RAPID CITY, S.D. – A video podcast released this past weekend shed new light on the status of a legal process initiated by the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) toward the possible filing of a United States trade law violation by lamb importers.
ASI Executive Director Peter Orwick told those attending the South Dakota Sheep Growers 86th Annual Convention held in Rapid City, September 22-23, 2023, that the results of a preliminary investigation over the last several months by the law firm of Kelly Drye will be shared with the ASI Executive Board this week.
“We are specifically looking for the estimate of trade case strength, which depends on two parts, with one as injury to the industry – the entire industry, the sheep producer, the lamb feeders and lamb companies,” Orwick said. “The second piece is estimate of any violation including dumping or subsidy margins so the board can project an impact on American lamb returns should a case filing result in tariffs on imported lamb meat.”
Pursuing a trade case against lamb importing countries would cost a minimum of $1.3 million in legal expenses alone and require nearly a year to see the case through to the end, Orwick said. He appreciates volunteer leaders of ASI taking part in multiple meetings and interviews of legal firms this spring to secure the research and guidance from professionals on United States trade law.
Due to investment costs, the ASI Executive Board has indicated it will require a vote of the full board of directors to move forward with any litigation. While a virtual meeting is an option in the coming months, the board will meet in person at ASI’s Annual Convention in Denver, Colo., on January 10-13, 2024.
Eight of ASI’s 44 state member associations joined the National Lamb Feeders Association in April of this year in requesting that the association investigate lamb imports. A law firm was selected in May and conducted confidential financial surveys of American sheep producers, lamb feeders and lamb companies as part of the initial investigation. International analysis of lamb meat pricing and production costs will also be a key piece of the recommendation to be considered by the ASI Executive Board.
The SDSGA also presented annual awards during the 86th convention including the “Shepherd’s Award,” the highest honor for a South Dakota sheep producer presented to Tammy Basel of Union Center, SD., for her support of the organization and the promotion of the sheep industry. “Trapper of the Year” was awarded to John Paulson for his distinguished service to the South Dakota sheep industry. Paulson is the current director of the ND/SD Wildlife Services.