May 16, 2008
May 16, 2008 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Thursday issued the final regulation to re-establish and revise the Livestock Mandatory Reporting (LMR) program. The rule to once again implement mandatory price reporting of domestic and imported product has been anxiously awaited by the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI).
"The mandatory reporting program has been one of the most progressive advances in the U.S. lamb market in this decade, and we are pleased it will once again be fully implemented," state Burdell Johnson, ASI president. "Our industry has been at risk for the two-and-a-half years since the initial law expired. This risk is not just from the loss of market reporting but also from the fact that our livestock risk protection program for lamb is based on this market reporting."
Johnson added that he was pleased to know that this summer all companies will resume reporting markets, including the lamb importers that steadfastly refused to provide price information unlike the domestic lamb companies that continued reporting during this voluntary period.
The statutory authority for the program lapsed on Sept. 30, 2005. At that time, AMS sent letters to all packers required to report under the 1999 Act, requesting they continue to submit information voluntarily. The packers' cooperation has allowed USDA to publish most reports.
ASI Executive Director Peter Orwick commented that LMR for lamb is without question a key factor to the steady lamb market over the past six years.
"Mandatory reporting, once finally operating in 2002, did what we hoped and that was to avoid the serious volatility we saw in the lamb markets of the 1990s," commented Orwick. "The mandatory program is the only way to have price reporting on imported lamb made public. While it is disappointing that we have more than a two-year gap in price report data due to delays in the final reauthorization and rules, the industry looks forward to the program's full implementation."
Johnson expressed support to the domestic companies that continued reporting during the voluntary period and appreciates a more equitable situation where meat importers are now standing the same costs of reporting that domestic companies bore throughout.
The final rule will become effective July 15, 2008, and is available in the Federal Register at http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2008/E8-10185.htm