FARMINGTON – Gary J. Raymond, county executive director for USDA’s Farm Service Agency in Franklin County, reminded producers that sign-up ends Jan. 13 for the $18 million Ewe Lamb Replacement and Retention Payment Program, which pays producers to replace and retain ewe lamb breeding stock. Sign up for the program began Oct. 25.

“By increasing the value and number of domestic lambs, this program will help our nation’s sheep operations achieve sustained market competitiveness, while respecting international trade obligations,” said Raymond.

The program’s payments are expected to begin in mid-January. Subject to the availability of funds, producers will receive $18 for each qualifying ewe lamb retained or purchased for breeding purposes during a specified period.

An estimated 66,800 sheep and lamb operations in the United States have experienced long-term poor market conditions, which has led to reduced incomes. Increased imports and extreme drought conditions in domestic sheep-producing areas have forced producers to decrease production and flock size.

The program will strengthen the lamb industry by boosting the purchasing power of producers, including their ability to invest in large and genetically-improved breeding stocks.

Producers must apply for the program by completing form FSA-384. The form is available at local USDA FSA offices and on Web site at More information is available at local offices and on Web site at

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