February 15, 2004
OMNIBUS Moved to January
Feb. 2004 -- The U.S. Senate failed to take-up action on the $820 billion FY 2004 omnibus appropriations bill on Dec. 9, 2003. As a result, several agencies and programs are working under a continuing resolution, which keeps them operational but functioning at current funding levels.
Both agricultural appropriations and the implementation of mandatory country-of-origin-labeling are on hold with the delay of action on the omnibus bill.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the omnibus conference report on Dec. 8, 2003, by a roll call vote of 242-176.
The Senate reconvened for the second session on Jan. 20, 2004.
LAP Payments Began December 18
Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman announced on Dec. 18, 2003, that $103 million in payments for the Livestock Assistance Program (LAP) would begin that day.
?This program will provide relief to livestock producers who suffered grazing losses in 2001 or 2002 due to drought, severe weather and related causes,? said Veneman.
Sign-up for the program began on Aug. 6 and ended on Nov. 21, 2003. A total value of all applications equaled $103 million.
LAP is a grazing-loss program. Payments are provided on a per-head basis for eligible livestock, including sheep.
GIPSA Requests Livestock Marketing Study Proposals
The Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyard Administration (GIPSA) announced in early December the availability of a Request for Proposal, in which outside contractors were solicited for the conducting of a Livestock and Meat Marketing Study funded by Congress in the FY 2003 appropriations legislation.
?The study will look at a lot of issues in the cattle, hog, lamb and meat industries,? said Donna Reifschneider, GIPSA administrator. ?This is a large and complex study that will examine a broad range of marketing practices in those industries. It will draw on economics, business management, statistics and other academic disciplines.?
?The American Sheep Industry Association encourages institutions and other proposal-submitting parties to take into account the sheep industry as they develop their plan,? added ASI President Guy Flora.
Proposals had to be submitted before 2:30 p.m. EST on Jan. 14, 2004. Additional information can be obtained via the Marketing Study link at www.usda.gov/gipsa on the World Wide Web.
NZ Sheep and Beef Profits Fourth Highest
Meat New Zealand (MNZ) recently reported that farmers have made a real achievement in securing the fourth-highest profit in 23 years -- despite the high New Zealand dollar.
?This is a credit to the investment in research and development, trade access and market development that farmers have made over the years,? stated MNZ Chief Executive Mark Jeffries.
Profit on the average sheep and beef farm is estimated at $75,900 for 2003-04, and will be the fourth highest in inflation-adjusted terms since 1979-80.
Pork Overtakes Lamb in Popularity
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation recently reported that ?for the first time, pork has overtaken lamb as the preferred meat on Australian plates.?
According to a poll by Roy Morgan Research, consumption figures for the September quarter show pork held 20.4 percent of the meat market while lamb secured 18.2 percent.