Pingree, Baird, Thune, Brown reintroduce small meat, poultry processing bill
|Reps. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, and Jim Baird, R-Ind., and Sens. John Thune, R-S.D., and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, today announced plans to reintroduce the Strengthening Local Processing Act.|
Pingree said the bill “would create a competitive grant program for small and very small establishments, state-inspected facilities, custom exempt facilities, or new small-scale slaughter facilities to help increase processing capacity and grow resiliency. It would also create two new grant programs for meat processing workforce training – one for colleges, universities, nonprofits, worker training centers, and others to establish or expand meat processing training program and one for small and very small establishments or nongovernmental organizations to offset the cost of training new meat processors.
“One of the top concerns I hear about from livestock producers in my district is how difficult it is to access USDA processing facilities. Their livelihoods depend on having somewhere to take their animals, but under the current system, their options are severely limited. Chefs, retailers, and consumers want to buy locally raised meat, and they’re frustrated by how difficult it’s become to get it,” said Pingree. “My Strengthening Local Processing Act will increase processing, enhance opportunities for local producers, and help small slaughterhouses and butchers grow their businesses — delivering the quality, locally raised meat and poultry consumers expect at the store.”
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition said it and the National Farmers Union, the Association of American Meat Processors, the Niche Meat Processors Assistance Network, the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association, the American Grassfed Association, the National Bison Association and the American Pastured Poultry Producers Association have all endorsed the bill.