New bill would cut red tape for meat sales | TSLN.com

New bill would cut red tape for meat sales

The South Dakota Stockgrowers applaud the introduction of New Markets for State-Inspected Meat and Poultry Act by Sens Mike Rounds (R-SD) and Angus King (I-ME) recently in the 116th U.S. Congress.

This bill would allow meat and poultry that has been inspected by state agencies with equal to or more strict standards as USDA inspection processes to be sold across state lines. Currently there are 27 states with programs certified by the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the USDA, which meet or exceed federal inspection standards. Meat and poultry products currently processed at these plants cannot be sold across state lines.

“South Dakota farmers and ranchers produce some of the highest-quality meat in the nation,” said Senator Rounds. “However, currently cattle sheep, swine, and goat producers are limited to markets within the state even though they are required to go through inspection at an FSIS-approved facility. This makes no sense considering state inspection programs are required to be ‘at least equal to’ or better than federal inspection standards. Our bill would allow these high-quality products that pass state inspection standards to be sold across state lines, opening up new markets for our producers and giving consumers greater choice at the grocery store.”

“We greatly appreciate Senator Rounds’ efforts with this bill,” said Stockgrowers Executive Director James Halverson. “Opening more market options for our producers can only help our industry. This is a great example of how the federal government has expanded its powers beyond what they need to be. Our state inspection programs are often more rigorous that federal standards, yet currently those products are not afforded the same marketing opportunities.”

This bill has received much support from industry organizations. Besides the South Dakota Stockgrowers, The United States Cattlemen’s Association, the South Dakota Farm Bureau, the South Dakota Pork Producers, the South Dakota Meat Inspection Program Director, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, and the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association all support this bill.

Stockgrowers President Gary Deering was on hand in Washington DC when the bill was introduced. “We believe this common-sense legislation will continue to garner bi-partisan support,” he commented. We were very happy to work with Sen. Rounds and his staff on this bill and are excited to help push it across the finish line to become law,” he added.

Cosponsors include: U.S. Sens John Barrasso (R-WY), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Joe Manchin (D-WV), John Thune (R-SD), and John Tester (D-MT)

–South Dakota Stockgrowers Association