WASHINGTON – The American Association of Meat Processors (AAMP) recently announced support for the federal legislation named the Strengthening Local Processing Act.

Each piece of legislation, H.R. 8431 and S. 5066, would provide funding for small slaughter and processing operations to grow and expand.

The bills, which are in both houses of Congress, are sponsored by Representatives Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) and Senators John Thune (R- SD) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.). The senate bill was introduced in December 2020.

“This act will be a game-changer for small processors,” said Chris Young executive director of AAMP. “The events of 2020 and the response of small processors have highlighted the need to increase capacity in our industry and to provide help to processors who are vital to their local communities.”

Other parts of the bill include an FSIS searchable database of HACCP plans and supporting documentation to be used by small processors.

Next, expanded funds for state meat inspection programs and FSIS outreach will go to states for an expanded Cooperative Interstate Shipment (CIS) agreement.

Another step in the act would be a GRANT Program that would make $25 million a year available to small processors for expansions. Processors could receive between $100,000 and $500,000. The money would be available to all processors: federally inspected, state inspected and exempt plants.

Finally, the proposed bill allocated $10 million for training, education and technical assistance.

“The association has called upon its members and industry affiliates to contact their local US representatives and senators and ask them to support the bill,” Young said. “I don’t know of a time when we have had legislation that was so favorable for small processors. We ask that all small processors help get the word out on the bill and let Congress know how much this is needed.”

Recent campaigns for state bills regarding interstate meat commerce have been introduced in South Dakota and Montana.