House bill would help meat processors boost facilities, get USDA certification

Ten members of the U.S. House filed a bipartisan bill to provide grants to poultry and red meat processors that want to improve their facilities so they can move to federal inspection and sell their products across state lines. Sponsors include leaders of the House Agriculture Committee and the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees USDA spending.

Sponsors said the bill would provide new outlets for meat and lessen the impact of coronavirus outbreaks in packing plants. It also would reduce the current backlog of livestock on the farm due to slowdowns and shutdowns at packing plants in April and May, they said.

“This legislation reduces the burdens associated with attaining federal inspection without jeopardizing food safety standards,” said Georgia Rep. Sanford Bishop, who chairs the Appropriations subcommittee on agriculture.

Supporting the bill, which uses the acronym RAMP-UP, were the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, the two largest U.S. farm groups, and associations speaking for cattle, sheep and hog farmers.