LINCOLN — Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) provided written guidance to USDA relative to how to utilize the additional funding that is being made available by the Biden Administration to expand the capacity of small meat processing facilities.
In their comments, NeFU offered their strong support of the “overarching and comprehensive comments offered by National Farmers Union.”
NeFU said in their letter, “NeFU strongly supports President Biden’s Executive Order on competition, and the need to develop a more diverse and secure food supply chain and agricultural economy.”
In addition, NeFU also offered general support for the “letter offered by Michael J. Boehm, Ph.D., University of Nebraska Vice President, and IANR Harlan Vice Chancellor and their request for funding for workforce education and development as well as paperwork assistance for smaller meat packer compliance.”
NeFU ’s comments made it clear the additional funding should not go the large USDA inspected meat packers. NeFU supported proportioning financial funding to expand the capacity and diversity of our meat processing system to include the following kinds of meat processing:
- Existing small USDA inspected meat processing plants that are already comfortable with the additional scheduling and paperwork required to operate a USDA inspected plant. Many of these plants need incentives to modernize and expand their current facilities.
- Existing custom slaughter operations that want to modernize their operations and become USDA inspected facilities so they can sell directly to retail outlets including restaurants and grocery stores as well as sell across state lines.
- Existing custom slaughter operations that want to modernize their operations but do not want to become USDA inspected facilities. Many of these facilities provide critical services to local communities but do not want to take on the additional scheduling, paperwork, reporting, and inspection requirements needed to become USDA inspected plants.
- New federally inspected or USDA inspected custom slaughter plants with a preference for cooperatively or community owned facilities.
- Mobile processing units that can help meet local needs for communities without local meat processing facilities. These kinds of facilities are particularly good at meeting free range poultry processing needs.
“NeFU State President John Hansen said, “The Biden Administration has provided us with an historic opportunity to expand both the capacity and diversity of our meat packing system. That is good for meat producers and meat consumers. When small plants modernize, they become more efficient while expanding their capacity.”
Nebraska Farmers Union is a general farm organization with 3,841 farm and ranch family members dedicated to protecting and enhancing the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers and ranchers, and their rural communities. Since 1913, Nebraska Farmers Union has helped organize over 445 cooperatives.
— Nebraska Farmers Union
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