New Mexico

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced the continuation of the Lamb Promotion, Research, & Information Order, according to New Mexico Wool Growers, Inc., president, Russell Leonard, Artesia.

"Lamb producers, feeders, seedstock producers and first handlers of lamb and lamb products participating in a national referendum which ran from Jan. 31 to Feb. 28 voted in favor of the order," Leonard said, "to provide the industry with funding for research, promotion and education."

Of the 3,490 valid ballots cast, 80 percent favored the program, Leonard reported. Additionally, of those persons who cast valid ballots in the referendum, those who favored the continuing of the program accounted for 84 percent of the total production (the number of sheep owned, fed or slaughtered) voted.

For the program to continue, it had to have approval of a majority of those persons voting who were engaged in the production, feeding or slaughter of lambs during calendar year 2004 and who also represent a majority of the volume of lambs produced, fed or slaughtered, Leonard explained.

The goal of the program is to strengthen the position of, and to develop and expand the markets for sheep and sheep products. Under the program producers, seedstock producers, feeders and exporters are required to pay an assessment of one-half cent ($.005) per pound when live sheep are sold. The first handler, primarily packers, will pay an additional 30 cents per head on sheep animals purchased for slaughter. Importers are not assessed.

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