A bipartisan bill is set for discussion on Tuesday in the North Carolina state legislature that would provide $25 million in federal CARES Act funding to increase production at smaller meat processors and help independent livestock producers.
House Bill 1201, also known as the Local Meat Processors Grant Program, is scheduled to be heard for the first time at 3 p.m. Tuesday in the House Agriculture committee. The bill is co-sponsored by GOP Reps. Jeffery Elmore and Julia Howard.
According to the Winston-Salem Journal, the impetus behind the bill is that the COVID-19 pandemic has created serious and substantial impacts on the food supply chain and funding is “necessary in order to reduce disruptions in the supply chain for fresh meat, and to help small producers get their product to market.”
The $25 million would support facility expansion, fixtures, on-site job training or equipment that will expand animal throughput, processing capacity, the amount or type of products produced, or processing speed.
The bill states that grant eligibility will be limited to meat processing plants that contract with independent livestock producers to process animals owned by the producers and plants where the USDA contracts with the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services inspectors to conduct federal inspection activities authorized by the Talmadge-Aiken Act of 1962 (7 U.S.C. § 1633) at the plant, or the plant is a State-inspected facility.
If the bill passes, funds would be distributed by Oct. 1, 2020.
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