A national referendum will be held February 2-27, 2009, to determine whether to continue or terminate the Lamb Promotion, Research, and Information Order, better known as the "Lamb Check-off."
The Lamb Check-off requires all producers, feeders, and exporters to pay one-half cent per pound of live sheep sold. First handlers, primarily packers, pay an additional 30 cents per head.
The Check-off funds the American Lamb Board, which is charged with increasing the demand for American lamb. In order for the lamb checkoff to continue, a majority of producer and sheep volume votes must be in favor of it.
In 2005, the referendum was passed by 80 percent of those voting (n=3,490). Those who favored the referendum accounted for 84 percent of the total production voted.
The referendum will be conducted at USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA) county offices. To be eligible to vote, persons must certify and provide documentation, such as a sales receipt, which shows they have been engaged in the production, feeding or slaughtering of lambs during the period, Jan. 1, 2008, through Dec. 31, 2008.
The Executive Board of the American Sheep Industry Association recommends a yes vote on the referendum.
Read USDA news release