Lamb Industry Struggles with COVID-19


The American Sheep Industry Association and the National Lamb Feeders Association sent a letter to USDA Under Secretary Greg Ibach today calling for prompt solicitation of bids under a Feb. 19 Pre-Solicitation Notice Announcement for Trade Mitigation Purchase of Lamb Products.

The letter can be read below:


Under Secretary Ibach,
The lamb industry is struggling with the loss of lamb meat sales due to the COVID-19 pandemic closing of restaurants this week. Historically, the majority of American Lamb is sold to food service industries, so the closing of restaurant businesses is devastating to lamb sales. The loss of meat sales beginning on Monday pushed our second largest lamb company over the edge to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy on March 19, 2020. We have confirmed other lamb companies are experiencing weakening sales this week to their food service customers and distributors.
We encourage prompt solicitation of bids under the February 19, 2020 Pre-Solicitation Notice Announcement for Trade Mitigation Purchase of Lamb Products.
The Easter/Passover season is traditionally the single largest lamb consumption period of the year, so the loss of sales is devastating. Decreased slaughter during this run up to the largest lamb processing period can lead to back-up of live lambs in the feedlots which again supports an aggressive use of USDA lamb meat purchases. We ask that every consideration is made of any additional lamb products for near term solicitations, as well as use of section 32 procurement funds as appropriate.
We appreciate consideration of USDA tools to help our producers and feeders deal with this crisis.
American Sheep Industry Association                National Lamb Feeders Association
Benny Cox – President                                              Jeff Hasbrouck – President


On top of a struggling lamb meat sector, the virus caused cancellations in the sheep industry including the Moffat County (CO) Shearing School and the Montana Lamb Jam.

As for now, entries are still open for the South Dakota Sheep Growers Association Premium Yearling Ewe Sale that will be July 25th in Huron, SD. The sale will offer 500 head of top quality registered and commercial replacement ewes with the sale consisting mostly of white faced western ewes and some black faced ewes as well.



South Dakota Sheep Growers Association

Northern Ag Network

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Dan Simpson

Today’s lamb industry is blessed with a large number of small slaughter facilities that do a far superior job of merchandising the final product than the big packers have ever did or will ever do.

I experienced the days when a few big packers that did the majority of lamb slaughter in America were able to control the market and payed a fraction of the actual cost to produce the slaughter lambs.

Every time there has been gov. money pumped into the industry the producers pay for it.

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