Last updated: August 25. 2013 8:13AM - 118 Views

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Voter registration has been extended to March 30 for a proposed Indiana Sheep and Wool Market Development Council.


Karen Plaut, associate dean of Purdue Agriculture and director of Agricultural Research at Purdue, approved the 30-day extension to accommodate the state's commercial sheep producers who are in the midst of lambing season. Plaut and the ARP office oversee the council's establishment in accordance with Indiana law.


Sheep producers who want to vote on whether to establish the council, which would promote consumer awareness and sales of sheep products, can request voter registration forms from Jerry Fankhauser, assistant director of Agricultural Research at Purdue, at 765-494-8368 or fankhaus@purdue.edu


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


In order for a vote to take place, at least 20 percent of Indiana's commercial sheep producers must register, in writing, by the March 30 deadline. The official number of Indiana sheep producers recognized for the vote is 1,833, meaning at least 367 must register for the vote to happen.


With the deadline extension, the proposed voting period is now April 15 to May 15, with the intent to announce results by June 1. The council would begin July 1.


The Sheep and Wool Market Development Council would be composed of and elected by Indiana sheep producers who would administer the market development program. The program's goals would include supporting sheep and wool research, encouraging consumer education about lamb and wool products and stressing market development, including producer education and sales promotion. It would be funded by a proposed checkoff of 0.5 percent of the net market price for all sheep and wool produced in Indiana.


The process to establish the council began in early July when a petition signed by nearly 6 percent of the state's commercial sheep producers was delivered to Purdue University's Office of the Dean of Agriculture.


Two October hearings, administered by ARP, yielded public testimony in favor of the council, so Plaut has sought to move the process into the voting stage.


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