By Jennifer Whitlock
A Texan is one of four new members to sit on the American Lamb Board (ALB). The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced that David Fisher of Sonora has been appointed to serve as of January 2022.
The ALB runs American lamb research, information and promotion programs. The objective of the program is to develop and expand the markets for sheep and sheep products. Under the program, growers, seed growers and feeders pay a membership fee of $ 0.007 per pound, and early handlers pay $ 0.42 per head.
Fisher is a member of the Tom Green County Farm Bureau and a fifth generation rancher in the west end of the Texas Hill Country. He raises around 1,400 mostly fine-wool ewes and 1,000 Boer-Spanish cross-meat goats, as well as a commercial Angus cattle herd of 275 head.
“I am passionate about the sheep business,” he said. “We are the largest sheep producing state in the country and we have a very diverse and dynamic market here. “
Sheep is a premium product because of its diversity, according to Fisher.
In addition to the traditional wool and meat sectors, there is a rapidly growing demand in what the industry calls the ethnic market, which uses younger, lighter lambs.
And many first-time consumers are drawn to lamb as they seek out different protein options to suit their lifestyle choices or diet.
“The demand is there. New consumers choose it all the time because they want to try new and exciting things. So I think there is huge potential for growth, ”he said.
Fisher has been active with the Texas Sheep and Goat Raisers Association (TSGRA) and the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) for many years. Currently he is District Director for TSGRA and a member of the ASI Wool Council committee. Fisher is also a member of the board of directors of Producers Marketing Cooperative, Inc., a producer-owned sheep and goat marketing cooperative.
The other newly appointed members of the ALB are Jimmy Parker of Alabama, Stephen Schreier of Minnesota and Andrew Allman of Colorado. Each new member of the Board of Directors will serve a three-year term from January 2022 to January 2025.
The ALB has 13 directors: six producers, one seed producer, three fatteners and three primary manipulators. Two producers appointed to the board must own 100 lambs or less per year; a producer must have 101 to 500 lambs per year; and three producers must own more than 500 lambs per year. At least one fattener must feed less than 5,000 lambs per year and at least one must feed more than 5,000 lambs per year.
The 13-member board of directors is appointed by certified industry organizations, appointed by the US Secretary of Agriculture, funded by the American Lamb Checkoff, and overseen by the USDA.