USDA Begins Releasing 'Grass Fed' ReportWASHINGTON – In response to what it calles a “changing and widening marketplace,” USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has started releasing the National Monthly Grass Fed Lamb and Goat Meat report through the agency’s Market News service.
The first report by Market News was released May 13.
“This is one of the first reports of its kind, filling a significant data gap for the industry and increasing transparency in the marketplace,” the USDA stated in a press release announcing the move.
According to the 2012 Census of Agriculture, there are more than five million head of sheep and lambs in the United States. A growing trend is producing these animals using grass fed production systems, especially for small to mid-sized producers.
USDA estimates that half a million sheep each year are channeled into the nontraditional marketplace – such as ethnic and direct-to-consumer markets. Often these nontraditional markets offer premiums to farmers and ranchers over traditional marketing channels. Small to mid-sized producers and farmers, in particular, often use direct-to-consumer markets to get better prices for their products, while creating their own niche in the marketplace.
While there is an increased demand for these types of products, there is little public data available to farmers and ranchers.
“With this new market report and improved access to information, USDA aims to assist farmers and ranchers who are considering converting to grass fed operations and those who are already producing grass fed lamb and goat products,” USDA explained.
In addition to market commentary, the new report includes prices for both wholesale grass fed lamb and direct-to-consumer grass fed lamb and goat.