House Agriculture Committee leaders are asking USDA to assist sheep and lamb producers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, the lawmakers say the closure of the nation’s second-largest processor, represents an estimated 20 percent of the nation’s processing capacity for sheep producers. The closure, the letter says, “pushes USDA to help lamb and sheep farmers and ranchers find alternate processing and marketing options immediately.” The closure comes at a time when the sheep industry was already forecast to lose more than $350 million due to COVID-19-related market declines.
The lawmakers say USDA has the ability to aid sheep producers in finding other options for marketing and processing in a way that keeps products flowing through the supply chain.
The letter was signed by Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN), Ranking Member Mike Conaway (R-TX) and other committee members. “It’s critical that we provide support to help them through this difficult period,” said Conaway.