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July 1, 2002

Federal program replacing Indiana lamb checkoff

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A federal program to bolster the nation's lamb industry is replacing a similar Indiana checkoff program.

The Lamb Promotion, Research and Information Program began today (Monday, 7/1) and is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. By state law, the Indiana Sheep and Wool Market Development Program was discontinued. Purdue University had administered the state lamb checkoff program since its inception in 1989.

Indiana lamb producers, feeders, seedstock producers and exporters are required to participate in the new federal program, as are 4-H members who sell sheep. Lamb importers are exempt.

"The money from this program is to be used for product promotion," said David Trotter, Purdue Extension educator in Clark County and a member of the executive board of the American Sheep Industry Association.

"The idea is to get American lamb back to a point where it's competitive and not being hindered and hurt by foreign lamb that comes here in the form of imports. This program also will educate the consumer about the benefits of lamb and the value of American lamb."

First handlers and exporters will collect the assessments. Lamb producers and others paying remittance will contribute about the same amount as they do under the state program, although assessment methods and rates are different.

Assessments are charged only on lambs for meat and pelts, not wool or wool products.

"The federal program's going to be different from the state program in that only one time will a remittance be sent in on an animal," Trotter said. "You won't send it in on every point of sale like you have been in the Indiana program.

"Remittance is based on the weight of the animal, or how much weight that's been produced on the animal. That's a difference, too, because the Indiana program was on a per-head basis. Also, there's a per-head basis charge on slaughter in this new federal program."

Assessment rates are the same for lambs and older sheep, Trotter said. "The price is a half cent per pound on production," he said, "so a 120-pound lamb would equal about 60 cents. The slaughter price is 30 cents a head."

Remittance payments are due on the 15th of each month following a lamb sale or slaughter. The first assessment will be collected Aug. 15.

A national program board will decide how assessment dollars are spent. The board, appointed by the USDA, will include six producer representatives, three feeder representatives, three first handlers and a feedstock producer.

"Indiana has several producers being nominated to the Secretary of Agriculture for those three-year positions," Trotter said.

More information about the federal program, including collection forms, is available on the USDA's lamb program Web site. The American Sheep Industry Association also has posted information about the program.

Indiana's sheep numbers are down this year, according to the Purdue-based Indiana Agricultural Statistics Service. On Jan. 1, Hoosier farmers were raising 57,000 head of sheep and lambs, down 14 percent from the 2001 inventory. Indiana produced 55,000 lambs in 2001, off 13 percent from 2000.

About 2,100 Indiana farms raise sheep and lambs.

U.S. sheep and lamb stock totaled 6.69 million head on Jan. 1, down 4 percent from 2001. American farmers produced 4.5 million lambs in 2001, a 3 percent drop from the previous year and a new record low.

Writer: Steve Leer, (765) 494-8415, sleer@purdue.edu

Source: David Trotter, (812) 256-4591, david.trotter@ces.purdue.edu

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722; Beth Forbes, bforbes@aes.purdue.edu; http://www.agriculture.purdue.edu/AgComm/public/agnews/

Related Web sites:
Sheep @ Purdue

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu


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