Two New Bills For The Livestock Industry

Congress has introduced two new bills which would allow the livestock industry to better serve consumers.

Last week, two bills were introduced that would allow the livestock industry to meet consumer demand and provide greater access to beef, pork, and poultry products. The bills, supported by the American Farm Bureau Federation, would benefit farmers, consumers, and processors. According to Scott Bennett, AFBF’s Congressional Relations Director, “With the disruption of meat packing capacity, due to COVID-19, and the concern now around meat shortages at the grocery store, these bills provide added flexibility to direct-to-consumer meat sales. We see this as an opportunity for America’s farmers and ranchers to have an additional outlet to market their products to consumers.”

Bennett notes that the RAMP UP Act, or the Meat Processors for Upgrading Plants Act, provides grants for custom meat packer to qualify for federal inspection and sell products across state lines. He notes, “The grants are capped at $100,000 dollars per facility. The bill would also require USDA to work with states to improve the existing Cooperative Interstate Shipment Program.”

The other bill is the Direct Interstate Retail Exemption for Certain Transactions Act, or DIRECT Act, which allows state-inspected meat to be sold across state lines through e-commerce. “This would allow small producers and processors more options to directly market their product to consumers. The legislation allows new flexibility without compromising food safety recall ability or jeopardizing any trade market access through the equivalency agreements that we have with various countries,” Bennett States.