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Virginia Cooperative Extension - Knowledge for the CommonWealth

USDA Announces Results of Lamb Checkoff Program Referendum

Livestock Update, May 2009

Dr. Scott P. Greiner, Extension Animal Scientist, VA Tech

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced April 29 that lamb producers, feeders, seedstock producers, and first handlers of lamb and lamb products who voted in a national referendum, Feb. 2-27, 2009, have approved the continuation of the Lamb Promotion, Research, and Information Order, commonly known as the Lamb Checkoff Program.

Of the 1,971 valid ballots cast, 1,678 or 85.1 percent favored the program. Opposing ballots totaled 293 or 14.9 percent. Additionally, of those persons who cast valid ballots in the referendum, those who favored continuing the program, accounted for 93 percent of the total production voted, and those opposed accounted for 7 percent of the total production voted.

For the program to continue, it must have been approved by at least a majority of those persons voting for approval who were engaged in the production, feeding, or slaughter of lambs during calendar year 2008 and who also represent a majority of the volume of lambs produced, fed, or slaughtered.

The goal of the Lamb Checkoff Program is to strengthen the position of, and to develop and expand the markets for, ovine animals and ovine products. Under the program, producers, seedstock producers (breeders), feeders, and exporters are required to pay an assessment of one-half cent ($.005) per pound when live ovine animals are sold. The first handler, primarily packers, pays an additional 30 cents per head on ovine animals purchased for slaughter. Importers are not assessed. AMS oversees activities carried out under the Commodity Promotion, Research, and Information Act of 1996, which authorizes the order.

A notice of the results of the referendum will be published soon in the Federal Register. For copies, contact Kenneth R. Payne, Chief, Marketing Programs Branch, Livestock and Seed Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., STOP-0251, Room 2628-S, Washington, D.C. 20090-0251; telephone 202/720-1115; fax 202/720-1125; or e-mail
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