April 3, 2009
The U.S. sheep industry applauds the purchase of up to $2 million of lamb to be donated to federal food and nutrition programs.
This was the announcement made March 31, 2009, by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack as part of his testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies.
"Today's announcement will help mitigate further downward prices, stabilize market conditions, stimulate the economy and provide high quality, nutritious food to recipients of our nutrition programs," said Vilsack.
"The timing of the secretary's announcement is excellent as the sheep industry addresses the post-Easter/Passover marketing season," commented Glen Fisher (Texas), president of the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI). "The ASI board of directors decided to seek this authority from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) during discussions with lamb producers, feeders and meat companies at the 2009 sheep industry convention in San Diego, Calif."
Leg roasts and shoulder chops will be purchased. A new regulation in the program requires all suppliers to document animal welfare policies and to pass an audit before being allowed to sell product to the federal food and nutrition program.
"This announcement is effective for this fiscal year," stated Peter Orwick, executive director for ASI. "All of the dollars must be obligated on or before Sept. 30, 2009. Deliveries can be made into the next fiscal year."
Section 32 is a permanent appropriation the USDA uses to support non-farm program commodities while enhancing nutrition programs.