U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) and U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK) earlier this week commended action by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to make $55.2 million in competitive grants available through the new Meat and Poultry Inspection Readiness Grant (MPIRG) program.
The MPIRG program, which was created by Sen. Moran’s bipartisan Requiring Assistance to Meat Processors for Upgrading Plants (RAMP-UP) Act, is now accepting applications to help small and mid-sized meat processors increase market opportunities by making necessary investments to become federally inspected. Currently, meatpacking facilities can only make sales across state lines if they are federally inspected.
“I’m pleased to see the RAMP-UP Act become a reality, giving meat processing facilities the tools they need to increase their market opportunities while strengthening our food supply chain for consumers,” Sen. Moran said. “I encourage meat and poultry processing facilities in Kansas and across the country that qualify to utilize this program to meet the standards necessary to sell their products across state lines.”
Rep. Lucas pointed out that during the past year, America’s meat producers and processors have faced unprecedented market challenges.
“At a time when producers are experiencing increased demand for high-quality meat, meat processors across the United States are racing to increase their capacity to meet the demands of Rand producers,” said Rep. Lucas. “USDA’s new [MPIRG] program will give processors the tools to become federally inspected facilities, which widens their customer base while maintaining strong inspection standards.”
At the same time, said the congressman, the MPIRG program will lessen the financial burden for smaller meat processors by reducing the high cost of compliance with federal requirements that pose barriers to market entry.
“I’m proud to see this program being implemented to expand the opportunities for not only Oklahoma’s processing facilities, but meat processors across the United States,” said Rep. Lucas.