This grant is designed to promote and educate the sheep and goat industry about the National Sheep Improvement Program. Our organization has been in existence since 1986 and we have 175 members and 15,000 sheep enrolled. Roughly, 100 members actively submit data and use the program to its full extend. This program has evolved over time; however, we are now in a position that we can serve a larger population of sheep and goat producers. Although, this program has been in existence for over 25 years, it is not widely recognized as the premier avenue for genetic improvement. In contrast, most purebred sheep and goat breeders rely on the livestock shows to quantify superiority. While phenotypic evaluation of livestock is an important component to genetic selection decisions, there are many limitations to this method of selection. Genetic prediction technology has been scientifically proven to improve livestock productivity through enhancing genetic selection decisions based on commercially important data. It is used ubiquitously in the commercial beef industry, currently being used by our foreign competition to produce lamb and wool more efficiently, and US sheep breeds that have embraced this technology are greatly benefiting from their efforts.
Project Performance Report for the titled “Promotion and Awareness of the National Sheep Improvement Program.”
Overview: There were two basic components to this grant;
1) Funds to cover travel of National Sheep Improvement Program personnel to attend sheep and goat events to provide education and awareness regarding the enrollment of flocks and herds into the program, and
2) Funds to cover expenses related to promotion and marketing of the National Sheep Improvement Program.
Travel: We have spent ~$7,500 on reimbursement to NSIP member or service providers to travel to events that they spoke or provided leadership toward education and awareness of NSIP.
· Provided matching funds for Reid Redden, NSIP Chairman, to travel to Australia and improve relationships with SheepGenetics (main service provider for NSIP) and gain an understanding of how this technology was adopted in Australia
· Covered travel for 3 NSIP members to demonstrate how this technology can enhance the sheep industry to the Productivity Improvement team within the ALB Roadmap project. This meeting resulted in the ALB funding an NSIP ReLaunch & ReBranding Initiative.
· Provided funds for NSIP Workshops in South Dakota and Ohio
· Covered travel for 7 NSIP board members to attend an in-person meeting with the organization performing the ReLaunch & ReBranding Initiative. From this meeting the organization had developed new vision and mission statements. This meeting also largely directed the outcomes of the ReLaunch & ReBranding Initiative.
Advertising: We have spent or committed ~$15,000 on print, media and online advertising. This includes payment for ads within magazines and professional development of ads, news articles, and press releases.
· 5 ads were developed for our different breed and species: Farm Flock Maternal Breeds; Terminal Sire Breeds; Western Range Breeds; Hair Sheep Breeds; and Goats. These ads first ran in the Sheep Industry News Monthly magazine. Then they have been circulated to other sheep magazines.
· Each ad that was developed has a news article prepared to go along with it. These articles were also first made available to Sheep Industry News; then circulated to other magazines.
· Multiple press releases were developed to provide more awareness of NSIP happenings.
· We hired the same company that conducted the ReLaunch & ReBranding Initiative to develop printed producer educational materials, refresh the NSIP logo, and develop a new website.