July 16, 2004
July 16, 2004 -- ?The Retained Ewe-Lamb Payment Program will be implemented but sign-up will not be July or August,? stated American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) Executive Director Peter Orwick.
That was the word ASI received this week from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). It was anticipated the program would be implemented by summer. However, clearance of the proposed regulation and application form has taken longer than expected. USDA will be issuing the proposed regulation to support the 2004 Retained Ewe-Lamb Program for a public comment period, which likely will delay program sign-up until fall 2004.
County Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices received a status update from USDA this week clarifying the following: The clearance process is underway, the sign-up period will be announced at a later date and producers should be reminded to maintain records on eligible ewe-lambs. The base period of the ewe-lamb program eligibility remains August 1, 2003, to July 31, 2004, as announced by the department early this year in which ewe-lambs must have been eligible at some point during that period.
?A great deal of enthusiasm for this program to build the U.S. sheep inventory has been generated since the official commitment by USDA was announced in January 2004 and producers are anxious not to miss the sign-up period,? added ASI President Guy Flora. ?With a 60-day comment period, producers should look for a sign-up announcement in late September at the earliest and if considering the purchase of ewe lambs for breeding, July 31, 2004, ought to be the final date of documentation.?
The program is expected to deliver payments of $18 per eligible ewe lamb.
Staff contact: Peter Orwick, ext. 33