Representatives Chellie Pingree of Maine and Jim Baird of Indiana, along with Senators John Thune of South Dakota and Sherrod Brown of Ohio, plan to reintroduce legislation to support small meat and poultry processors.
The “Strengthening Local Processors Act” will diversify and make U.S. meat processing more resilient by giving local livestock producers more options. “One of the top concerns from livestock producers is difficulty in accessing USDA processing facilities,” Pingree says. “Their livelihoods depend on having somewhere to take their animals, but their options are severely limited in the current system.”
The legislation would create a competitive grant program for small and very small establishments, state-inspected facilities, custom-exempt facilities, or new small-scale slaughter facilities to help increase processing capacity and grow resiliency. It will also create two new grant programs for meat processing workforce training. “This legislation will bolster local production and provide education and training,” Brown says.