$60 Million To Help Expand Small Meat Processors Included In New Coronavirus Aid Bill
The new $900 billion coronavirus relief bill recently passed by Congress includes $60 million of grants for small meat processors to update and expand their facilities.
Up to $200,000 in grants can be used to update or expand a small processing facility to meet U.S. Department of Agriculture inspection standards. Updating to federal inspection standards would mean the meat could be sold across state lines.
The inclusion is a modified version of the Requiring Assistance to Meat Processors for Upgrading Plants Act, or RAMP-UP Act. The original bill was introduced by a bipartisan group of lawmakers including Frank Lucas (R-OK), Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and Collin Peterson (D-MN).
The bill was introduced as large meatpacking plants across the country shut down due to outbreaks of COVID-19 among employees, which caused supply chain disruptions for ranchers and consumers.
“The RAMP-UP Act gives small and medium sized processors the tools they need to become federally-inspected facilities, expanding their customer base, while helping meet the demands of consumers,” Lucas said in a statement. “While we’ve come to rely on fewer and larger processors, the RAMP-UP Act will undoubtedly bolster the meat supply chain for producers and consumers alike.”
Scott Blubaugh, the president of the American Farmers & Ranchers / Oklahoma Farmers Union, said the inclusion of the RAMP-UP Act is a step forward in addressing the meat processing issue in the state.
“Small-scale ‘mom and pop’ processing facilities are an integral part of Oklahoma’s and the nation’s meat processing industry,” Blubaugh said in a statement. “This legislation will help break down the barrier to federal inspection and provide small processing facilities access to additional markets and increased revenues. The RAMP-UP Act is a straight-forward solution to one piece of the multifaceted meat processing issue.”
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