Dale Thorne, a sheep producer from Michigan, has been elected chairman of the American Lamb Board (ALB). He is serving his second 3-year term on the Board, representing the lamb feeding sector. Thorne has previously served as ALB vice chairman, treasurer and chairman of the Research Committee. 

"Being able to help increase demand for American Lamb is an honor. In particular, I am enthusiastic about the progress we are making regarding American Lamb quality and consistency, such as the flavor research we expect to complete in 2019," says Thorne.

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 US, 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. 

The Lamb Board's Fiscal Year 2018 annual report has also been released. The board directs the American Lamb Checkoff, which is focused on building awareness and expanding demand for American Lamb, and strengthening its position in the marketplace, thereby increasing the potential long-range economic growth of all industry sectors. The majority of lamb checkoff investments go towards promotions and marketing efforts. Funds are also invested in research and industry outreach programs that help improve lamb quality and industry collaboration.

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 one million consumers.
  • 2,353 consumers attended a Lamb Jam event and 54% were new attendees.
  • Lamb flavor research addressing quality factors entered final phases.
  • ALB showcased American Lamb at 24 festivals and events across the US.

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. The complete annual report is available at https://lambresourcecenter.com/lamb-checkoff/resources/.

"An exciting year is ahead for the American Lamb Board as we complete landmark research that will benefit all of us in the industry and continue with innovative marketing to increase demand for our great product," Chairman Thorne said.

Source: American Lamb Board