May 12, 2003
May 13, 2003
For more information:
Peter Orwick, 303-771-3500, ext. 33
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? Twenty-two U.S. Senators have signed a letter addressed to Secretary of Agriculture Ann M. Veneman, in which they requested a one-year extension of the lamb payment programs (LMAAP).
Joining Senators Craig Thomas (R-WY) and Max Baucus (D-MT) in the joint letter were: Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Larry Craig (R-ID), Thomas Daschle (D-SD), Kent Conrad (D-ND), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Tim Johnson (D-SD), James Jeffords (I-VT), Wayne Allard (R-CO), Ben Nelson (D-NE), Patty Murray (D-WA), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), George Allen (R-VA), Michael Enzi (R-WY), Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-CO), Gordon Smith (R-OR), Conrad Burns (R-MT), Michael Crapo (R-ID) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT).
The senators strongly endorsed the extension by stating, ?The LMAAP has shown initial and significant success, as it has been used to enhance the competitiveness of both individual producers and the industry, as a whole, in many important respects. We have already observed improvements for breeding ewe lambs in states where the drought was least severe. Unfortunately, areas hit hardest by the drought have experienced overall declines.
?An extension of assistance for another year to July 31, 2004, will help lamb producers complete the task of recovery and, more importantly, adapt to the considerable structural changes suffered by their domestic markets over the last few years,? concluded the bi-partisan group of senators.
The lamb payment program was implemented in July 1999 and was designed to help restore purchasing power and enable producers to make significant changes in production practices to adjust to import competition by providing financial assistance to sheep and lamb producers who have recently experienced low prices and poor market conditions.
American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) President, Guy Flora, indicated, ?The congressional support for this one-year extension of the LMAAP payments is a tremendous boost to our effort and ought to lend heavily to Secretary Veneman?s consideration of dedicating funds for additional lamb payments. We are very appreciative to the leaders of Congress for communicating the importance of this program.?
ASI is a national organization supported by 42 state sheep organizations, benefiting the interests of nearly 67,000 American sheep producers.