National Sheep Improvement Program  -  Education Initiative

The use of quantitative genetic selection has been outlined as a priority to progress the U.S. sheep industry. Also, the goal has been set to increase the average U.S. lamb crop to 150% by 2020. The National Sheep Improvement Program (NSIP) provides the framework for genetic selection technology for the nationís sheep flock. Hiring a full-time program director has increased enrollment by 25% over the past year through increased educational programs, increased technical assistance to members, and genetics consulting service to the commercial sector. With these efforts, NSIP expects to expand the program to better serve the U.S. lamb and wool industries.

Project Objectives

The objectives are to match funds in order to engage a full-time program director to promote the wider adoption of quantitative genetics and its use in selection industry-wide. In July 2015, NSIP was awarded a grant titled U.S. Sheep Genetic Improvement Initiative from the ASIís Letís Grow Committee. Funding was dependent upon hiring a full-time program director to carry out the project. Activities of the project include conducting informational workshops and field days throughout the country, developing educational literature for purebred and commercial producers and assisting new members in the transition into NSIP. These activities have contributed to a 25% increase in enrollment into NSIP and further support will allow the program to continue the growth and development of the program. A second grant has been awarded to increase utilization of the technology by the commercial sector. Further, continued growth will allow NSIP to reach its goal of being self-sustaining by 2019.