The American Sheep Industry Association (ASI), processors and department officials continued discussions about the delivery dates and qualified lamb products as they relate to the $10 million lamb purchase announced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) in early August.
"In my view, AMS is working overtime to assure the entire $10 million lamb purchase is utilized," said Peter Orwick, ASI executive director. "It is fascinating to me how much different the program works today compared to 1998 when we initially worked with AMS on lamb for the food banks."
According to AMS, there will be two bid processes. The first will be an Invitation for Bid for the three pre-approved cuts of lamb - bone-in and boneless legs and shoulder chops. This bid period will be announced and completed in September.
A second bid opportunity is currently open for commercial lamb products that companies can describe and bid beyond the three specific cuts. Companies that have a surplus supply of different cuts or configurations, for example, can submit bids to the department to review for interest and appropriateness in the food programs.
"This additional bid opportunity and the option to use cooler inventory as well as fresh processed lamb are both new for the section 32 bid process," concluded Orwick. "It is my understanding that, if the full $10 million isn't awarded for delivery of the three specified cuts, the funds can be used to buy some commercial cuts."
There will likely be three delivery periods to bid: October-December, January-March and April-June.
Additional program information can be accessed at www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/ams.fetchTemplateData.do?template=TemplateJ&page=CPDCommodityPurchaseMeatFish.