National Sheep Industry




Fiscal Year 2020

Strategic Plan






NSIIC Board of Directors                                3


Mission Statement                                        4


Goals                                                          5


Methods                                                      6


Selection Criteria                                           8


Available Funds                                           10


Funding Priorities                                         11


Measures of Success                                    12


    Board of Directors



               Voting Members 



Jeremy Geske                          New Prague, Minnesota


Frankie Iturriria                          Bakersfield, California


Steve Lewis                                   Artesia, New Mexico


Burton Pfliger                             Bismarck, North Dakota


Brenda Reau                                 Petersburg, Michigan


Marsha Spykerman                                     Sibley, Iowa


Leo Tammi                                              Mt. Sidney, VA



Non-Voting Members


Scott H. Hutchins Under Secretary, USDA, Research, Education, and Economics
Gregory Ibach - Under Secretary, USDA, Marketing and Regulatory Programs




     Mission Statement 


The Mission of the National Sheep Industry Improvement Center is to improve the infrastructure of the U.S. sheep industry by strengthening and enhancing the production and marketing of sheep and sheep products.






Financial assistance provided by the Center is to accomplish one or more of the following  goals in harmony with the Center's purposes as stated in the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Pub. L. 110-246).



1.   Increase production or improve production efficiency

2.   Improve marketing efficiency or product quality 


3.   Promote industry coordination  


4.   Improve industry communication 









The Center may use grants and other appropriate means to benefit the Sheep industry.


Grant Program

The Center may use grants to provide funding for research on new products, technologies, or knowledge that will improve the efficiency, profitability, or quality of the sheep industry.

1.    Eligible grant purposes

Grant purposes must be consistent with the statutory purposes of the Center and the goals stated in the strategic plan.  Grants will be used to contribute to basic production research and efforts to commercialize new services and products; new processes that can be utilized in the production of sheep products, and new enterprises or cooperatives that can add value to sheep products through processing or marketing.  They include but are not limited to the following:

A.    Contributions to production research such as: sheep disease prevention and control; predator control, and genetic and reproductive performance.

B.    Technology research, investigations, and basic feasibility studies in any field or discipline for the purpose of generating principles, facts, technical knowledge, new technology, or other information that may be useful to the sheep industry in the development and commercialization of new products, processes, or services.

C.    The collection, interpretation, and dissemination of principles, facts, technical knowledge, new technology, or other information that may be useful to the sheep industry in the development and commercialization of new products, processes, or services.

D.    Providing grants to small businesses and cooperatives for purposes of generating, evaluating, developing, and commercializing new products, processes, or services.

E.    Matching funds to Federal, State or private projects where the primary purpose is to enhance the production or marketing of sheep products.  Calculation of the matching fund amount is not to include indirect costs such as rent, electricity, telephone, library services, etc.

F.    Sponsoring of special industry meetings, seminars, or workshops.


2.    Ineligible  purposes 

Grant funds may not be used to:

A.    Pay more than 50 percent of project costs except as expressly approved by the Board.

B.    Pay more than 7.5 percent of the award for overhead.

C.    Duplicate research in progress or completed.

D.    Pay costs of preparing the application package for funding under this program.

E.    Pay costs incurred prior to the effective date of the grant made.

F.    Fund political activities.

G.    Fund any activity that does not benefit the sheep industry.


        3.    Eligible entities

A.    An eligible entity means any entity that promotes the betterment of the U.S. sheep industry and that is a public, private, or cooperative organization; an association, including a corporation not operated for profit; a federally recognized Indian Tribe; or a public or quasi-public agency.  Applicant must have credentials demonstrating expertise in project content.

B.    Recipients must agree to account for the amounts using generally accepted accounting principles.


Selection criteria



All projects, except for special critical issue grants, will be selected on a merit basis and according to the Sheep Center's goals.  The Board will evaluate the applications based on five specific areas: 


1.    FINANCIAL FEASIBILITY.  Is the project financially feasible?  Will the proposed project stimulate the sheep industry?  Are the projects' financial claims achievable? Does the project have a reasonable timeline?


2.    BUSINESS SOUNDNESS. Is the business proposal sound?  What other financial backing is available?  Are the funding requirements defined?  Is the business plan adequate?  What is the likely share of the market the product could expect to capture?   Has the marketing strategy been adequately developed?  Has the applicant successfully evaluated the competition? 


3.    MANAGEMENT ABILITY.  Is the management team capable of implementing the project?  Is the program team aware of the financial, managerial, technical and other resources needed to successfully complete the project they are proposing?  Is the team aware of regulatory obstacles?  Have key milestones been identified?

4.    POTENTIAL INDUSTRY IMPACT.  How much of an impact will the project have on the sheep industry?  What is the potential market size? How much volume of product will the proposed project affect?  Will the impact be local, regional, national or international?  What impact will this project have on the sheep industry if it is successful?   How much value does the project add to the product?  How much of the value-added to the product will be realized at each step of the marketing chain?


5.    INDUSTRY COMMITMENT--What is the commitment of the producers, processors, end-users or other involved parties in participating in the proposed project? This may include, but is not limited to, individual producers, producer groups, processors, seminar participants, local organizations, local or state governments or trade associations. Is there a commitment from all who are expected to participate and benefit from the proposed project?


6.    OVERALL IMPACT.  What are the overall strengths and weaknesses of the proposed project?


The Board may also take into account the geographic distribution of the sheep populations in determining the geographic distribution of funds. In addition, the Center should cooperate fully with appropriate State, regional, and local agencies to ensure support of their strategies for development of the sheep industry.

If an in-kind match is proposed, the applicant must detail the metrics used to quantify the match;  if a cash match is to be proposed, applicants must specify the source thereof.   When requesting reimbursement for allowable expenditures under the grant, awardees must specify the application of matching funds, which are expected to be applied at approximately the same rate as grant funds.


Other considerations


Factor                Criteria


1. Goal fulfillment     Preference will be given to projects whose purposes will serve to further the Center's stated goals of  (a)  increasing production or improving production efficiency; (b) improving marketing efficiency or product quality; (c) promoting coordination; (d) enhancing communication; and (e) ensuring the continued viability of the Center.


2. Emphasis                Projects will be evaluated on (a) the transferability or demonstration value that will help other parts of the industry outside of immediate project area; (b) the scientific, technical or economic merit of project design and concept in obtaining results of benefit to the sheep industry; and, (c) the originality, creativity and innovativeness of projects in improving the marketing or production of sheep or sheep products.


3. Administrative       Consideration will be given to (a) project's probability of success, in a stated time frame; (b) whether the project may benefit both the sheep industry; (c) the applicant's experience, organizational skills, background, and access to any facilities that are needed for the applicant to successfully carry out the project; (d) appropriateness of project budget for proposed activities; and (e) the level of matching funds (if any) in relation to total project cost committed by other entities.





Available Funds



Funds available as of January 1, 2020:       $2,022,684.10




Funding Priorities 



Funding priorities are established by the NSIIC Board in consultation with the sheep industry.


Measures of Success



The Center's purpose is to promote activities and provide assistance to efforts that strengthen and enhance the production and marketing of sheep products in the United States The success of the Center's activities may be measured primarily by its performance in reaching appropriate benchmarks by creating the mechanisms for getting funds into the hands of entities whose projects will achieve the purposes for which the Center was established by Congress.  Following are methods to be implemented to help achieve the Center’s goals:   


§  Disseminate information via the website and other methods regarding Center activities throughout the sheep industry and the general public.

§  Conduct listening sessions with industry leaders and provide opportunities for obtaining written industry input.    

§  Keep apprised of and work with public and private organizations that also work with the sheep industry.

§  Identify methods to provide information helpful to the industry that is unavailable elsewhere.

§  Maintain and monitor Administrative and Program accounting systems.

§  Develop policies for monitoring all forms of financial assistance provided by the Center.

§  Review focus areas at year end to affirm that equal time has been given to each area – develop action plan to correspond to priority needs as expressed by input received.

§  Review global sheep industry activities to determine new opportunities.

§  Identify promotion/profile building programs that have been successful amongst other livestock groups and evaluate value of comparable undertakings by NSIIC.

§  Monitor production and harvesting numbers by all methods available.

§  Explore the possibilities for utilizing the remaining fund.

§  Seek additional funding from Congress and other public and private sectors.