I am late working on my taxes and 2017 financial summary. But getting ‘er done. Today I calculated my Lamb Check-off fee and wrote my check. This is the remittance I’m legally obligated to send to the American Lamb Board to cover my slice of the pie of industry promotion. Fortunately for me, my slice of the pie is pretty small.

I don’t mind the payment, as I feel I benefit greatly from the industry promotion that’s done. The Lamb Board creates beautiful marketing materials and branding. This all filters down to create demand from restaurants, who then make consumers more aware of lamb. This spurs consumers to seek out local lamb for purchase for their own freezers. And for customers who are unsure of how to prepare lamb, the Lamb Board’s consumer-facing website has all the educational info and recipes a consumer could want or need.

Now, I don’t think our Lamb Board’s advertising is quite as good as what the Australian Lamb Board put out last year:

But it’s still pretty good.

I sold forty animals direct-market for meat consumption (this actually includes 4.5 lambs and two cull ewes that went into our own freezer). I sold another twenty lambs as growers, and sixty breeding animals in 2017. Technically, I’m supposed to credit the buyer $.007 per pound for the animal they are buying, to cover my portion of the weight and value I’ve put on that animal. But I don’t usually bother. For one, most people who buy from me probably aren’t aware of the Lamb Check-off and/or don’t bother paying it. So, me contributing to their total due doesn’t matter. Plus, it’s a very small sum, less than a dollar per head, not worth tracking on a receipt. Also, technically, when I sell a lamb by live weight to a buyer who does their own slaughter, or pays a custom-exempt butcher to process the animal, that final buyer is considered the “first handler” at the time of slaughter, and thus the person who owes the Check-off. But, of course, my customers aren’t going to pay the Lamb Board. So, I do, on their behalf.

Most large producers are required to pay the Check-off monthly. But since my total due is so small, informally I’m told it’s fine to pay yearly, in January. Since I was two months late, I ponied-up the 2% per month late fee as well. Because I’m just a good sport like that.