A new strategy from the American Lamb Board emphasizes marketing, research and industry services to increase consumer demand and expand the domestic sheep flock. 

The board’s 2023-2028 strategic plan report looks to increase demand for American lamb by 5% and take a 5% market share from lamb imports by the end of 2028.

“Making American lamb the preferred choice of consumers, chefs and retailers is at the core of your American Lamb Checkoff’s promotion, information and research programs,” ALB Chairman Peter Camino said. 

Lamb Board officials say American producers faced severe challenges in 2022, including price inflation, lack of labor and the general economic downturn. While there was growth in retail sales, it was not enough to offset the closure of fine dining establishments during the worst phases of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The domestic flock also declined in 2022, with rising import numbers from Australia and New Zealand.    

In order to increase demand, the plan calls for raising consumer awareness of American lamb as a “healthy and sustainably produced protein,” the report said. The research, education and innovation area looks to “identify and support attainable research, educational opportunities and benchmarking tools that improve quality and productivity, and increase the U.S. flock.”

Training, outreach and collaboration are priorities for the industry services area. This sector looks to educate producers and equip industry leaders with adequate tools to advocate for U.S. lamb.

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