House bill aims for more local meat production

Backers said there was little chance of the Pingree-Fortenberry bill becoming law on its own in the few weeks left on the congressional calendar.

Small livestock producers often face the problem of finding a meat processor who is located nearby or with the available capacity when their animals are ready for slaughter. Reps Chellie Pingree and Jeff Fortenberry said the bottleneck would be eased under their bill, filed on Tuesday, that increases funding for state meat inspection programs and offers grants so small plants can expand their facilities.

“In a previous time, we had more local meat processing,” said Fortenberry, Nebraska Republican, referring to concentration in the meatpacking industry. “This bill helps stimulate a return to that previous model, creating a robust market in local economies, linking the farm to the family.” Pingree, a Democrat, said the bill means more red meat and poultry production in her home state of Maine and “support for Maine’s small slaughterhouses and butchers.”

Backers said there was little chance of the Pingree-Fortenberry bill becoming law on its own in the few weeks left on the congressional calendar. But it might be included in comprehensive coronavirus legislation, if there is House-Senate agreement.

The Pingree-Fortenberry bill would increase the federal share of funding for state meat inspectors, who usually are responsible for meat safety at small processing plants; create competitive grants to small-scale facilities for activities related to coronavirus recovery; set up a $10 million grant program for training programs at colleges; and a $10 million grant program for small operations to offset the cost of training new meat processors.

Reps Chellie Pingree and Jeff Fortenberry said the bottleneck would be eased under their bill, filed on Tuesday, that increases funding for state meat inspection programs and offers grants so small plants can expand their facilities.

Produced with FERN, non-profit reporting on food, agriculture, and environmental health.

Read more about

Tip of the Day

New storage in small grain bin

Grain bin repurpose April 2020 My small grain bins are too small to store grain in, but they are the perfect place to keep tires, rarely used parts, and other items that... read more

Talk in Marketing

Most Recent Poll

What are the benefits to using a farmland leasing/purchasing tool?