As of Feb. 15, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has paid out more than $156 million to the American sheep industry through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.
The American Sheep Industry Association paved the way for lambs, sheep and wool to be included in the government assistance package by demonstrating a $125-million loss at the ranch gate level as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent effect it had on shutting down the United States economy.
Lamb sales to the foodservice sector were the hardest hit by the pandemic as high-end restaurants, hotels and cruise lines shut down virtually overnight in March 2020. Typically, more than 50 percent of all American lamb products were marketed to those industries. The loss of sales played a role in the bankruptcy of Mountain States Rosen – the second-largest lamb processor in the United States – and created additional issues for America’s sheep producers as they struggled to get their lambs harvested in 2020.
Total CFAP payments to the American sheep industry look like this:
- $49,958,624for lambs less than 2 years of age;
- $15,133,875 for sheep more than 2 years of age;
- $2,669,294 for non-graded wool;
- $1,592,257 for graded wool.
The first round of CFAP payments totaled $69,354,049 to the American sheep industry, while producers have claimed even more of the available funds in the second round of CFAP payments, to the tune of $87,132,765, for a total of $156,486,815.
ASI – 2021