No, I’m not trying to pull the wool over your eyes, the federal government really does fund a National Sheep Industry Improvement Center. It is part of the Agriculture Department. You can read a request for grant proposals here. Under the farm bill, the center gets $1 million dollars in mandatory funding annually and is authorized to spend $10 million more.
The center provides grants to such trade groups as the American Goat Federation and the American Lamb Board. It also underwrites the National Lamb Feeders Association’s jaunts to the annual Tri-Lamb Meeting in Australia. That is so U.S. industry officials can learn the latest in sheep … stuff. I mean, whatever it is you do at an international agriculture seminar. The funding announcement helpfully explains: “Continued involvement in the Tri-Lamb Group is important to the future of the U.S. sheep and goat industries.”
Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla., has called for amending the farm bill to zero out the center’s funding. In a statement on his Facebook page, Radel says there is no need “to promote best practices for an industry that’s been perfected since Biblical times. Congress needs to stop counting sheep, wake up and cut bloated programs like this.”