The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Administrator Anne Alonzo announced last week USDA's intent to make available as much as $5 million to buy lamb products for federal food nutrition assistance programs, including food banks.
Sen. Tim Johnson (S.D.) applauded the USDA announcement.
"This is good news for South Dakota's sheep producers," Johnson said. "This should give a welcome boost to the depressed sheep markets, the cause of which the USDA is currently investigating. It will also provide food banks and other nutrition programs with quality, high-protein lamb products as they face increased demand."
The American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) requested the lamb meat purchase earlier this summer to prompt stronger prices for lambs at the farm and ranch gate.
"The market has not yet recovered to the cost of production for America's sheep producers and ranchers. This $5 million lamb buy will help strengthen feeder and slaughter lamb prices," says ASI President Clint Krebs. "ASI greatly appreciates AMS's announcement of a $5 million supplemental lamb purchase."
AMS purchases only 100-percent domestic, high-quality food products each year to support various food service programs. USDA also makes emergency food purchases for distribution to victims of natural disasters.