WASHINGTON — The US Department of Agriculture announced an investment of $300,000 into the US sheep market and production. The funds will be available through the Sheep Production and Marketing Grant Program (SPMGP), which seeks to enhance the entire sheep industry through support for sheep producers and helping form partnerships among sheep industry organizations.

“Projects funded by the Sheep Production and Marketing Grant Program have already made measurable impacts on our nation’s sheep industry,” said Jenny Lester Moffitt, USDA under secretary for marketing and regulatory programs. “From increasing processing capacity in areas experiencing bottlenecks in production to expanding critical research on pathogens affecting sheep flocks, projects such as these will ultimately increase the availability and consumption of sheep products across the country.”

The program initially received support in 2019 through a five-year grant from the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service. Totaling $1.9 million, the grant was awarded to the National Sheep Industry Improvement Center (NSIIC), which budgets around $300,000 to go toward projects that strengthen the sheep industry.

Types of projects include leadership training, improving the operations, sustainability and marketing of sheep production, and coordinating industry information to form a unified marketing approach.

Applications for the current round of grant funding will be accepted through Sept. 15. The NSIIC board of directors will review the applications and submit funding recommendations to USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service for approval.