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Bill would expand markets for small meatpackers

Sen. Moran Press Release

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) today introduced the Requiring Assistance to Meat Processers 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, increasing their market opportunities and encouraging interstate commerce.

“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,” said Sen. Moran. “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.”

“Our rural economies have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic,” said Sen. Klobuchar. “This legislation is a critical step in helping our small, local meat processors access new markets and reach a wider customer base by selling their products in different states. It will also provide consumers with more choices and farmers with more flexibility when marketing their livestock. Especially in this time of crisis, we must work to support a strong and competitive agricultural supply chain for both producers and consumers.”

Sen. Moran recently introduced the Small Packer Overtime and Holiday Fee Relief COVID-19 Act that would support small, federally-inspected meatpacking plants that are operating longer hours during the COVID-19 pandemic to keep our supply chain moving.

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) and Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.

This bill is cosponsored by Sens. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and James Lankford (R-Okla.)