Stories / Impact

Could This New Bill Help Prevent Meat Shortages?

The PRIME Act wants to give you access to more local meat

Maggie Borden

July 21, 2020


Cow in Pescadero field photo by Clay Williams
Photo: Clay Williams

For the past few months, we've been hosting webinars as part of our Industry Support learning series. Topics have ranged from deciphering government relief options, exploring the impact of COVID-19 on the food supply chain, to writing your first cookbook, and more. Earlier this month we gathered policy makers, chefs, and butchers for a conversation on the PRIME Act, a piece of legislation geared towards offering relief for farmers, ranchers, and diners by expanding access to local meat. Read on for a breakdown of the bill's proposals.

What is the PRIME Act?

  • The Processing Revival and Intrastate Meat Exemption (PRIME) Act allows individual states to set the regulations for intrastate (a.k.a. within state borders) retail sales of meat (not including poultry).
  • Current regulations require slaughter at a USDA- or state-inspected plant for retail sale, but the PRIME Act would allow for meat slaughtered at Custom Exempt facilities to be sold under certain conditions: meat that is slaughtered and prepared at a custom facility in accordance with the laws of the state where the facility is located; and is prepared exclusively for distribution to household consumers in the state or restaurants, hotels, boarding houses, grocery stores, or other establishments in the state that either serve meals directly to consumers or offer meat and food products for sale directly to consumers in the state.

How does the PRIME Act help farmers and ranchers?

  • In many states, small to mid-sized farmers and ranchers have limited access to USDA- or state-regulated slaughter facilities, meaning they may have to drive for hours to have their animals processed. The PRIME Act eases farmers’ processing struggles by providing a greater number of facilities managed under state oversight and regulatory authority, reducing travel time and overhead cost.
  • The bill also gives small and marginalized farms greater access to market share.

How does the PRIME Act help chefs and consumers?

  • The PRIME Act provides consumers with access to meat that is fresher and has a smaller carbon footprint. Those sales go back to small local farmers and businesses.
  • The Act gives chefs more access to local meat and more opportunities to develop relationships with local farmers.

Watch the full webinar for more information on the PRIME Act and how you can support it.

PRIME Act information provided by the office of Representative Chellie Pingree.

Check out what's on-deck for our webinar series and find past recordings here. 

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