FARFA Sends PRIME Act Letter to Congress

This week, FARFA sent a letter to U.S. House Agriculture Committee members, urging them to move forward with the PRIME Act. More than 50 nonprofit organizations and 200 farmers and ranchers from across the country joined us on the letter, seeking to help our farmers during this crisis and beyond by lifting unnecessary regulatory barriers on custom slaughterhouses.

Last week, we alerted you to the impact COVID-19 is having on the factory-scale packing facilities that process most of the country’s meat and poultry. And we told you about a solution Congress could provide: the PRIME Act. (Read more about the bill at the end of this alert.)

We’re asking you to call your U.S. legislators and urge them to sign on to the PRIME Act, H.R. 2859 and S. 1620. 

As we told you last week, the PRIME Act has languished in Congress for five years. This law, if passed, will help get local meats to U.S. consumers and ease the possibility of widespread meat shortages due to COVID-19. Ten more Representatives signed on to the bill last week, but we need more support to get it moving!

Please help get this Act passed so we can start building a more resilient food system in this country.


TAKE ACTION #1

Call your U.S. Representative and Senators and urge them to sign on to H.R. 2859 and S. 1620.  You can look up who represents you here or call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.

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!

BONUS: When you call, ask for an email address for the staffer who handles agriculture bills, and then send that staffer the link to the sign on letter.

SAMPLE MESSAGE:

As a constituent, I urge Representative ____ to co-sponsor H.R. 2859, the PRIME Act.  [OR: I urge Senator ___ to co-sponsor S.1620, the PRIME Act.]

As a constituent, I urge Representative ____ to co-sponsor H.R. 2859, the PRIME Act.  [OR: 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, subject to state law. This returns power to the states to establish a regulatory scheme that makes sense for their citizens.

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 H.R. 2859 [or 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.


TAKE ACTION #2:

If you represent a nonprofit organization or own a ranch or farm

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 you are located in.


MORE INFORMATION

Consolidation within our meat industry has led to most meat being processed at massive plants where as many as 400 cattle are slaughtered an hour, or as many as three chickens per second. Workers in these facilities labor under very difficult and often unsafe conditions – conditions that turned the facilities into COVID hotspots. 

Even without the current shutdowns, small-scale livestock farmers have few places they can take their animals for processing. In some areas of the country, the nearest USDA or equivalent state facility may be several hours’ drive away or more.

There are alternatives, known as “custom slaughterhouses,” which legally operate in many states. But the meat from them can only be provided back to – and consumed by the family of – the person who owned the animal when it entered the slaughterhouse. A farmer who wants to sell his or her beef, lamb, goat, or pork to consumers at a local farmers’ market or other local outlet cannot use a custom slaughterhouse.

The PRIME Act repeals the federal ban on the sale of meat from custom slaughterhouses, returning control to the states to permit producers to sell meat processed at a custom slaughterhouse within the state. These facilities meet state regulations as well as basic federal requirements. They are typically very small with few employees, meaning they are better able to provide necessary social distancing and sanitation measures while safely continuing operations.

Read more in our sign-on letter to Congress.

View the updated list of House sponsors of H.R. 2859   

View the Senate sponsors