A bill proposed in the House of Representatives called the RAMP-UP Act is designed to help meat processors meet the current demand by providing access to inspections and federal certification. The bill, if passed, will create a program to upgrade facilities and provide planning grants so meatpacking companies can pass federal inspections and begin selling products across state lines.
“Right now, America’s meat producers and processors are facing unprecedented market challenges. At a time when producers are experiencing increased demand for high-quality meat, meat processors across the United States are racing to increase their capacity to meet the demands of consumers and producers,” said Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla). “The RAMP-UP Act gives processors the tools to become federally inspected facilities, which widens their customer base while maintaining strong inspection standards.”
RAMP-UP, or the Requiring Assistance to Meat Processors for Upgrading Plants Act, is meant to help bolster the supply chain, aiding smaller meatpacking plants to grow and fill demand. It adds a section to the Agriculture Marketing Act relating to interstate shipment.
The bill would provide $80 million in direct funding and $20 million annually to allow the Secretary of Agriculture to grant up to $100,000 to a meat or poultry packing plant. Recipients will be given 36 months to become a “federally-inspected establishment.” If the company has not by that time it will be required to repay the amount or show it is engaged in obtaining the inspection.
The act was introduced by House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn), former Chairman Frank Lucas, and eight other representatives. “We have seen the importance of having meat and poultry processors of all sizes in Minnesota and across the country over the past few months,” said Rep. Peterson in a press release. “The RAMP-UP Act will provide grants to help these rural small businesses meet that demand, wherever their customers live.”
Multiple national agriculture organizations expressed support for the bill.