Luján, Ernst Reintroduce Bipartisan Legislation To Bolster Local Meat Processing Capacity and Support Local Producers
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), members of the Senate Agriculture Committee, reintroduced 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 Mark Alford (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 cumulative slaughter capacity caps in place that exclude investment in the top 10 largest meat packers.
Due to an outdated regulation, livestock auction markets are not currently able to own or invest in the management or operation of a packing plant or meat marketing business. Livestock auctions are a critical component of the beef supply chain, moving cattle transparently between segments as they head toward consumers’ plates. This legislation recognizes the role that livestock auctions play and is essential in removing this unnecessary barrier in the cattle industry in order to expand local meat processing capacity.
“I’m proud to reintroduce the Expanding Local Meat Processing Act to help lower costs and increase competitiveness for New Mexico’s local producers,” said Senator Luján. “As negotiations for the Farm Bill progress, this bipartisan legislation will be one of my top priorities because it removes outdated regulations that hinder producers’ ability to increase livestock processing capacity. This change will go a long way towards supporting local economies and livelihoods – especially those in our rural communities.”
“Our farmers and producers are ready to fill market demands, but right now red tape stands in their way. By getting rid of burdensome regulations, this legislation offers flexibility, allowing livestock auction owners to invest in local and regional meat packers to expedite the safe processing of meat, increase industry competition, and, ultimately, lower costs at the meat counter,” said Senator Ernst.
Full text of the bill is available HERE.