What They Are Saying About the RAMP-UP Act

Jul 06, 2020
Agriculture
Press

Cheyenne, OK – Last Thursday, Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03) and Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson introduced the RAMP-UP Act, a bill that would establish a program to make facility upgrades and planning grants to existing meat and poultry processors to help them move to Federal Inspection and be able to sell their products across state lines. Here’s what stakeholders had to say about the bill:

Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture Blayne Arthur:

“The livestock and processing sectors faced severe impacts amidst the COVID-19 outbreak. The RAMP-UP Act addresses some of the most urgent needs, and I am grateful that it reflects the feedback I heard from state agricultural leaders across the country. Now is the time to act swiftly on the evolution of the processing industry.”

Minnesota Commissioner of Agriculture Thom Peterson:

“I thank Chairman Peterson and all the co-sponsors of the RAMP-UP Act for recognizing a critical and timely need to expand meat processing capacity across the country. Minnesota livestock producers have seen the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, and they are counting on new approaches like this to accelerate the recovery of this critical industry.”

Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association, Executive Vice President Michael Kelsey:

“OCA is strongly supportive of enhancing local, state and regional beef packing and processing plants to bring more opportunities for beef cattle ranchers to market their cattle.  Our joint task force with the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry (ODAFF) identified early on the challenges that many smaller plants have in becoming federally inspected.  The RAMP-UP Act will provide much needed grant funding to local Oklahoma beef processing facilities assisting them to become federally inspected.  We thank Congressman Lucas for introducing this important legislation!”

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Vice President Don Schiefelbein:

The COVID-19 pandemic caused unprecedented disruptions to beef processing which were devastating to cattle producers. The RAMP UP Act addresses these supply chain issues by ensuring cattle ranchers and farmers have robust access to new markets regardless of where their livestock is processed. We’re grateful to Chairman Peterson and Rep. Lucas for their leadership and attention to this critical issue.”

Oklahoma Farm Bureau, President Rodd Moesel:

“Over the past few months, the coronavirus pandemic has revealed both the significance and limitations of existing processing facilities that help transform our high-quality livestock and poultry from the farm into products at the grocery store. Oklahoma Farm Bureau is grateful to Rep. Frank Lucas for his efforts on the RAMP-UP Act. By opening the door for more processing facilities to receive federal inspection status, the legislation will help ensure a market for our producers’ meat and poultry products and secure a safe and stable food supply for consumers.”

American Farm Bureau Federation, President Zippy Duvall:

“As Congress looks at ways to make our food system more resilient for farmers and ranchers and for consumers, the American Farm Bureau Federation appreciates Chairman Peterson and Reps. Lucas and Fortenberry and others for introducing this bill to increase meat and poultry processing capacity. At the same time as this bill will help more processing facilities attain federal inspection status and ensure producers have a market for their poultry and livestock, it also ensures the safety and abundance of the food supply.”

AFR/Oklahoma Farmers Union Cooperative, President Scott Blubaugh:

“I am thrilled to see the RAMP-UP Act introduced to Congress. Small-scale ‘mom and pop’ processing facilities are an integral part of Oklahoma’s and the nation’s meat processing industry. Unfortunately, these smaller facilities often can’t afford to upgrade to federal inspection. This legislation will help break down that barrier and provide small processing facilities access to additional markets and increased revenues. The RAMP-UP Act is an excellent solution to one piece of the multi-faceted meat processing issue. America’s meat production and processing industries are in dire need of repair and it’s going to take true bipartisanship to accomplish the change we need. I’m encouraged to see both Frank Lucas and Collin Peterson taking leading roles. The current state of our meat supply chain is not only a national security issue, but also a fairness issue. Cooperation is the only way to bring increased security, fairness, and ultimately relief to our nation’s farmers, ranchers and consumers.”

National Farmers Union, President Rob Larew:

“Over the past several decades, we have come to rely on fewer and larger facilities to process all of our meat. This system, though efficient, is particularly vulnerable to disruptions – a fact that has become impossible to ignore as coronavirus outbreaks at just a handful of plants have backed up the entire supply chain. Small and medium sized plants can ensure greater resilience and food security in times of crisis, as well as flexibility in marketing for farmers and ranchers. By helping meat processing plants cover the often prohibitive cost of federal inspections, the RAMP UP Act will bolster a strong and reliable meat supply chain for farmers and consumers alike.”

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