WASHINGTON — Senator John Thune, with the support of several bipartisan colleagues in both chambers of Congress, reintroduced the Strengthening Local Processing Act, legislation that would provide much-needed federal support to small meat and poultry processors and help strengthen their operations. Sen. Mike Rounds co-sponsored the bill.
“The pandemic highlighted significant vulnerabilities in our nation’s food supply chain, especially when it comes to meat processing capacity,” said Thune. “South Dakota’s producers work hard to raise high-quality livestock, and we need to invest in expanding processing capacity to help meet consumer demand for their products. I’m proud to team up with Sen. Merkley and Reps. Pingree and Fortenberry on this bipartisan legislation to support to America’s small meat and poultry processors and help strengthen and streamline their operations.”
The bill would give small food processors greater access to critical food safety information, allow for inspector-approved meats to be sold across state lines, and provide federal funds for training, education, and technical assistance grants.
“Cattle producers have been hit hard by the markets largely controlled by the big four meat packing oligarchs,” James Halverson, executive director of the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association. “The South Dakota Stockgrowers Association appreciates this common-sense legislation to bolster local processing within our industry. Empty meat counters during the COVID-19 pandemic simply highlighted the gaping hole in our production system that needs attention. We hope this legislation can move forward with bipartisan support for the betterment of American producers and consumers alike.”
Full text of the legislation is available online here.