Michigan farmer re-elected chairman of American Lamb Board

lamb board
(American Lamb Board 2018 annual report image)

DENVER — Dale Thorne, a sheep producer from Michigan, has been re-elected chairman of the American Lamb Board (ALB). He is serving his second three-year term on the board, representing the lamb feeding sector.

Thorne and his family have a flock of 1,000 Polypay ewes, half of which lamb in the fall and half in the spring. Because he is near Detroit, which is the largest Muslim community in the U.S., Thorne sees first-hand the value of both traditional and non-traditional markets. The majority of the farm’s lambs are marketed at about 80 pounds.

The farm also produces hay for the horse market, and row crops such as corn and soybeans.

Annual report

The Lamb Board’s fiscal year 2018 annual report has also been released (link opens report in .pdf). The board directs the American Lamb Checkoff, which is focused on building awareness and expanding demand for American lamb.

The majority of lamb checkoff investments go toward promotions and marketing efforts. Funds are also invested in research and industry outreach programs that help improve lamb quality and industry collaboration.

During FY2018, the lamb board expenditures were $2,412,782, of which 66 percent ($1,599,675) were spent on promotion programs; 18 percent ($441,204) on communications, 5 percent on research, 7 percent on administration and 4 percent on USDA oversight.

FY 2018 result highlights include:

  • Fine dining menus called out domestic lamb more than three to one.
  • Blogger Lambassadors developed 38 new American lamb recipes, and their combined blogs and social media posts reached more than 1 million consumers.
  • 2,353 consumers attended a Lamb Jam event and 54% were new attendees.
  • Lamb flavor research addressing quality factors entered final phases.
  • The board showcased American lamb at 24 festivals and events across the US.


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