January 27, 2004
For More Information Contact:
Peter Orwick, Executive Director ? 303-771-3500, ext. 33
Judy Malone, Information Specialist ? 303-771-3500, ext. 35
Denver, Colo. ? U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary Bill Hawks thrilled participants at the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) annual convention by announcing a one-year extension of the retained ewe lamb program. Secretary Hawks delivered the decision of USDA to fund the $18.85 million ewe-lamb retention program for fiscal year 2004 to the 300 participants in the sheep industry meeting.
The popular retained ewe-lamb program was part of the Lamb Meat Adjustment Assistance package (LMAAP) that ended in 2003. To assist the sheep industry, USDA offered a program to encourage ewe-lamb replacement and retention. Unfortunately, extreme drought conditions that reduced pasture carrying capacity and the lack of availability of forage caused many producers to be reluctant or unable to participate in this program during the initial time period.
Guy Flora, ASI president, acknowledged the enormous value of this announcement. ?This initiative has been a priority for ASI. We believe we have stabilized the U.S. sheep breeding herd and now have an opportunity to expand it with the ewe-lamb program as a key component,? said Flora. ?The ewe-lamb extension will go a long way in assisting producers with the task of flock recovery as well as adapt to the considerable structural changes in domestic markets over the last few years. We applaud the Administration?s efforts to extend this program, which benefits the entire industry from farm to processor,? concluded Flora.
The industry thanks the following U.S. Senators and Representatives who strongly endorsed the extension. They include: Sens. Craig Thomas (R-WY), Max Baucus (D-MT), Conrad Burns (R-MT), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Larry Craig (R-ID), Michael Crapo (R-ID), Thomas Daschle (D-SD), Kent Conrad (D-ND), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Robert Bennett (R-UT),Tim Johnson (D-SD), James Jeffords (I-VT), Wayne Allard (R-CO), Ben Nelson (D-NE), Patty Murray (D-WA), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), George Allen (R-VA), Michael Enzi (R-WY), Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-CO), Gordon Smith (R-OR), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and John Cornyn (R-TX) along with Reps. Bill Thomas (R-CA), Henry Bonilla (R-TX), Charles Stenholm (D-TX), Dennis Rehberg (R-MT), Butch Otter (R-ID) and Mike Simpson (R-ID).
Producers will be notified about the particulars of the program by local Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices when details are finalized and offices are prepared to accept and process applications.
ASI is a national organization supported by 41 state sheep associations, benefiting the interests of nearly 64,000 sheep producers.
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