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Government Relations

In September 2001 the Board of Directors of the International Lama Registry, responding to requests from the llama community, added Government Relations as part of the function of ILR in order to provide representation for the llama community.

At the September 2001 teleconference meeting the ILR BOD voted to make a donation to the Government Relations project in the amount of $1000.00. Of this donation $600.00 was earmarked to pay the annual dues of $600.00 to join the United States Animal Health Association (USAHA) as an affiliate organization. The USAHA is a nongovernmental body whose mission is to provide a forum for communication and coordination among state government, federal government, universities, industry and other groups on issues of animal health, disease control, animal welfare, food safety and public health. USAHA serves as a clearing-house for new information which may be incorporated into laws, regulations, policies and programs to develop solutions to animal health-related issues.

The llama industry is fortunate to have Bob Frost, llama breeder and president elect of USAHA, spearheading our interests at the national level. The ILR BOD will be discriminating in it’s use of the money donated for government relations. Support of Bob Frost’s position at USAHA is a priority, because of his current position and commitment to the llama industry. There are few industries as small as the llama industry which enjoy this high level of representation and influence at the national level.

In July 2002, the ILR Board authorized a letter be sent on ILR letterhead to the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) addressing the indemnity protocol for llamas in the event of a disease outbreak (such as FMD = Foot and Mouth Disease) that required eradication of South American camelids. The input of a group of individuals from the llama community was instrumental in writing this letter and keeping the ILR informed about deadlines for comment submission. On behalf of the llama community ILR thanks Dan Goodyear, Marsharee Wilcox, Karen Conyngham, Susan Tellez and Teri Nilson Baird for their attention to the deadlines and need to communicate with USDA. By sending the letter on ILR letterhead to USDA it was recognized as the official comment of the llama industry.

In September of 2002 the ILR Board voted to make an additional donation of $1000.00 to the Government Relations Operating Fund. Of this donation $600 will pay the 2003 annual membership fee for USAHA and the balance will be used to meet other expenses. From this point forward the GR must be self-supporting in keeping with the policy of ILR. The cost of this work must be supported by individuals, farms, businesses and associations who appreciate the importance of this work and are willing to support it with their contributions. In keeping with the ILR policy that every aspect of ILR be self supporting, the ILR has set up two funds to which interested people and associations can contribute.

The “Government Relations Operating Fund” (GROF) is an “in and out” fund in which all contributions received are immediately available for use. This fund is intended to meet the ongoing needs of Government Relations for the llama community. Contributions to this fund should be specified for the “Government Relations Operating Fund” and sent to: ILR, PO Box 8, Kalispell, MT 59903.

As of 9-11-02 there was $1950.00 in the GR Operating Fund. Contributions by individuals totaled $690.00. ILR donated $1000.00, Llamas of Minnesota $360.00 and South Central Llama Association $500.00. To date $600.00 was spent for 2002 USAHA dues. The ILR BOD approved another $1000.00 to go into the fund to cover our USAHA 2003 dues ($600) and other expenses ($400). This will bring the new total to $2950.00. The money from ILR last year and this year are good faith contributions to display support for this function, and encourage other individuals, farms, associations and businesses to donate for the good of the industry.

The “Government Relations Endowment Fund” (GREF) is a fund designed to provide for the long-term funding stability of Government Relations. Contributions to the GR Endowment Fund will be allowed to accumulate in perpetuity. The interest earned on the principle in the account will be transferred to the GR Operating Fund to be used for ongoing expenses. Contributions to this fund should be specified for the “Government Relations Endowment Fund” and sent to: ILR, PO Box 8, Kalispell, MT 59903.

The ILR will match contributions to the Government Relations Endowment Fund on a dollar for dollar basis up to a total of $25,000. The $25,000 committed to this project did not come from registrations but is part of the money set aside from the Import Surcharge, which the ILR Board pledged to use for projects that contributed to the long-term good of the llama industry.

Because the ILR is not a 501c(3) corporation, contributions to these funds are not tax deductible as charitable contributions. However, for llama owners who are operating their llama activities as a business, contributions to these funds may be deductible as “business expenses.” Check with your accountant to be sure that your circumstances fit the requirements for taking the deduction as a business expense.

We request you to carefully consider donating to either or both of these funds. Your generosity will help ensure the continued enjoyment of our llamas for years to come. ILR registration and transfer fees will NOT be used to fund GR activities, therefore it is crucial for individuals, farms, associations and businesses within the industry to assure the financial solvency of GR activities.

Quick and effective communication will be another key to the success of our Government Relations efforts. Because the ILR represents more of the owners and breeders than any other association, the ILR Board has directed the office staff to act as a communications hub for the industry. The staff is prepared and willing to facilitate dissemination of information for the good of the industry. But, in order to do that, they will need your help in keeping current contact information for newsletter editors and new presidents or contacts for associations. With current contacts, we can keep information flowing and enhance awareness of issues affecting the llama community.