Meat packing industry - Food industry
“While the best solution to this problem is to get meat and pork processing facilities back up and running at capacity, we have state-based solutions to help offset the problem," stated lawmakers backing new legislation. Photo: Lance Cheung // USDA

JACKSON, Wyo. — U.S. Senators Mike Enzi and John Barrasso, both R-Wyo., sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., urging them to pass the New Markets for State-Inspected Meat and Poultry Act as part of the federal government’s COVID-19 response efforts. The legislation would allow local meat and poultry products to be sold across state lines.

“As of Friday, May 2, 2020, beef processing was down 26 percent for year-over-year and beef production was down 24 percent from the four weeks prior. This loss in processing has resulted in a reduction of 507 million pounds of beef and created a backlog of 667,000 cattle waiting to be processed. The pork and poultry industries are facing similar backlogs resulting in protein shortages nationwide,” the senators wrote in the letter.

Sen. Enzi, along with Sen. Barrasso, is a cosponsor of the bill which lawmakers call a state-based solution to help offset the problem of backlogged processing plants across the nation.

“The meat and poultry industries are facing critical backlogs. The best solution to the problem is getting processing facilities back up and running at capacity and to have state-based solutions,” Enzi said.

The letter was led by U.S. Senator Mike Rounds, R-S.D., and also signed by U.S. Senators Angus King I-Maine, Steve Daines, R-Mont., Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Jon Tester, D-Mont., Tina Smith, D-Minn., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.