New bill to expand markets for small meatpackers introduced in Senate
U.S. Sens. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., on Thursday introduced the Requiring Assistance to Meat Processors for Upgrading Plants (RAMP-UP) Act. This legislation would provide grants to meat processors to make improvements necessary to become federally inspected.
Currently, meatpacking facilities can only make sales across state lines if they are federally inspected. Facilities that are state inspected can only sell their products within the state they are located, and custom-exempt processors can only process livestock for the exclusive use of the livestock owner. This legislation would provide grants to meatpacking plants for planning activities, facility upgrades and other necessary improvements to meet the standards necessary for federal inspections.
Currently, Kansas is one of 26 states that operates state inspections at meatpacking plants. Although this bill would help non-inspected and state-inspected facilities become USDA inspected, it does not help small meatpacking plants that already have USDA inspectors but want and need to expand. Several of these facilities operate in central and eastern Kansas.
“The importance of meatpacking facilities in Kansas has been especially clear during this pandemic as they work to meet a growing, nationwide demand for quality meat,” Moran said. “The RAMP-UP Act provides small packers with the tools they need to meet federal standards in order to expand their customer base. By increasing small packer capacity and production, this legislation will strengthen the food supply chain for consumers and give cattle producers in Kansas more options to market their livestock.”