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Agricultural News


Congressman Frank Lucas Pleased that His Ramp Up Plan Finally Has Money to Invest Into Small Meat Processors

Thu, 24 Jun 2021 15:34:47 EDT

Congressman Frank Lucas Pleased that His Ramp Up Plan Finally Has Money to Invest Into Small Meat Processors It has been almost a year- but Oklahoma Congressman Frank Lucas is very pleased that there are finally dollars available for a program that he helped propose in July of last year, the Ramp Up Act, as it became clear during the Pandemic that small meat processors were needed to improve the resilence of the meat supply chain. Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced $55.2 million in competitive grant funding available through the new Meat and Poultry Inspection Readiness Grant (MPIRG) program. The new program is funded by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 that was approved by Congress last December and signed into law by then President Donald Trump.


“We are building capacity and increasing economic opportunity for small and midsized meat and poultry processors and producers across the country.” Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “Through MPIRG, meat and poultry slaughter and processing facilities can cover the costs for necessary improvements to achieve a Federal Grant of Inspection under the Federal Meat Inspection Act or the Poultry Products Inspection Act, or to operate under a state’s Cooperative Interstate Shipment program.”


The Ramp Up language was a part of the Appropriations bill that was called the COVID-19 Relief Act before the change of Administrations. On the inclusion of the RAMP-UP Act in the COVID-19 relief package, Congressman Frank Lucas stated, “I’m happy to see the RAMP-UP Act was included in the COVID stimulus package. Beginning in the Spring, the coronavirus pandemic revealed both the significance and the vulnerabilities of our nation’s food supply chain. The RAMP-UP Act gives small and medium sized processors the tools they need to become federally inspected facilities, expanding their customer base, while helping meet the demands of consumers. While we’ve come to rely on fewer and larger processors, the RAMP-UP Act will undoubtedly bolster the meat supply chain for producers and consumers alike.”


Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays talked with Congressman Lucas on Thursday about the $55.2 million dollar announcement made by Secretary Vilsack this week- and the Congressman was pleased- "Absolutely Ron, you know that this is one of those things that I spearheaded last fall that we actually got included in the end of the year appropriations bill" adding up to $200,000 per grant will be offered forthose that apply by August 2, 2021.


The work on the Ramp Up Act was first reported last July- click here for the story- and Congressman Lucas said at the time-“Right now, America’s meat producers and processors are facing unprecedented market challenges. At a time when producers are experiencing increased demand for high-quality meat, meat processors across the United States are racing to increase their capacity to meet the demands of consumers and producers. The RAMP-UP Act gives processors the tools to become federally inspected facilities, which widens their customer base while maintaining strong inspection standards. I’m proud to join my friend and Agriculture Committee Chairman, Congressman Collin Peterson in expanding the opportunities for not only Oklahoma’s processing facilities but meat processors across the United States.”


You can hear the full conversation with Congressman Lucas on this assistance program that is finally happening- and where we are on getting a report from the Department of Justice on their investigation into the Big Four meat packers- click on the LISTEN BAR below.



   
   

Ron Hays talks with Frank Lucas about the $55.2 Million for Ramp Up Now Available
right-click to download mp3

 

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