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Senator Marshall Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Support Livestock Producers

US Senator Dr. Roger Marshall
US Senator Dr. Roger Marshall

US Senator Roger Marshall has introduced bipartisan legislation with Senator Peter Welch of Vermont that would give livestock and poultry producers greater access to consumers nationwide.

Right now, meat and poultry cannot be sold across state lines unless it was processed at a USDA inspected facility. The Direct Interstate Retail Exemption for Certain Transaction Act (DIRECT) creates a narrow exemption to allow small producers and butchers more flexibility for interstate sales without compromising food safety nor jeopardizing international trade market access.

"During the pandemic, we saw first-hand the resiliency challenges of our food sector - millions of people stopped going to restaurants and started looking to cattle producers to source their beef directly from the farm. Unfortunately, the number of USDA-inspected facilities needed to meet consumer demand was lacking," Senator Marshall said. "The DIRECT Act creates a small and simple exemption to allow state-inspected butchers to sell meat and poultry online directly to a household consumer. If Kansans can buy meat directly from my butcher, my butcher should be able to sell their meat to consumers out-of-state as well."

"Our small farms face profound challenges every day. The DIRECT Act will help small meat and poultry producers find new markets and keep their businesses thriving," said Senator Welch. "I'm glad to partner with Senator Marshall on this bipartisan legislation."

"American consumers are buying beef in new ways, whether it is directly from local farms and ranches or online through e-commerce," said NCBA President-Elect Mark Eisele, a Wyoming cattle producer. "The DIRECT Act allows smaller processors to sell beef in different and innovative ways, supporting cattle producers while also ensuring the safety of our product. NCBA is proud to support the DIRECT Act and we thank Senators Marshall and Welch for their efforts to strengthen the cattle and beef industry."

"The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need for improvements to America's robust food supply chain. We appreciate Senators Marshall and Welch for their work on the DIRECT Act, which will provide America's families with more options in where they buy their meat while creating new opportunities for farmers and ranchers to reach new customers," said Zippy Duvall, President of the American Farm Bureau Federation.

"KLA applauds Senator Marshall's and Senator Welch's support of livestock producers with introduction of the DIRECT Act," said KLA Chief Executive Officer Matt Teagarden. "Kansas producers have an opportunity to market their high-quality beef directly to consumers, but many lack access to federally inspected meat plants. The DIRECT Act would offer new direct-to-consumer options for producers by allowing interstate sales of state inspected meat, while keeping protections in place to remain in compliance with current trade agreements."

"Like many states, Kansas has a strong meat inspection program with standards at least equal to federal requirements. The DIRECT Act would recognize this by allowing state-inspected processors to sell their products directly to consumers across state lines. This bill will open up new opportunities for producers and offer new variety to consumers all while ensuring food safety remains the first priority," said Joe Newland, Kansas Farm Bureau President.

"Our members support every effort to create new markets for pork products while supporting local businesses," said Tim Stroda, President and CEO of the Kansas Pork Association. "We appreciate Senator Marshall's and Senator Welch's support of our industry's efforts to create additional choices for consumers that happen to live across state lines."

(Information courtesy Senator Marshall's Office.)