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January 24, 2013

Voter registration under way for proposed sheep and wool council

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Registration is under way for Indiana's commercial sheep producers who want to vote on whether to establish a council that would promote consumer awareness and sales of sheep products.

In early July a petition was delivered to the Office of the Dean of Agriculture at Purdue University asking for the establishment of a Sheep and Wool Market Development Council. Nearly 6 percent of the state's sheep producers signed the petition. Only 5 percent were required for consideration.

In accordance with Indiana state law, the Office of Agricultural Research at Purdue (ARP) conducted two hearings in October to review the petition and hear testimony. All public testimony from both hearings was in support of the petition, so Karen Plaut, associate dean of Purdue Agriculture and ARP director, has sought to move the process into the voter-registration phase.

This phase requires that at least 20 percent of the state's commercial sheep producers register in writing before March 1 to vote on council establishment. The official number of Indiana sheep producers recognized for the vote is 1,833, meaning at least 367 must register for voting to take place. The proposed voting period is April 1-30, with the intent to announce results by May 15.

With a favorable vote, the council would begin July 1.

Sheep producers can request a voter registration form from Jerry Fankhauser, ARP assistant director, at 765-494-8368 or fankhaus@purdue.edu.

Completed forms should be mailed to Fankhauser at 615 West State St., West Lafayette, IN 47907.

The Sheep and Wool Market Development Council would be composed of and elected by Indiana sheep producers who would administer the market development program. Program goals include supporting sheep and wool research, encouraging consumer education about the merits of lamb and wool products, and stressing market development, including sales promotion and producer education.

The petition also calls for a checkoff of 0.5 percent of the net market price for all sheep and wool produced in Indiana.

A copy of the full petition is available at https://ag.purdue.edu/arp/Documents/SheepWoolPetition.pdf

Writer: Jennifer Stewart, 765-494-6682, jsstewar@purdue.edu

Source: Jerry Fankhauser, 765-494-8368, fankhaus@purdue.edu

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722;
Keith Robinson, robins89@purdue.edu
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