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With per capita lamb and mutton consumption fairly stable, imports have offset the decline in domestic production. Lamb and mutton imports, which currently account for nearly half of U.S. consumption, are mainly from Australia (about 68-70 percent) and New Zealand (about 30-32 percent).

In addition to importing meat products, the United States also trades live animals with its North American trading partners. Historically, live imports have come primarily from Canada, but these have declined considerable since 2003. Live exports go primarily to Mexico. The United States has a greater demand for lamb than for mutton and, thus, imports Canadian lambs. Mexico has a greater demand for mutton and, thus, imports U.S. culled ewes (older, less productive females).

Last updated: Saturday, May 26, 2012

For more information contact: Keithly Jones

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