BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture plans to begin shutting down a sheep research facility on the Idaho-Montana border that has operated for nearly a century if it doesn't hear objections from lawmakers by Friday.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on June 17 sent letters to two U.S. senators and two U.S. representatives on appropriations subcommittees telling them of his plan to close the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station near Dubois in eastern Idaho. The agency's Agricultural Research Service says it can move ahead with the closure following a 30-day waiting period.

Vilsack says declining budgets mean there aren't enough scientists to conduct research. Conservation groups have filed lawsuits to close the station, contending it harms threatened grizzly bears and other wildlife in the region near Yellowstone National Park.