A proposed amendment to increase the assessment rate for the Lamb Promotion, Research and Information Order was published in the June 12 Federal Register. You are invited to make comments on this change through August 13.
The amendment would increase the assessment rate from $.005 to $.007 per pound for live sheep and lamb sold by producers, feeders and seedstock producers. For sheep and lamb purchased for slaughter by first handlers the rate would increase from 30 cents to 42 cents per head.
Funds collected under the Lamb Checkoff Program are used for promotion, information, research and advertising of American lamb.
This is the first proposed increase in assessment rates in the program’s decade history.
The following are some common questions and answers that you may have about this proposed change.
Why did the American Lamb Board request this change?
Quite simply, the American Lamb Board wants to be able to promote and maintain a strong marketplace for American Lamb.
During the past 10 years, the American Lamb Board has faced decreased budgets and like most everyone else, increased costs (printing, shipping, etc.). Further, the lamb checkoff is being outspent by the competition.
The lamb checkoff works with less than $2 million to promote American Lamb. This compares to about $42 million for the beef checkoff and $69 million for the pork checkoff. Further, Meat and Livestock Australia spends more to promote Australian Lamb in the United States than the total budget of the American Lamb Board
How much more funding would the American Lamb Board receive if this assessment change is made?
The assessment change would increase the American Lamb Board budget by about 40 percent ($700,000).
How will the American Lamb Board use these additional funds?
The American Lamb Board would use the additional revenue to maintain, enhance and expand its efforts to build demand, increase awareness and create preference for American Lamb. Specific efforts range from placing lamb articles in magazines and newspapers to sending lamb nutrition information to food bloggers to events like Lamb Jam.
Who decides how funds are spent?
The American Lamb Board is an industry-funded and industry-managed research and promotions commodity board that represents all sectors of the American Lamb industry including producers, feeders, seed stock producers, and processors. The 14-member Board is comprised of six producers, three packers or first handlers, three feeders, one seedstock producer and one public member who are appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. Board members serve voluntarily and are not paid for their time. The work of the American Lamb Board is overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the board’s programs are implemented by a small staff in Denver, Colorado.
The American Lamb Board proposed this change about one year ago. Since then, the market has changed dramatically. The industry is facing many challenges. Competition is intense. While the economy and market has shifted, a strong demand for American Lamb is critical to the long term success of the American Lamb industry. The American Lamb Board is committed to protecting the American Lamb position in retail and foodservice and maintaining market share. Today’s consumers value local products and the American Lamb story needs to be told.
How does the American Lamb Board measure the effectiveness of its programs?
The American Lamb Board invests in variety of research studies to monitor the lamb market and its work. These include but are not limited to consumer and chef use and attitude studies, retail sales monitoring and menu studies.
Texas A & M University has analyzed the effectiveness of the lamb checkoff program since July 2002 and concluded the checkoff resulted in 7.1 to 7.5 pounds of lamb consumption per dollar spent on promotion activities which translates into $37.16 to $39.34 in additional lamb sales per dollar spent on promotion activities. They reported that doubling the ALB lamb promotion expenditures in any given year would boost national lamb consumption by roughly 4 percent.
What are the goals of the Lamb Checkoff program?
The American Lamb Board marketing and promotion programs are designed to:
- Encourage the utilization of the whole carcass
- Even out seasonality of lamb sales
- Expand lamb utilization beyond holidays and fine dining
- Differentiate and create preferences for American Lamb over imported lamb
Will the assessment change take place no matter what?
USDA will analyze and assess the comments received. If necessary, USDA will consult with the American Lamb Board on comments received.
How do I submit comments?
Comments must be posted online at www.regulations.gov or sent to Kenneth Payne, Director, Marketing Programs Division, Livestock and Seed Program, Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), USDA, Room 2628-S, STOP 0251, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250-0251; or fax to (202) 720-1125. All comments should reference the docket number, the date, and the page number of this issue of the Federal Register. Comments will be available for public inspection at the aforementioned address, as well as on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov/.