In response to John Thompson’s Nov. 6 article about the OFF Act, we’d like to point out that America’s sheep producers have twice voted to support the American Lamb checkoff since its creation in 2002.
Both national referendums were approved by a super majority of votes, which had to be counted two ways to be approved: by individual producers and by share of sheep production.
Contrary to Mr. Thompson’s reporting, there is intense oversight from USDA. A USDA representative is in attendance at each meeting of the American Lamb Board via telephone or in person. Transparency is also evident on the American Lamb Boards web site. There you will find annual reports and audited financials.
We believe it a very bad idea to change federal statutes after our industry has invested its own dollars to build and approve an industry-specific promotion program. Sheep producers designed a promotion program with ranchers, lamb feeders and lamb packing companies each paying a share, and all three sectors have a say in promotion efforts.
Sheep ranchers, lamb feeders and lamb meat companies see the benefit of promoting American lamb specifically because they’ve witnessed first-hand the lack of American lamb promotion. For years, all the food expos, trade shows, advertisement and culinary events were solely represented with foreign lamb. We decided as an industry that we couldn’t complain if we weren’t fighting for our own business with our own dollars.
The author is free to question lamb promotion but using sheep numbers of the 1960’s to judge a program created 40 years later seems like a stretch.
We do not agree with R-Calf and the OFF Act on the attempt to re-write a program that the American sheep industry has spent two decades growing and developing.
American Sheep Industry – President