Washington, Dec. 12, 2008 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced that it will offer lamb producers, feeders, and first handlers the opportunity to vote in a nationwide referendum on whether to continue or terminate the Lamb Promotion, Research, and Information Order, authorized under the Commodity Promotion, Research, and Information Act of 1996. The referendum will be held Feb. 2-27, 2009.
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 or remittance form, which shows they have been engaged in the production, feeding or slaughtering of lambs during the period, Jan. 1, 2008, through Dec. 31, 2008.
Beginning Feb. 2, 2009, and continuing through Feb. 27, 2009, persons eligible to vote should obtain form LS-86 from a county FSA office either in persons, by mail, fax, or via the Internet at: http://www.ams.usda.gov/lsmarketingprograms. Persons must vote in the referendum at the County FSA office where their administrative farm records are maintained. For those persons not participating in FSA programs, the opportunity to vote will be provided at the County FSA office where the person owns or rents land.
Form LS-86 and supporting documentation must be returned in person, by mail, or by fax to the appropriate county FSA office. The form and documentation returned in person or by fax must be received in the appropriate county office prior to the close of business on Feb. 27, 2009. The form and documentation returned by mail must be postmarked no later than midnight of Feb. 27, 2009, and received in the county FSA office by March 6, 2009.
USDA monitors activities of the American Lamb Board. The mandatory program is financed by producers, seedstock producers (breeders), feeders, and exporters who are assessed one-half cent ($.005) per pound when live ovine animals are sold. The first handler, primarily packers, pays an additional 30 cents per head on ovine animals purchased for slaughter.
Notice of the referendum will be published in the Dec. 16, 2008, Federal Register. Copies of the Final Rule and Notice are available from the Marketing Programs Branch; Livestock and Seed Program, AMS, USDA; STOP 0251 - Room 2628-S; 1400 Independence Avenue, SW; Washington, D.C. 20250-0251; tel. (202) 720-1115; or via the Internet at www.ams.usda.gov/lsmaretingprograms.