DENVER, CO–The American lamb industry is faced with enormous challenges in its fortunes with the decline in lamb consumption. Increased competition from New Zealand and Australia is also hurting the domestic ranchers. But the Muslim and Hispanic American communities are now being looked as saviors of the industry due to their higher intake of lamb meat.
A report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Research Center says that for the most part the growing ethnic populations in the northeast and on the West Coast have kept the American lamb industry afloat. Among these communities the domestic Muslim community ranks higher with its $98 billion in spending power.
The industry is also eagerly looking to cater to the needs of this segment. The American Lamb Board has issued a list of dos and donts for the industry keeping in mind the sensitivities of the Muslim community.
Rancher A.J. Nelson, who helps run Cactus Hill Ranch near Windsor, Colorado, told the Northern Colorado Community Radio that his entire stock ends up in processing plants that are halal-certified, bound for grocery stores in the northeast and on the West Coast.
“Marketing it towards the Muslim and Mexican communities, that’s definitely the way to do it, if you’re gonna want to sell it in any real volume,” Nelson says.