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National Sheep Industry Improvement Center
and NLPA Sign Grant Agreement

Colorado Springs, CO (Nov. 18, 1999) —
National Sheep Industry Improvement Center Chairman Pierce Miller and Sam Philips, Chairman of the National Livestock Producers Association signed the long awaited grant agreement today in a joint meeting of their respective groups in Denver.

Chairman Miller said at the signing, "earlier this year we identified two major priorities for the year. The intermediary grant agreement and legislation that would correct some of our most pressing problems. With the Sheep Center’s corrective language as part of the Ag. Appropriations bill signed into law last month, and the signing of the grant agreement today, we have met those goals. Getting this program into the industry has always been our top priority and this grant agreement provides that mechanism."

Chairman Philips said, “the National Livestock Producers Association has a history of providing credit and capital assistance to the livestock industry, and this newly-formed intermediary structure is yet another way to help the industry."

The National Sheep Industry Improvement Center was established as part of the 1996 Farm Bill to aid the nation's ailing sheep and goat industries. The Sheep Center was designed as an innovative new revolving fund to provide capital to the sheep and goat industries for marketing and infrastructure developments. Since February 1997 the Board of Directors, which is the governing body appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture, has pursued a number of actions to get this unique program working. Chairman Miller said, "The use of a single intermediary, the National Livestock Producers Association, is a giant step toward realizing our goal of getting the Sheep Center monies working in the sheep and goat industries."

It was determined that a qualified intermediary must have:(1) an interest in the NSIIC goals, mandates and the relative small size of the grant;(2) expertise with livestock production, processing or marketing related lending;(3) nationwide capability in urban and rural areas; and(4) the ability to process and service loans from all segments of the sheep and goat industries, from production through the packer/processor/retail level.

Finding a qualified intermediary has been a lengthy process, beginning in February 1999.  Of those that looked initially qualified, the National Livestock Producers Association (NLPA) was the only organization that met the requisite qualifications. The NLPA is headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colo. They were founded in 1921 and have nationwide lending capabilities through their subsidiary organizations and can process and service loans from all segments of the sheep and goat industries, either directly or through contract services.

The grant agreement specifies the parameters for the use of the funds and specifies the reporting and accounting requirements to the NSIIC Board. The grant agreement further requires formation of an oversight "Sheep & Goat Committee" within the intermediary that will administer the grant. It details how the oversight committee will be formed and requires that sheep and goat expertise be represented on the committee. NLPA has agreed to all of these terms.

Applications for entities interested in applying for loans will be available Jan. 15, 2000 and can be requested from the National Livestock Producers Association at (800) 237-7193, ext. 10.

The National Livestock Producers Association, founded in 1921, is an organization of livestock marketing cooperatives and credit corporations representing more than 215,000 livestock producers nationwide and in Canada.

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