The American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) is asking the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture to promptly resolve the lamb price-reporting situation. A key issue of concern for the U.S. sheep industry is the lack of availability of some market reporting for lamb. This was the subject of a letter sent to Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), chair, and the other members of the Senate Agriculture Committee.
ASI stressed two priorities in the correspondence:
1. The lamb industry needs reauthorization of Mandatory Price Reporting (MPR) as all provisions of lamb reporting are by Departmental rulemaking.
2. The continuation of the retail price series for lamb, which is also contained in the MPR reauthorization. It is imperative that reauthorization of lamb be accomplished now before there is no reporting of lamb price data at all.
Since MPR was not reauthorized prior to its expiration on Oct. 1, 2005, the process has become one of voluntary compliance. Lamb-import companies, which represent more than 40 percent of the total lamb in the U.S. market, immediately stopped reporting prices on imported lamb cuts. Also, the retail price series for lamb and other meats has not been available for months. Most recently, the lack of participation from a sufficient number of lamb processors has resulted in no lamb-carcass sales being reported for two weeks.
?A great deal of anxiousness was evident during the sheep industry convention regarding the lack of market information and also the downward trend of live slaughter lamb prices that has occurred since early November,? stated Peter Orwick, ASI executive director. ?Transparency in the markets is extremely important to insure a level playing field for all involved.?
Staff contact: Peter Orwick, ext. 33