Prime Act / Farm Bill

Congress will soon be considering the Farm Bill, so it’s time to tell your Representative to support common-sense regulations for local meat production!

High-quality local meat can be hard to find, and one of the main reasons is the shortage of inspected slaughterhouses that are accessible to small farmers in many parts of the country. Farmers often have to haul their animals several hours, increasing expenses for the farmer, driving prices up for consumers, and creating stress on the animals.

Why is there this shortage? Because federal regulations take a one-size-fits-all approach that impose unnecessary burdens and expenses on small-scale processors, driving them out of business. Whether the inspectors are from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) or the state agency, they have to apply the same standards under the current law.

There are “custom” slaughterhouses, for which states can set their own standards. But under current law, meat from a custom facility cannot be sold. Instead, it can only go to the individual(s) who own the animal at the time the slaughter takes place. This means that the customer(s) must buy the whole animal while it is still alive, effectively purchasing hundreds of pounds of meat without knowing the final weight or the price per pound. This is not feasible for most farmers or consumers!

One solution is to include H.R. 2657, the Processing Revival and Intrastate Meat Exemption (PRIME) Act, in the Farm Bill. The PRIME Act would enable states to set their own health and safety standards for the sale of custom-processed meat within the state. Many farmers already have a custom slaughterhouse much closer than a federal or state-inspected facility.

The PRIME Act would allow individual states to permit intra-state distribution of custom-slaughtered beef, pork, lamb, and goat to individual consumers, restaurants, hotels, and grocery stores. Passage of the PRIME Act would support small farmers, their animals, and improve consumer access to locally raised meats.

The PRIME Act would allow each state to set the requirements and limitations on the custom slaughterhouses that it considers appropriate. It would NOT dictate the actions that each state should take.

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