WASHINGTON – The US Department of Agriculture has created two new federal programs aimed at helping the sheep industry with production and marketing of their products.

The Sheep Production and Marketing Grant provides $1.5 million in funding for infrastructure improvements, business and resource development and support of innovative approaches for enhancing the production and marketing of sheep and sheep products in the United States. The USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service will award grants to at least one national entity that is working to improve production and marketing of sheep and sheep products. The program also presents opportunities for the grass-fed sheep industry.

"USDA is committed to working with sheep producers as they continue to provide quality products and increase their returns here at home," said USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Ed Avalos. "The Sheep Production and Marketing Grant Program, as well as inclusion in the USDA Grass Fed Program for Small and Very Small Producers, will create new opportunities for growth and innovation within the sheep industry."