May 23, 2008
May 23, 2008 - Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer today announced U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) intent to purchase up to $2 million of lamb to be donated to federal food and nutrition programs.
"The record high feed and fuel prices have driven costs of gain for slaughter lambs to unprecedented levels," stated Burdell Johnson, president of the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI). "The entire industry appreciates Secretary Schafer's agreement to provide ASI's request for a lamb purchase program."
Based upon USDA's intent to buy the lamb, Food and Nutrition Service will survey potential recipients to determine how much product will be accepted for shipping. Agricultural Marketing Service will seek the lowest overall cost by publicly inviting bids to supply the desired quantity and by awarding contracts to responsible bidders.
The return of this program is most welcome to the industry as breakeven prices have undoubtedly increased with higher feed and transportation costs. The February request by ASI for this lamb purchase program also encouraged an economic review of the lamb market situation to examine the costs of production evident throughout 2007 and continuing into 2008.
ASI will continue to keep the industry informed as the invites are published and awarded. Staff contact: Peter Orwick, ext. 33