ORIGINALLY WRITTEN BILL HARMON
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has announced the final procedures for a continuance referendum under the Lamb Promotion, Research and Information Order, more commonly known as the Lamb Checkoff Program, and has announced the referendum will be conducted Jan. 31 through Feb. 28.
The referendum will be conducted at county Farm Service Agency offices across the country.
To be eligible to participate, persons must certify and provide documentation, such as a sales receipt or remittance form, that shows they have been engaged in the production, feeding or slaughtering of lambs or any ovine animal of any age, including ewes and rams, between Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2004.
During the referendum voting period, persons may obtain form LS-86 to vote in the referendum from FSA offices either in person, by mail, or facsimile.
Forms may also be obtained via the Internet at: www.ams.usda. gov/lsg/mpb/rp-lamb.htm
Form LS-86 and accompanying documentation returned in person or by fax must be received in the appropriate county FSA office before the close of business Feb. 28.
Any returned by mail must have a postmark of no later than Feb. 28 and be received in the county office by March 7 to be considered valid.
For the program to continue, it must be approved by a majority of voters who also represent a majority of the volume represented in the referendum.
The Lamb Checkoff Program is authorized by the Commodity Promotion, Research and Information Act of 1996. This program provides for assessments on the sale of lamb and lamb products and for an industry board to carry out promotion, research and information programs designed to increase the demand for lamb and lamb products.
The referendum is mandated by the act and requires that the secretary of agriculture conduct a referendum either before it goes into effect or within three years after assessments first begin under an order.
The order provides that the referendum be held within three years after assessments first begin.
Assessments began July 1, 2002. AMS oversees the activities of the program.
Bill Harmon is executive director of the Marion County FSA office in Marion.