American Lamb Board: Do EWE know how the American Lamb Board Works?

This weekly e-newsletter keeps the lamb industry current on American Lamb Board (ALB) programs. How well are “ewe” acquainted with the ALB?  Here’s a crash-course on your American Lamb checkoff program and the elected industry board who oversees it.

How it Works and How You Contribute

The national lamb checkoff program was initiated in 2002 to pool industry resources to build awareness and expand demand for American Lamb and improve industry profitability. The checkoff assessments the sheep industry contributes to the American Lamb Board (ALB) help to pay for marketing and promotions, research and education, and complementary industry resources.

The national lamb checkoff, which is managed by the American Lamb Board, is funded by mandatory assessments paid by all segments of the sheep industry. By federal law, all sheep or lambs of any age, including ewes and rams, feeder and market lambs, breeding stock and cull animals, are subject to the national lamb checkoff assessment at the time of sale.

A unique feature of the lamb checkoff is how all segments contribute. Each producer, feeder or seedstock producer is obligated to pay the Live Weight Assessment (.007 per pound) and pass it on to the purchaser, ultimately reaching the first handler who will remit the total assessment including their .42 cents per head. Persons who are both the producer and first handler are responsible for remitting both Live Weight and First Handler assessments directly to ALB.


What is a first handler? 

The owner of the animal at time of slaughter, such as packer, processor or direct marketer.

Are direct marketers (producers who sell their products directly to consumers, retailers and/or chefs) responsible for the weight portion or the first handler portion of the lamb checkoff?

Both. Direct marketers are both the producer and the first handler and therefore responsible for paying the Live Weight and First Handler assessments by remitting directly to the American Lamb Board.

Are lamb imports assessed?  

No. ALB is funded only by the US lamb industry and therefore works to promote the benefits of American Lamb over imported options.

Do 4-H, FFA and seedstock sales pay the checkoff? 

Yes. Fair boards, sale managements and 4-H/FFA clubs can collect and remit the Live Weight Assessment directly to ALB. Otherwise, they can deduct the assessment from the sale and pass the Live Weight Assessment to the buyer, who becomes the first handler responsible for remitting both the Live Weight and First Handler assessments.

Who manages the American Lamb checkoff?

The American Lamb Board is comprised of 13 members, representing producers, feeders, seedstock and first handlers. The Boards small staff is based in Denver Colorado. The Board’s expenditures for administration are limited to 10% or less of projected revenues. All remaining revenues are expended on programs related to promotion, research and information for the lamb industry.

What is USDA’s role?

The USDA’s Agriculture Marketing Service oversees the lamb checkoff to assure that funds are spent as intended but the law. USDA attends all meetings and reviews all of the ALB’s budgets, plans, contracts and materials.

Lamb Checkoff Resources

For more detailed information about your checkoff investment click here for annual reports and audited financials:

For a copy of the lamb checkoff remittance form click here.

For copies of the new ALB brochure and/or poster that outlines how the checkoff works and how each sector contributes contact Rae at


By Tucker Allmer - The BARN

Tucker Allmer & the BARN are members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the Colorado FFA Foundation, the Colorado 4H Foundation, the Colorado Farm Show Marketing Committee, 1867 Club Board Member, Denver Ag & Livestock Club Member, the Weld County Fair Board, the Briggsdale FFA Advisory Council, Briggsdale 4H Club Beef Leader & Founder / Coordinator of the Briggsdale Classic Open Jackpot Show.

%d bloggers like this: