National Sheep Improvement Program
Productivity improvement has been identified as one of four priorities to the long-term success of the sheep industry
by the U.S. Lamb Industry Roadmap project. The National Sheep Improvement Program has been expanding ever
since the roadmap; increasing the use of quantitative genetic selection throughout the country with now over 400
members. However, genetic selection should be utilized as part of a system-wide approach to improving production
efficiency. Therefore, NSIP can expand its scope/mission to further the industry and fill other voids outlined by the
Roadmap project and industry leaders. The Roadmap project also reported:
• “Producers keenly feel the loss of industry infrastructure-from processing capacity to academic, extension and
• “Numerous participants desired greater alignment between commercial producers, seedstock producers,
producers who show animals and club participants-greater coordination can help address the needs for quality and
production improvements industry-wide”.
• “Research results not being fully communicated to producers due to lack of funding”.
Through the efforts of the industry-sponsored re-launch of NSIP in 2014, the program has gained additional exposure
and awareness industry wide. The proposed project takes advantage of this increased awareness of NSIP to better
serve the U.S. sheep industry by cooperating with producers, feeders, packers, American Sheep Industry Association,
American Lamb Board, National Lamb Feeders Association, academia and industry educators while addressing the void
in research and education efforts offered to the industry, especially in areas with limited or no university or extension
programs. With limited resources for research and producer education, information exchange leading to productivity
improvement needs to be as efficient as possible and an organization to lead the efforts. In the inaugural Sheep
Industry Roundtable meeting, held in Denver in July 2018, the industry identified The National Sheep Improvement
Program as the key organization in facilitating producer education, coordinating outreach and research efforts and
taking a whole-systems approach to productivity improvement in the U.S. sheep industry. This project has been
designed to work in conjunction with the efforts of ASI and ALB to streamline producer education and allow NSIP to
provide the most efficient/comprehensive service possible to the industry.