The American Sheep Industry Association, its state affiliates and the National Lamb Feeders Association wrote Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today asking that the U.S. Department of Agriculture reconsider payment limits through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.
The COVID-19 pandemic has already led to an estimated $353 million in losses for the American sheep industry, and USDA is working to establish the parameters surrounding direct assistance to agriculture – including America’s lamb, wool and sheepskin producers. ASI is working with USDA to establish such a program as it applies to the American sheep industry.
“The lamb industry supply chain is very tightly connected and the loss in any segment has a negative impact up and down the line,” read the letter. “Therefore, we would request USDA reconsider the payment limits mentioned in initial reports. Specifically, $125,000 per commodity, and $250,000 per individual. This limitation would severely restrict the effectiveness of CFAP for many family-owned farms, ranches and feedlots across the nation. We have already seen many of our producers, feeders and processors incur staggering losses reaching far beyond the payment limits contemplated.
“Additionally, we would ask that the USDA evaluate options to consider losses incurred after April 15th, as a prescriptive timeframe would leave producers who will suffer a loss without assistance. The lamb market was strong going into our peak demand season around Passover and Easter, but fell off precipitously once COVID restrictions were implemented widely in late-March. The backup of product throughout the supply chain and the losses incurred in each sector of our industry are going to take considerable time to work through the system. While we hope markets rebound quickly, we know many producers will experience significant losses outside the currently contemplated window and ask that the USDA ensure equitable assistance industry-wide.
“We fully understand the budget constraints the department is under and applaud you for working to cover the needs of many diverse agricultural industries. The sheep industry looks forward to working with the administration and Congress to support USDA’s efforts under CFAP and other livestock programs as it recovers from the impacts of COVID-19.”
ASI is the national organization representing the interests of more than 88,000 sheep producers located throughout the United States. From East to West, pasture-based flocks to range operations, ASI works to represent the interests of all producers. Learn more online at https://sheepusa.org/
The National Lamb Feeders Association (NLFA) was founded in 1950, by several sheep industry veterans, their dream, to form an organization that would support the growth and expansion of an industry steeped in tradition and rich in history, ensuring its viability for future generations. Learn more online at https://www.lambfeedersusa.org/
Brian 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.