USDA funds lamb and goat marketing project

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SALEM, Ohio – Cornell University is using a $250,000 USDA grant to create a marketing network for lamb and goat producers in the Northeast, from Maine to West Virginia.

The project includes establishing teleauctions to give farmers a more direct connection to packers.

“Slaughter houses are located in and around metropolitan areas, so the gap between the packer and where the farms are can sometimes be pretty wide,” said Bob Melchior, marketing coordinator for the project.

“Holding the auction in a rural area, but allowing packers to bid via telephone should benefit farmers tremendously. It should really give farmers a better chance to make more money for their lambs and goats.”

Although no dates are set, the first auctions will be held in New York, but there are plans to hold auctions in New England and in southwestern Pennsylvania.

Melchior also believes creating marketing pools will also create a larger profit for producers. He said by combining their output, producers could use more effective transportation and marketing channels. The price spread for each producer could be reduced.

Marketing association.

One goal of the project is to institute a self-supporting northeastern marketing association for lamb and goat producers for continued progress after the initial program runs its course in 2002.

Melchior believes the association will be an outgrowth of scheduled marketing conferences. The first one will be held March 3 in Greenfield, Mass., with another one a week later in Harrisburg, Pa.

“Although this grant is for the Northeast, we don’t want to exclude any producers outside those states who want to become involved. We realize we will cross some borders, and they’re porous,” said Melchior.

“We will also study many of the states’ existing initiatives, for example, West Virginia has a great marketing initiative already in place.”

Kill room designs.

The grant also allowed for designs for – but not the construction of – a state-of-the-art Kosher/Halal kill room. The design will be open and readily available to any slaughter facility wishing to upgrade its facilities.

For more information about the program contact Melchior at 607-255-2850 or send an e-mail to mlt2@cornell.edu.USDA funds lamb and goat marketing project.

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