With the unanimous approval of the board of directors, the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) sent a formal request to Craig Morris, deputy administrator for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), requesting that a section 32 lamb meat purchase program be authorized to help sheep producers in 2009.
"Because of the lamb purchase program in 2008, the lamb market was better able to weather the record high costs of lamb production during the year," commented Glen Fisher (Texas), ASI president. "We commend the agency for its timing on the bid solicitations and awards this past year, which we believe impacted the market at critical times."
Producers, feeders and processors support the necessity of the program since there is no doubt that lamb prices are not immune to the troubled economic conditions and the impacts on food purchases by consumers.
ASI encouraged an announcement of the authorization to spend a minimum of an additional $2 million in section 32 funds through calendar year 2009 to provide the industry with more confidence, something that is needed for a good market.