The Iowa 2012 Legislature has authored a bill that was signed by Governor Terry Branstad to allow sheep producers the opportunity to increase the state sheep checkoff assessment rate. A special referendum will be held this summer in which producers will be asked to vote on two items.
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, the second question is whether the Iowa Sheep & Wool Promotion Board or 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
* The rate will only be changed after a producer comment period deems it necessary
Why Iowa sheep industry leaders want to increase state checkoff investment
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 would 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 the board receives," says Micky Burch, executive director of the Iowa Sheep Industry Association. "Education and market promotion funding requests are reviewed quarterly by the board and often projects cannot be funded in their entirety or some can't be funded at all. The proposed assessment increase will allow the ISWPB to fund more requests and continue to help grow the Iowa sheep industry."
More information on the referendum will be available in the coming weeks. For more information contact Micky Burch, executive director, Iowa Sheep Industry Association