Two new bills seek to fix local beef supply chain woes

Two new bills in Congress seek to help local producers with processing woes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. {File Photo}

Congress introduced two bills this week intended to help local beef producers avoid losses during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Direct Interstate Retail Exemption for Certain Transactions (DIRECT) Act of 2020 introduced by Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas and Rep. Dusty Johnson of South Dakota would allow meat processed at state-inspected facilities to be sold directly to consumers across state lines through e-commerce.

A second bill, the Requiring Assistance to Meat Processors for Upgrading Plants (RAMP UP) Act, would provide federal grants for existing meat processors to move from state to federal inspection, which will similarly allow for increased interstate meat sales.

Currently in Tennessee, in order to sell beef to the public, Moore County beef must first be processed by a USDA-approved company. Many of those processors have been offline due to COVID-19 and those that are online are getting inundated with product. That bottleneck is responsible for the recent spike in beef prices.

These two bills seek to resolve the supply chain woes by allowing smaller, state meat processors to help ramp up production of beef during the most desirable window for the best beef – when the cattle weighs around 1,200 pounds. They also seek to allow producers to sell their products directly to consumers online and across state lines.

To voice you opinion for or against these bills, contact Moore County’s representatives in Congress: Representative Scott Desjarlais, Senator Lamar Alexander, or Senator Marsha Blackburn. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Moore County … covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, the Lynchburg Music Fest, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

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