September 12, 2003
Tri Lamb Summit Scheduled for Late September
Representatives from the U.S., Australian and New Zealand sheep industries will gather in Washington, D.C. Sept. 25, 2003, for a Tri Lamb Summit.
The representatives will further discuss marketing, supply and trade issues previously raised at a May 28 Lamb Summit hosted by Congressman Charles Stenholm (D-TX) at Angelo State University. ASI delegates include ASI President Guy Flora, ASI Vice President Paul Frischknecht, Chico Denis of the Texas Sheep & Goat Raisers? Association and Dominique Minaberrigarai of the California Wool Growers Association.
?We have been discussing the lamb import issues with the other U.S. sheep industry organizations and plan to have a unified delegation of producers and feeders at this meeting with the sheep producers of Australia and New Zealand,? stated American Sheep Industry Association President and Ohio sheep producer Guy Flora. ?Additionally, ASI has published stories and requests for producer input this summer in the Sheep Industry News regarding talks with the foreign lamb suppliers.?
Flora added that the May meeting exposed lamb supply as being ?seasonal,? despite the importing countries? production at the opposite season of most U.S. lambing. Price fluctuations, declining consumption and lack of industry communications are issues raised as well to be detailed at this month?s meeting.
?I don?t believe foreign producers understand U.S. sheep production any better than we know sheep management Down Under,? said Flora. ?This meeting is ?sheep producers talking to sheep producers.??
The United States is an open access market for lamb meat, as it has been for decades, with the exception of the two years of 201 tariffs, which were prompted by a flood of low-cost imported product.
?Unlike other meat imports, lamb being freely traded in the United States ought to mean suppliers must act more responsibly in the market to avoid serious market fluctuations,? said Flora. ?We will carry the dialogue forward to identify any benefits for American producers from the discussions, but recognize it is a difficult and controversial task.?
Watch for post-summit news in the ASI WEEKLY and SHEEP INDUSTRY NEWS. Staff Contact: Peter Orwick, ext. 33