WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) today introduced the Requiring Assistance to Meat Processers for Upgrading Plants (RAMP-UP) Act. This legislation would provide grants to meat processors to make improvements necessary to expand their markets.

Currently, meatpacking facilities can only make sales across state lines if they are federally inspected. Facilities that are state inspected can only sell their products within the state they are located, and custom-exempt processors can only process livestock for the exclusive use of the livestock owner. This legislation would provide grants to meatpacking plants for planning activities, facility upgrades and other necessary improvements to meet the standards necessary for federal inspections, increasing their market opportunities and encouraging interstate commerce.

“Our rural economies have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic,” Klobuchar said. “This legislation is a critical step in helping our small, local meat processors access new markets and reach a wider customer base by selling their products in different states. It will also provide consumers with more choices and farmers with more flexibility when marketing their livestock. Especially in this time of crisis, we must work to support a strong and competitive agricultural supply chain for both producers and consumers.”

“The importance of meatpacking facilities in Kansas has been especially clear during this pandemic as they work to meet a growing, nationwide demand for quality meat,” Moran said. “The RAMP-UP Act provides small packers with the tools they need to meet federal standards in order to expand their customer base. By increasing small packer capacity and production, this legislation will strengthen the food supply chain for consumers and give cattle producers in Kansas more options to market their livestock.”

In April, Senator Klobuchar and Mike Lee (R-UT) wrote a letter to the Justice Department, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), calling on the agencies to identify problems and implement appropriate solutions to help ensure that our country’s food markets work for consumers, as well as our farmers, ranchers, and packers.

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN) and Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK) introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.