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Idaho goat producers could be assessed fee for first time


SEAN ELLIS



Capital Press






BOISE -- Idaho goat producers could be required to pay a state assessment fee for the first time ever.



The Idaho Sheep and Goat Health Board has recommended assessing goats 80 cents per head at the point of sale. Fifty cents from every assessment would go to help fund predator control efforts and 30 cents would go toward helping fund the ISGHB.



The board has always been charged with regulating goat health in Idaho and ensures goats entering the state are free from scrapie, scabies or symptoms of other communicable diseases.



But until last year, the board never had the authority to assess goats, which means sheep producers financed all of the board's efforts.



Boise area sheep producer Frank Shirts thinks it's fair that goat producers chip in.



"I think they should," said Shirts, a member of the Idaho Wool Growers Association's board of directors. "The sheep man, he's been packing the load."



The 2012 Idaho Legislature gave the board authority to assess goats at a rate comparable to the sheep assessment (6 cents per pound of wool), and a 2013 bill allows the governor to appoint a goat producer to serve on the ISGHB's five-member board.



The board is currently made up of all sheep producers.



Goat producers aren't organized in Idaho.



For the goat assessment to go into effect, IWGA members must pass a resolution approving the ISGHB's recommendation during their annual November convention.



There are about 25,000 goats in Idaho and about 10,000 are sold annually in Idaho at various livestock sales, according to ISGHB officials.



Sheep producers have recommended assessing themselves an additional 2 cents per pound of wool to help fund predator control efforts in Idaho, which have been hampered by a significant loss of federal funding since 2010.



Predators and animal health are issues for goats as well and it's reasonable that the industry be asked to help out, said ISGHB Executive Director Stan Boyd.



"Wolves like goats, too, and so do coyotes and mountain lions," he said. "The (board) regulates goat health also (but) has never collected anything from that industry."



IWGA President Harry Soulen said he has not heard any opposition to the goat assessment recommendation and said that's either because people are OK with it or they're unaware it's been proposed.



"I think it's a reasonable program ... and for the most part, it should be well-accepted," said Soulen, who raises sheep near Weiser.



Tim Linquist, one of the largest sheep producers in southwest Idaho, said he wants to know more about the proposal and he doubts most goat producers are even aware of it.



"I don't think I'm going to have a huge problem with it but I just don't know anything about it," said Linquist, who has about 300 goats near Wilder.



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