Washington – Wyoming Congresswoman and House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney issued the following statement after introducing H.R. 1998, The Expanding Markets for State-Inspected Meat Processors Act of 2021, legislation allowing state-inspected meat to be sold across state lines. 

“The economic ramifications of COVID-19 resulted in processing interruptions and decreases in the amount of meat getting to market, leading to shortages across the country. As we recover from the challenges posed by the pandemic, we must be doing everything possible to expand opportunities and open markets that will allow livestock producers to increase their economic activity. These producers play an essential role in powering our state’s economy and providing high-quality food to consumers across the country. Allowing state-inspected meats to be sold across state lines empowers producers to access these new markets while supplying the increasing demand. This legislation will also increase competition and offer more meat choices for American families.”

Representative Cheney introduced similar legislation during the 116th Congress. The text of this bill for this Congress can be found here, and Rep. Carol Miller (R-WV) has signed on as an original co-sponsor of this legislation.

Upon the re-introduction of this legislation for the 117th Congress, Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon issued the following statement: 

“Representative Cheney’s bill would finally acknowledge equity of Wyoming’s state inspection program and federal inspection requirements. Passage of this act would allow our hardworking state inspectors and the Department of Agriculture to better serve our producers and help Wyoming export high-quality products to additional markets. I fully support this concept and appreciate Representative Cheney’s efforts.”

In addition to Governor Gordon, Doug Miyamoto, the Director of the Wyoming Department of Agriculture, also issued a statement about the importance of this proposal: 

“The Wyoming Department of Agriculture, along with many of our counterparts across the nation work very hard to ensure that State Meat Inspection programs achieve status that is ‘equal to’ federal inspection. Passing of this legislation would allow the Wyoming Department of Agriculture to better serve our industry and would allow more opportunities for our ranchers.”

On top of these statements of support from Wyoming leaders, key groups in Wyoming have also endorsed the legislation. Wyoming Stock Growers Association Executive Vice President Jim Magagna issued the following statement about the bill:

“The Wyoming Stock Growers Association thanks Congresswoman Cheney for introducing legislation allowing for interstate sales of state-inspected meat.  Wyoming, until recently, had no federally inspected processing facilities, putting our livestock producers at a clear disadvantage in being unable to process their beef in-state to meet consumer demand in neighboring states and beyond.  This discrimination against state-processed meat has no basis in food safety as our state inspection program is federally approved by the FSIS and must meet all of the same standards as  federal inspection.  The introduction of this bill culminates several years of effort by our organization and the Wyoming Department of Agriculture to secure equitable treatment for our state program.”

And the Wyoming Farm Bureau issued a statement in support of the legislation as well: 

“Wyoming Farm Bureau supports allowing State inspected facilities to sell their products more broadly. Our members support the Food Freedom movement and the marketing of agricultural products directly to consumers, this is a great step towards that. A step that benefits local businesses, consumers and family farmers and ranchers simultaneously.”

BACKGROUND:

The Expanding Markets for State-Inspected Meat Processors Act of 2021, is legislation to allow meat products inspected by state Meat and Poultry Inspection (MPI) programs to be sold across state lines.

Current law prevents state inspected meat from being sold out-of-state. Presently, there are 27 states with inspection programs, Wyoming included, certified by the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS), which meet or exceed federal inspection standards. However, products processed at these FSIS approved state MPI inspected facilities are not currently allowed to be sold across state lines. 

This legislation is supported by the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation, Wyoming Stock Growers Association, Wyoming Department of Agriculture, and R-CALF USA.