April 21, 2006 -- Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announced on April 14 U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) plan to purchase up to $5 million of lamb roasts to be donated to federal food and nutrition programs.
"The drop in slaughter-lamb prices that began in late 2005 has been a major topic of discussion and concern for the sheep industry," states Paul Frischknecht, president of the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI). ?The industry appreciates Secretary Johanns? and USDA?s efforts to reinstate a lamb roast purchase program.?
The return of this program is most welcome to the industry at this time as lamb-leg inventories have gotten out of balance in the short term. Lamb roast purchases by the USDA will help the marketplace return to a more current position.
"As an industry that is experiencing its first year-on-year growth since 1987 and 1988, it is extremely important to keep this momentum going forward. A lamb roast purchase program will have a positive impact on each sector of the sheep industry and help support producer prices," concludes Frischknecht.
Staff contact: Peter Orwick, ext. 33