American lamb companies have until Aug. 15 to submit bids to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) invitation to buy lamb products for use in federal food and nutrition programs. The offer applies to lamb leg roasts and lamb shoulder chops for November delivery and represents the balance of nearly $400,000 available from the $2 million the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) secured this year to strengthen lamb prices, which are half or less of the 2011 historic levels.
In July, USDA announced the purchase of 396,000 pounds of lamb at a cost of approximately $1.64 million and, in total, will amount to a dozen semi loads of lamb meat moved out of the market, which is currently oversupplied with too many lambs on feed that would have normally been processed this spring.
In addition to this announcement, ASI has formally requested an additional allocation of significant funding from USDA for lamb meat purchases to continue clearing the backlog of supply that hangs over the market.
"Given the strong participation in the first bid, we have an opportunity to move more lamb product out of the way for the new crop lambs that may be showing up early this year due to the drought and short feed," commented Peter Orwick, ASI executive director. "This program is the quickest and most efficient way to impact the supply and improve the market situation for sheep producers. In fact, USDA only approves requests if the purchase will strengthen the program."
ASI was informed that companies were already processing lambs this week for the recent bids awarded by USDA for meat delivery in September.