Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson, Oregon Congressman Greg Walden, and other western members of Congress have asked the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture to stop the closure of the U.S. Sheep Experimental Station in Dubois, Idaho. In a letter, the members ask that Subcommittee Chairman Robert Aderholt not approve the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) request for reprogramming of funds from the sheep station in Dubois. Reprogramming of funds would result in closure of the facility.
"We were disappointed to learn that ARS has plans to close the US. Sheep Experimental Station in Dubois and frustrated that ARS did not notify Congress or the sheep industry until the decision had been made," Congressman Simpson said. "In our letter to Chairman Aderholt, we explain that closure of the Dubois Sheep Experiment Station would have a substantial impact on the western sheep industry and express our concern that people involved in the industry were not consulted before ARS made this decision."
"I was shocked to learn that the USDA is attempting to close the Dubois Sheep Experiment Station without consulting western farmers and ranchers or having a plan to ensure the station's important research continues,” Congressman Walden said. “No other station conducts research into the unique challenges that confront sheep producers in Oregon and across the west, like grazing techniques, diseases, or developing new breeds. That's why we are working hard with other western representatives to keep this station open so this innovative ag research can continue.
Congressman Simpson and Congressman Walden state in the letter that the ARS sheep center at Dubois conducts critical research on the interaction between domestic and bighorn sheep, and that “it would be difficult, if not impossible, for this research to continue if the Dubois center was closed.”