WASHINGTON – House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson of Minnesota and former Chairman Frank Lucas of Oklahoma, joined eight other Representatives in introducing the Requiring Assistance to Meat Processors for Upgrading Plants (RAMP-UP) Act last week.
This legislation would establish a program to make facility upgrade and planning grants to existing meat and poultry processors to help them move to Federal Inspection and be able to sell their products across state lines. The legislation will also require USDA to work with States and report on ways to improve the existing Cooperative Interstate Shipment program.
“We have seen the importance of having meat and poultry processors of all sizes in Minnesota and across the country over the past few months,” said Chairman Peterson. “The RAMP-UP Act will provide grants to help these rural small businesses meet that demand, wherever their customers live.”
“Over the past several decades, we have come to rely on fewer and larger facilities to process all of our meat,” said National Farmers Union President Rob Larew. “This system, though efficient, is particularly vulnerable to disruptions – a fact that has become impossible to ignore as coronavirus outbreaks at just a handful of plants have backed up the entire supply chain. Small and medium sized plants can ensure greater resilience and food security in times of crisis, as well as flexibility in marketing for farmers and ranchers. By helping meat processing plants cover the often prohibitive cost of federal inspections, the RAMP UP Act will bolster a strong and reliable meat supply chain for farmers and consumers alike.”
“As Congress looks at ways to make our food system more resilient for farmers and ranchers and for consumers, the American Farm Bureau Federation appreciates Chairman Peterson and Reps. Lucas and Fortenberry and others for introducing this bill to increase meat and poultry processing capacity,” said American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall. “At the same time as this bill will help more processing facilities attain federal inspection status and ensure producers have a market for their poultry and livestock, it also ensures the safety and abundance of the food supply.
“For America’s sheep producers, finding new markets and meeting demand for lamb is critical to our ability to thrive in a quickly changing environment,” said American Sheep Industry Association President Benny Cox. “Chairman Peterson and Rep. Lucas’s legislation is tremendously welcome to help break down barriers for smaller processors to compete nationwide. These grants will ensure our local establishments can meet our stringent food safety inspection system requirements and open a world of opportunity for sheep producers.”
House Agriculture Committee
Northern Ag Network