Luján, Ernst Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Bolster Local Meat Processing Capacity, Support Local Producers
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), members of the Senate Agriculture Committee, introduced the bipartisan Expanding Local Meat Processing Act to remove regulatory roadblocks to increase meat processing capacity and allow livestock auction market owners to invest in small and regional packing facilities. U.S. Representatives Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) and Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.) introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House.
This legislation directs the Secretary of Agriculture to amend the Packers and Stockyards Act to allow livestock auction market owners to hold ownership in, finance, or participate in the management or operation of a meat packing entity with a cumulative slaughter capacity of less than 2,000 animals per day or 700,000 animals per year. This cap would exclude investment in the top 10 meat packers.
Livestock auction markets, called marketing agencies selling on commission, are not currently able to own or invest, or participate in the management or operation of a packing plant or meat marketing business due to a Packers and Stockyards Act regulation. This legislation is essential in removing this unnecessary barrier in the cattle industry.
“Lowering costs for New Mexicans and increasing competitiveness for local producers will support local economies and livelihoods – especially in our rural communities,” said Luján. “I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation to remove outdated regulations that hinder producers’ ability to increase livestock processing capacity. This is a priority that I will continue to advocate for in the upcoming Farm Bill.
“Congress and the cattle industry agree there is a need to increase the U.S. beef packing capacity and to add more competitors to the marketplace,” said Charlie Rogers, owner of Clovis Livestock Auction. “We greatly appreciate Senator Luján introducing this bill to remove an outdated regulatory barrier and allow local livestock auction owners to be part of the solution investing in new local and regional packing capacity.”
Full text of the legislation is available HERE.