide the funding for us. We can do our own.”

Poe says Indiana receives some money from the national checkoff program, but it’s much less than what is expected from the state program.