FORT WORTH, Texas — Robert E. McKnight, Jr., president of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, applauded the introduction of two bills that will expand the options available to meat processors and increase the availability of beef to consumers.
The Direct Interstate Retail Exemption for Certain Transactions (DIRECT) Act of 2020 introduced by Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas and Rep. Dusty Johnson of South Dakota would allow meat processed at state-inspected facilities to be sold directly to consumers across state lines through e-commerce.
The Requiring Assistance to Meat Processors for Upgrading Plants (RAMP UP) Act, would provide federal grants for existing meat processors to move from state to federal inspection, which will similarly allow for increased interstate meat sales.
“The supply chain challenges brought about by COVID-19 left many consumers hungry for beef they could not find. Despite the retail demand, cattle producers could not sell their cattle because of the reduced processing capacity. Although temporary, the slowdowns at major beef packers highlighted the need for additional capacity and regulatory flexibility at smaller meat processors.
“On behalf of beef producers and consumers across the nation, I applaud Congress for acting quickly to ensure we have the tools necessary to weather any future crisis we may face. Most importantly, both the DIRECT and RAMP UP Acts expand options without compromising the strict safety standards we expect.
“The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association is grateful to the broad, bipartisan coalition of lawmakers who introduced the bills, and would like especially thank Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas and Rep. Frank Lucas of Oklahoma for their steadfast support of American ranchers.”