$18M in assistance proposed
As part of the new '2004 Ewe Lamb Replacement and Retention Payment Program' the USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA) has proposed providing up to $18 million to sheep and lamb producers who have recently experienced reduced production and flock size, low prices, and poor market conditions. This proposed program is designed to encourage the replacement and retention of ewe lamb breeding stock by giving direct cash payments to impacted producers. In order to qualify, producers must have been impacted during the one-year period from August 1, 2003 through July 31, 2004. Sheep and lamb operations may apply in person or via mail, telephone, or fax to FSA county offices once the application period is announced. The application period will follow the closing of two comment periods. Comments on the program specifics must be turned in by October 7. Comments on information collection in this rule must be received by November 8. Comments can be mailed to Grady Bilberry, director, Price Support Division, Farm Service Agency, USDA, STOP 0512 Room 4095-S, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-0512; e-mail: email@example.com; fax: 202/690-3307.
Interstate transport amendment proposed
USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is proposing to require livestock facilities that handle sheep and goats in interstate commerce to follow certain procedures to minimize the potential spread of scrapie. The approval process will ensure that certain uniform practices relating to the identification, record keeping, and handling of sheep and goats are followed. Notice of the proposal was published in the Aug. 26 Federal Register. Public comments will be accepted by FSIS until October 25.
ASI budgets unanimously approved
The American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) Board of Directors has unanimously approved the 2004-2005 budgets to fund services, programs and operations of the national organization. Fifty-six certified voters were given the annual responsibility of reviewing and casting their votes for the next fiscal year budgets. Three ballots were cast. The first ballot was for the approval of the American Wool Trust budget for the fiscal year beginning October 1 and running through September 30, 2005. Secondly, approval was sought for the Fund II budget of ASI for the legislative and membership activities of the association as well as non-wool trust and association services. The final board vote was in regard to the dues assessment rate. It was recommended that the rate remain the same as the current yearthree cents per stock sheep and $6 per member.
MPR changes approved
Urgings by the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) and state affiliates to modify the Livestock Mandatory Price Reporting (MPR) regulations as they apply to domestic and imported boxed lamb cut sales have been successful. USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) issued its final rule in a recent issue of the Federal Register saying that the new reports will be available starting November 1. Two definitions have been amended. The definition of "carlot-based" is being changed to include language to limit carlot-based sales of boxed lamb cuts to transactions between a buyer and a seller consisting of 1,000 pounds or more of boxed lamb items. The definition of "importer" reduces the volume level of annual lamb imports establishing a person as an importer to 2,500 metric tons of lamb products per year, down from 5,000 metric tons.
Menu study shows lamb's use in trendsetting restaurants
A recent analysis of lamb on restaurant menus shows that lamb represents more than 10 percent of the protein mentions of high profile, white tablecloth restaurants on Food Beat Inc.'s "Trendspotters" database.
Not surprisingly, 84 percent of the mentions of lamb are as entrees, with several lamb appetizers, salads, soups, and sandwiches as well. Trendspotter restaurant menus often highlighted ingredients form local area or regional flavors.
Some menu items noted included:
Dijon Crusted Colorado Lamb Chops, Chef Allen's, Miami Beach, FL
Three Preparations of Iowa Lamb, Goodfellow's, Minneapolis, MN
Roasted Rack of Colorado Lamb, Mel's Restaurant & Bar, Denver, CO
Sweet Garlic Crusted Oregon Lamb Chops, Painted Table, Seattle, WA
Wood Grilled Virginia Lamb Chops, Café Annie, Houston, TX
Sheep shearers wanted
The American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) is compiling a sheep shearer database, which will contain information ranging from a shearer's contact information to what services, supplies and level of skills he or she provides. The organization kicked off the project in mid-August, and said it was needed because of producers having a hard time finding people to shear their sheep for this fall. For more information, contact Bob Padula at 320/269-7973 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.