The goal of this project is to improve the sheep industry in California by providing an avenue through which sheep producers can market a new, desirable, high quality and value-added product to consumers - Certified California Lamb. Acting on behalf of its membership and to the benefit of all California sheep producers, California Wool Growers Association (CWGA) will own the Certified California Lamb label. The specific objectives of this project are to:
• Increase the market for California lamb thereby strengthening the sheep industry, with the potential to take this program to other states and, possibly, nationally and internationally
• Educate producers to the benefits of producing a quality product that meets specific weight, age and grade criteria
• Strengthen the value of California lamb so that producers can remain viable and sustainable ranchers
• Provide producers with an additional avenue through which to market their lamb, and with the potential to receive a premium for their efforts
• Promote lamb through the Certified California Lamb label, enhancing the U.S. market for California lamb and potentially expansion into international markets.
The Certified California Lamb project is especially relevant and important to the California sheep industry.
Producers are frustrated and discouraged after years of unstable and/or decreasing prices at the farm gate, losses of available land for economical grazing, and skyrocketing increases in the cost of other feeds such as alfalfa and corn. Retailers are reportedly frustrated with the inconsistency of lamb prices and quality of product provided for their meat cases.
The local food movement is spreading from rural farm stands to supermarket shelves. Grocery shoppers embrace the increase in local food options because they believe it helps local economies, delivers a broader assortment of products, provides healthier alternatives, reduces carbon footprints, and increases natural or organic production. The Certified California Lamb label program will promote the product with the issues of both producers and consumers in mind.
Requirements for lambs to be marketed as Certified California Lamb under the new label will be:
• lambs must be verifiably documented to be born, raised and harvested exclusively in California
• lambs must be less than 1 year of age
• carcasses must be no greater than 85 lbs. dressed weight
• carcasses must grade choice or higher and
• carcasses must have a yield grade of 1-3
These requirements are important to implement and will be audited. This label will result in a higher
quality and more consistent product for the consumer, while also providing a new chanell for producers to
sell their product.
Although this project is centered in California, once demonstrated as successful, CWGA will share the
successes and challenges with other states so that it can be brought to other markets and therefore
providing a benefit to all within the the U.S. sheep industry.
Certified California Lamb
Final Report Submitted by: California Wool Growers Association
The purpose of this certified program is to improve the sheep industry in California by providing an avenue through which sheep producers can market a new, desirable, high quality and value-added product to consumers - Certified California Lamb. Acting on behalf of its membership and to the benefit of all California sheep producers, California Wool Growers Association (CWGA) will own, verify, and manage the Certified California Lamb label.
The specific objectives of this project are to:
Increase the market for California lamb thereby strengthening the sheep industry, with the potential to take this program to other states and, possibly, nationally and internationally.
Educate producers to the benefits of producing a quality product that meets source, specific weight, age and grade criteria.
Strengthen the value of California lamb so that producers can remain viable and sustainable ranchers.
Provide producers with an additional avenue through which to market their lamb, and with the potential to receive a premium for their efforts.
Promote lamb through the Certified California Lamb label, enhancing the U.S. market for California lamb and potentially expansion into international markets.
Requirements for lambs to be marketed as Certified California Lamb under the new label will be:
lambs must be verifiably documented to be born, raised and harvested exclusively in California
lambs must be less than 1 year of age – as determined by physiological maturity using the USDA grading standards.
carcasses must be no greater than 85 lbs. dressed weight
carcasses must grade USDA choice or higher and
carcasses must have a USDA yield grade of 1-3
The following documents are those that will be used to verify and certify the producers and lambs that meet the Certified California Lamb program requirements:
Lamb Grower Certificate, Lamb Grower Profile, and Identification and Certification Documents:
This program will include a Source Verified program administered by CWGA staff and audited by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Services (AMS). Under the Source Verified program, all lambs would be documented to be born and raised in California.
The Lamb Grower Certificate and Lamb Grower Profile will be completed by the growers that choose to enroll in this program. These documents will be held at the
CWGA office and will be entered into a spreadsheet, which will then be provided to California processors so that they can verify that lambs received at the processing facility have been enrolled in the program.
The Identification and Certification Document will be reviewed with the grower when they enroll in the program so that they are aware of the operating procedures to ensure proper identification and segregation of all Certified California Lamb animals.
This form will accompany all lambs being delivered to a harvesting facility, so that the supplier is aware that the lambs meet the source verification parameters within this program. The processing facility will confirm with CWGA that the producer has filed the Certificate and Profile documents, and will then retain this affidavit for auditing purposes and provide these documents to the USDA Grader upon request.
Annual Assessment and Review and Audit Form:
These documents outline the audit parameters that will be conducted by CWGA to verify that producers are following the guidelines. CWGA auditors will review all pertinent documents and paperwork to ensure program animals meet the born and raised qualifications
The Audit Form will be used when the audit is being conducted.
CCL Training Form:
This check list will be used when training employees are aware of all aspects of the program.
Certified California Lamb Program
USDA, AMS, LPS, QAD, SB Washington, DC 20250
SCHEDULE CA –
USDA SPECIFICATION FOR CERTIFICATION OF LAMB CARCASS
QUALITY AND YIELD CHARACTERISTICS OF OFFICIALLY GRADED LAMB
This specification is for certification by an Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) agent for carcasses which are derived from certain carcass characteristics of lamb carcasses which have been officially identified for quality and yield grade, and will: (a) carcasses must be accompanied with documentation approved by the California Wool Growers Association (CWGA) verifying California born and raised, and (b) meet the following set of requirements:
1. U.S. Prime or Choice quality grade;
2. A yield grade of 1, 2, or 3
3. Carcasses must be in excellent condition
4. Dressed carcass weight not to exceed 85 lbs.
An AMS agent will certify acceptable carcasses. Carcasses to be examined for compliance with the requirements of this specification shall be clearly identified when presented to the AMS agent for certification. Procedures for identification, certification, the removal of preliminary identification marks (or other methods of control) from non-qualifying carcasses, and control of certified carcasses shall be in accordance with established Quality Assessment Division (QAD) procedures.
The costs of all grading and certification services performed by the AMS agent involving examinations, supervision, official documentation, and related services shall be borne by the person, group, or plant requesting the service.
Labeling of Certified California Lamb products shall be in compliance with Food Safety and Inspection Service regulations and policy guidelines, QAD instructions and Livestock and Seed Program Policy Standardization Procedure 2.Page 6
Certified California Lamb – Born and Raised
Standard Operating Procedure
Lamb Identification and Segregation
To ensure proper identification and segregation of all Certified California Lamb animals, carcasses and boxed meat products throughout the entire production process.
This Standard Operating Procedure will apply at all times when Certified California Lambs are being raised, fed, transported, staged, processed, stored, transferred, loaded and transported by all participating parties.
Certified California Lamb: Lambs that have been born, raised and harvested in California. They must also meet the following quality standards:
1. A yield grade of 3.9 or numerically lower
2. Dressed carcass weight not to exceed 85 lbs.
3. USDA AMS quality grade of Choice or Prime.
4. Producer is a member of California Wool Growers Association
CCL: Certified California Lamb.
Sheep producers who raise and sell lambs only from their flocks can ensure that no non-California born or raised lambs are included in their lots.
These lambs can be identified by CWGA approved ranch tags or paint brands for program qualification.
oIdentification does not need to be program specific, so long as the method of identification can be determined as belonging to that producer.
Producers must develop and maintain documentation that ensures properly identified lambs were in fact born and raised within California.
Producers must fill out the related CCL Supplier Affidavit to include the number of head, specific ranch information and verification of program qualifications.
oThis must be on file with CWGA and a master list will be made available to processors and AMS for participating in the CCL program.
CCL conforming livestock must be kept completely separate from non-California lambs.
If CCL qualifying lambs and non-CCL qualifying lambs are mixed, the CCL program lambs must be removed. They can re-enter the program so long as the animal identification and related documentation is sufficient to verify that the lamb qualifies for the CCL program.
When receiving lambs that qualify for the CCL program, suppliers must obtain appropriate paperwork that verifies the lambs’ origin. Procurers can have the lamb suppliers fill out the CCL Supplier Affidavit
Suppliers must fill out the related CCL Supplier Affidavit to include the number of head, specific ranch information and verification of program qualifications.
If CCL and non-CCL animals are to be transported on the same trailer, producers must provide a trailer diagram to indicate where CCL program lambs are located.
PROCESSING FACILITIES PROCEDURES:
The CCL animals will be held in designated pens separate from other livestock.
Each lot of animals will be identified as CCL on appropriate harvest paperwork.
CCL lots should be harvested separately from other, non-CCL lots.
Between CCL and non-CCL lots, there will be 5 or more empty chain slots at the start and end of the CCL lot to ensure lot segregation.
Any CCL lambs railed out for inspection or residue testing will be tagged with the lot number clearly identified so that the carcass can be returned to the CCL lot once released.
CCL lots will be grouped together in the coolers.
Carcass Boning/Processing Rooms:
Processing of CCL product should be done when no other non-qualifying program product is in the room to ensure product segregation and traceability.
All product will be labeled CCL accordingly.
Product Storage and Distribution:
CCL product will be tracked through storage and shipping by program specific product codes or CCL logo display.
If room permits, CCL product will be stacked on separate pallets and identified.
A CCL logo will be applied to the box end panel or carcass to identify the product as compliant.
TRAINING FOR CWGA PERSONNEL
Personnel responsible for the administration of CCL are trained by those that developed the program. Training will consist of record keeping, audit reviews, program requirements, verification and approval of producers. Responsible personnel will take a competency exam (see attachment) at the end of training to verify their ability to manage the program. Training checklist include below will be followed.
Certified California Lamb
Standard Operating Procedure
Annual Assessment and Review
To outline procedures of the assessment and review of the Certified California Lamb Process Verified Program.
Annual audit to review various participants (ie: producers, feedlots, processors) in the program.
Review various participants (ie: producers, feedlots, processors) in the program.
1. California Wool Growers Association staff or trained designee will conduct the onsite audit.
2. Auditor(s) will review all pertinent documents and paperwork to ensure program animals meet the born and raised qualifications. Documents include but are not limited to:
a. Field records
b. Procurement records
c. Animal identification tags
d. Paint brands
e. Transportation and/or receiving records
3. Auditor(s) are responsible for determining that the number and qualifications of lambs sold from program participants match the Certified California Lamb requirements. Auditor(s) are also responsible for ensuring that the number of CCL lambs raised corresponds with the number of CCL animals sold/harvested.
4. Auditor(s) are responsible for reviewing and assessing program participants’ protocol to ensure the identification of the lambs in the CCL program.
5. If an auditor finds a program participant to be out of compliance;,
a. No animals will be allowed to ship from facility until records establishing compliance are available to verify.
b. CWGA will review producers’ records to determine if any non-conforming product was processed.
i. If so, producer will be removed from the program and can reapply in 3 months. At time of re-application producer will be audited to confirm that deviation has been corrected.
ii. If not, producer will be put on program probation for 30 days or until corrective actions are made. Producer will be re-audited within 6 months to verify that corrective actions are still in place.
6. Audit findings including non-conformance and corrective actions will be documented on the Annual CCL audit form.
Lamb Grower Profile Report
Form is to be filled out prior to acceptance as a Certified California Lamb grower.
The information is proprietary and will not be shared with anyone outside the scope of this program.
First & Last Name
Grower Program Code Total Number of Breeding Stock Lambing Season Lambing Location Description of pasture size and location(s) Feedlot(s) where lambs are sent
(may be more than one)
Name of Veterinarian Grower ID Brand or Mark
Means used to identify program lamb and non-program lamb (if any)