Seeking to Contribute to the US Lamb Industry’s Future? |

Seeking to Contribute to the US Lamb Industry’s Future?


The American Lamb Board (ALB) is charged with directing research, information and promotion programs for American Lamb. Funded through the national American Lamb Checkoff, it invests the industry’s valuable resources to foster profitability and create opportunities for all sectors involved in producing American Lamb.

The success of the ALB hinges on the industry representatives who are appointed to serve. If you are interested in contributing nationally, ALB may be what you are seeking. Very soon, the process for nominations will begin.

All segments of the industry, from producers to feeders, direct marketers and processors, contribute to building the demand for American Lamb through mandatory checkoff payments. Unlike other livestock checkoffs in the US, funding is not collected from imported lamb, only domestic lamb. This allows ALB to focus all its efforts on creating demand for American Lamb, and enhancing opportunities for the entire US lamb industry.

photo by Carrie Stadheim

The 13-member board is comprised of representatives from two geographical regions: 1) east of the Mississippi River, and 2) west of the Mississippi River. All board members serve 3-year terms. No member can serve more than 2 consecutive 3-year terms. The board is composed of:

· 6 producer representatives

At least 2 must come from each region, and the other 2 will be appointed at the Secretary of Agriculture’s discretion. Also, on an annual basis, 2 must own 100 or fewer head of lambs, 1 must own between 101 and 500 head of lambs, and 3 must own more than 500 head of lambs.

· 3 feeder representatives

Feeders appointed to the board cannot all come from the same geographic region. Of the 3 feeders, at least 1 must feed fewer than 5,000 head of lambs annually, and at least 1 must feed 5,000 or more head of lambs annually. The third feeder will be appointed at the US Secretary of Agriculture’s discretion.

· 3 first handlers

· 1 seedstock producer

“Serving on the ALB has been the most important contribution I could make to advancing our industry on a national level. Every board member is deeply engaged to make the best decisions we can with one of the smallest national checkoff budgets in the US. If you are looking to contribute nationally, I encourage you to strongly consider the ALB,” says Gwen Kitzan, a SD sheep producer whose family raises purebreds but also is heavily involved in direct marketing. She is serving as chairman until the board elections in late January 2021.

Qualified industry organizations nominate people to serve on the ALB to the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service. Final appointments are made by the US Department of Agriculture Secretary. If you are interested in becoming a member of the American Lamb Board, these requirements must be met:

· Must be a producer, feeder, seedstock producer or first handler who markets or handles lamb or lamb products in the United States and pays the mandatory assessment.

· Must be nominated by a certified producer organization and submit a completed application. The list of certified organizations, additional nomination information and forms are on the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service website.

Prior to the establishment of the American Lamb mandatory checkoff, US lamb promotion was handled by American Sheep Industry Association’s (ASI) Lamb Council. When the checkoff was implemented, ALB was created to direct funding for promotion, research and information programs. Lobbying activity is not allowed by ALB. Influencing government policy or action is prohibited by law by checkoff funded organizations. Such activities are the role of ASI.

–American Lamb Board

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