The Butcher Block Act is introduced
By: Sydney Sheffield
The Butcher Block Act was recently introduced into the Senate by Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) to increase competition and capacity in the meat processing industry. The Butcher Block Act would create grant and loan opportunities through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to enable small and mid-sized meat processing facilities to expand their operations. The Butcher Block Act was also introduced into the House of Representatives by Dusty Johnson (R-ND) and Abigail Spanberger (D-VA).
“High prices don’t just drive up price tags at the grocery store, but also result in higher input costs for ranchers and meat processors,” said Senator Moran. “Providing resources to allow smaller processors to upgrade and expand their operations will make it easier for ranchers to bring their cattle to market. This legislation will help eliminate waste, support small businesses, and provide consumers with more affordable options at the grocery store.”
The Butcher Block Act would improve competition and capacity in rural areas by authorizing USDA loans and loan guarantees to increase and modernize small and medium meat processing and rendering facilities. It would also include eligibility for cooperatives that are producer-owned and eligible for refinancing.
A new USDA grant program to expand, diversify, and increase resilience in meat processing and rendering facilities would be created as well. The act will help facilities receive technical assistance to manage and train a new workforce and help small and medium-sized facilities achieve compliance with state and federal regulations. Lastly, The Butcher Block Act would develop new innovative or mobile facilities to improve local and regional access to processing and rendering services.
The Butcher Block Act is supported by the Colorado Wool Growers, the American Sheep Industry Association, the North American Renderers Association, the National Bison Association, and the U.S. Cattlemen’ Association (USCA).
“The North American Renderers Association welcomes today’s introduction of the Butcher Block Act,” said Kent Swisher, President and CEO, of the North American Renderers Association. “While Congress and the Administration have previously provided funding and support for the expansion of our country’s meat and poultry processing capacity, this bill is the first of its kind that acknowledges the critical role of rendering as the safe and sustainable method of upcycling the parts of the animal and birds that are not consumed by humans. We thank Senators Moran and Bennet for recognizing that expanding meat processing capacity in the U.S. also requires expanding our country’s rendering capacity in order to safely and hygienically process the meat we don’t eat, reducing food waste, so it doesn’t end up in our landfills and waterways.”
Read The Butcher Block Act here.