It’s not too late: Call your Senators to support local meat!

   

We know we’ve asked for your help to pass the PRIME Act several times in recent weeks … but getting bills passed in Congress takes persistence. Your calls truly make a difference to whether we can succeed with this important reform for small farmers and consumer access to locally raised meat! 

Our best shot right now is in the Senate, which is still considering what to include in the next COVID relief bill. You can find out latest Action Item below on how you can best help now.

The PRIME Act would allow the sale of meat processed at “custom slaughterhouses” within the same state, either direct to consumers or to restaurants and retailers who in turn sell direct to consumers. This means transparent, accountable meat sources to supply our local communities.

The PRIME Act is vital to supporting small-scale, local farmers both during this crisis and beyond. Huge meatpackers continue to be closed or operating with reduced production. In the meantime, wait times to get animals processed at the few small USDA-inspected slaughterhouses or their state equivalents in most states are now a year or more! We’ve heard of some slaughterhouses booking all the way out to 2022 – in other words, farmers having to reserve slots for animals that haven’t even been born yet

Small farmers are facing months without income, while consumers are seeing skyrocketing meat prices. At the same time, custom slaughterhouses are already operating safely in every state. They provide meat for hunters, homesteaders, and “cow share owners” – it makes no sense to prevent small farmers from selling meat processed in those facilities into their local markets. 

Please call your U.S. Senators and urge them to sign on to the PRIME Act, S. 1620.  

Even if you have called before, please call again! We need to keep the pressure on our elected officials to truly support local farmers and local food.

   


   

TAKE ACTION #1

   

Call both of your U.S. Senators and urge them to sign on to S. 1620. You can look up who represents you and how to contact them at our Elected Officials Lookup page.

Below is a sample message for your call or email. Use this sample message only as a starting point – put the ideas into your own words and focus on why this is important to you. Personalized messages are the best way to convince legislators!

If you have called or emailed them already, say that – tell them that you are calling again to find out where the Senator stands because this issue is really important to you.

BONUS: When you call, ask for an email address for the staffer who handles agriculture bills – and then send that staffer the link to our sign on letter to Congress and our PRIME Act Fact Sheet.

SAMPLE MESSAGE:

As a constituent, I urge Senator _____ to co-sponsor S.1620, the PRIME Act.

As Americans face potential meat shortages due to the closing of massive meatpackers, it is more important than ever to revitalize our local food production and processing. The PRIME Act opens up options for small livestock farms and ranches by removing the federal ban on the sale of meat from custom slaughterhouses within a state. These small-scale processors will remain subject to the basic federal regulations that already apply to them, as well as any additional provisions imposed by the states.

At a time when we see empty grocery store shelves, and media headlines about the failure of massive meatpacking companies to safely secure our food supply, this bill provides vital opportunities – and many long-term benefits. The PRIME Act supports local food production and small businesses, while also reducing vehicle miles traveled with livestock trailers, and helping to meet the consumer demand for locally raised meat.

Please support consumers and small farmers by co-sponsoring S. 1620.

Name, City & State

If you are a livestock producer, take a few extra minutes and ask to speak to the staffer who handles agricultural issues. Briefly explain to the staffer any problems you have faced with lack of access to inspected slaughterhouses, and how the PRIME Act would help your business and benefit your customers. And then send an email to follow up, with the sign on letter and a request that they let you know if their boss supports the bill. 

If your legislators are already sponsors (find out here), thank them and ask them to push the Congressional leadership to include the bill in the next COVID response bill!

   


   

TAKE ACTION #2

   

Call Your U.S. Representative

After you have called both your U.S. Senators, if you have time, also call your U.S. Representative. You can use the same sample message for ideas, just remember to change it to asking them to co-sponsor H.R. 2859. Get their contact info at our Elected Officials Lookup page.

And you can check here to see if your Representative is already one of the bill’s sponsors.

   


   

TAKE ACTION #3

   

If you represent a non-profit organization or own a farm or ranch:

We are continuing to take additional “sign-ons” for the letter to Congress. If you want your nonprofit, farm, or ranch added, please fill out this form

If you have problems with the form, email Judith@farmandranchfreedom.org with your name, the name of your organization/farm, the type of entity (national nonprofit, regional or state nonprofit, local nonprofit, or farm/ranch), your title with the entity, and the state in which you are located.

   


   

MORE INFORMATION

   

Federal regulations take a one-size-fits-all approach that favors large meatpackers – despite numerous foodborne illness outbreaks from those plants. Small-scale processors struggle to deal with the regulations, particularly as applied by USDA inspectors who are biased by decades of federal policies telling producers to “get big or get out.”

As a result, small-scale livestock farmers have few options for animal processing. In some areas of the country, the nearest USDA or equivalent state facility may be several hours’ drive away.

Find out more about the alternative offered by the PRIME Act – custom slaughterhouses – at these links:

Read our sign-on letter to Congress

Read our PRIME Act Fact Sheet

Read previous PRIME Act Action Alerts