Yesterday, U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and John Thune (R-SD), U.S. Reps. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) and Jim Baird (R-IN), and members of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry and the House Agriculture Committee reintroduced the Strengthening Local Processing Act. The bipartisan legislation would support small meat and poultry processors, helping them streamline and strengthen their operations. This legislation is endorsed by the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA).
The bill would provide small meat processors with access to critical information regarding food safety planning. This would enable more inspector-approved meat products to be sold across state lines, and channel federal dollars towards education, training, and technical assistance grants.
With Ohio being sixth in the nation for the number of organic farms, and second in the number of operations transitioning to organic, this support for processing infrastructure would be welcomed by meat and poultry producers—particularly those limited by the current landscape of just two certified organic processing facilities, one for large animals and one for poultry.
In strong support of Senator Brown’s leadership on the Strengthening Local Processing Act, Amalie Lipstreu, OEFFA policy director, said that “decentralized meat processing has long been an untapped opportunity for strengthening local and regional food systems, fostering economic opportunities for farmers and processors, and providing healthy, pastured meats to our communities.”
The act also has the potential to support better animal welfare by reducing travel time to processing facilities, making it more feasible for organic and sustainable farmers striving for their animals to have just “one bad day.”
Learn more about how OEFFA is advocating for fairer, more sustainable farm and food systems at action.oeffa.com/farm-bill.