RMFU lends support to RAMP UP Act
Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU), a general family farm and ranch organization representing 20,000 members across Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico, has come out in support of the latest, bipartisan, federal legislation that addresses many of the issues facing small and mid-sized meat processing plants across the U.S.
The bill, known as the Requiring Assistance to Meat Processors for Upgrading Plants (RAMP-UP) Act, authorizes USDA to make 1:1 matching grants of up to $100,000 to existing custom exempt and state inspected meat and poultry processing facilities. These grants are for the purposes of reducing the burdens associated with attaining federal inspection without lowering food safety standards. The grants can be used for planning and making any required capital improvements associated with attaining federal inspection.
Given the current disruption in meat and poultry supply chains, the matching funds requirement is waived for FY20 and FY21. A total of $80 million in mandatory money is provided for the remainder of 2020 through 2023 and an additional $20 million/year in discretionary funding is authorized should more funds be necessary. The program is authorized through 2023 to match up with Farm Bill discussions. The bill also requires USDA to work with states to determine what improvements to the Cooperative Interstate Shipment program should be made, with the goal of having this report in advance of the next Farm Bill discussions.
“Just 50 meat plants process 98 percent of meat in the United States. This level of consolidation makes the industry particularly vulnerable to disruptions – a fact that has become evident recently,” said RMFU President Dr. Dale McCall. “When COVID-19 outbreaks among workers forced several plants to temporarily slow or halt production, the entire meat supply chain backed up. As a result, farmers were left with nowhere to sell their animals, and consumers saw higher prices and meat shortages at their grocery stores.”
McCall added, “We urge our legislators from Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico to join in co-sponsoring and supporting the RAMP UP Act when they return to D.C. next week.”
More information about the RAMP UP Act can be found at the following link: https://agriculture.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx…
Rocky Mountain Farmers Union is a progressive, grassroots organization founded in 1907. RMFU represents family farmers and ranchers in Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico. RMFU is dedicated to sustaining our rural communities, to wise stewardship and use of natural resources, and to the protection of our safe, secure food supply. RMFU supports its goals through education and legislation, as well as by encouraging the cooperative model for mutual economic benefit. Learn more and become an RMFU member online at https://www.rmfu.org/