The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced the purchase of 72,000 pounds of lamb leg roast and lamb shoulder chops at a cost of approximately $290,000. This product will be distributed in federal food and nutrition programs.
Margaret Soulen Hinson (Idaho), president of the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) commented, "The intent of the program is to strengthen lamb prices to the farm and ranch level and we are very appreciative of the department taking this very much needed action."
Transhumance Inc. was awarded the contracts from this invitation. The lamb roasts and shoulder chops are scheduled to be delivered to Sacramento, Calif., and Phoenix, Ariz., in November.
This purchase is the second installment of the $2 million section 32 lamb buy that ASI secured to provide the industry with more confidence in this rough economy. Through these two buys, AMS has purchased nearly 470,000 pounds of lamb products valued at $1.94 million for the federal food and nutrition programs.
In related news, ASI, processors and department officials continued discussions about the delivery dates and qualified lamb products as they relate to the additional $10 million of lamb to be purchased by AMS for the federal food program.
The products to be solicited in the upcoming bid will include boneless and bone-in lamb leg roasts and lamb shoulder chops with delivery dates ranging from November 2012 through June 2013. Processors will be given authority to include current production lamb as well as inventory that has been in the freezer for up to nine months.
"ASI reached out to processors who have not participated in USDA commodity procurement programs in the past or who have not participated in some time to encourage these vendors to consider involvement in the program and to complete the process to get pre-approved to be eligible to bid on the upcoming solicitation," said Peter Orwick, ASI executive director. "With the announcement of the type of product and the time frame for delivery, it seems that there is no reason why the industry will not be able to utilize the entire $10 million."
Additional program information can be accessed at www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/ams.fetchTemplateData.do?template=TemplateJ&page=CPDCommodityPurchaseMeatFish.