Hoeven Cosponsors PRIME Act to Support Local Ranchers

Senator Pressing for DOJ Investigation into Market Manipulation, Secured Assistance for Ranchers in CARES Act

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee and a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, today cosponsored the Processing Revival and Intrastate Meat Exemption (PRIME) Act, legislation expanding ranchers’ ability to provide more locally-produced meat to consumers. The bipartisan, bicameral PRIME Act was introduced by Senators Angus King, Rand Paul and Lamar Alexander, and is also being cosponsored by Senators Marsha Blackburn and Kevin Cramer. The legislation is also supported by North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring. 

“Our ranchers are facing real challenges and we’re working to do all we can to support them,” said Hoeven. “The PRIME Act will help our ranchers to more easily sell their meat to consumers in their state when using custom slaughterhouses. This is good for our producers, who will have additional options for processing and marketing their products and will help consumers have access to more locally-raised meat.”

Current law exempts custom slaughterhouses from federal inspection regulations if they process meat for personal consumption. The PRIME Act would expand the exemption to allow the sale of products to household consumers, restaurants, hotels, boarding houses, grocery stores, or other establishments in the State in which the custom slaughter facility is located.

In addition to cosponsoring the PRIME Act, Hoeven has been working to support cattle ranchers, including:

  • Making the case for the Department of Justice to investigate price manipulation in the cattle market, including joining Senator Deb Fischer in pressing Attorney General William Barr to investigate suspected price manipulation and anticompetitive behavior in the cattle industry.
  • Pressing USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue to investigate continued allegations of price fixing within the cattle industry. USDA announced in April that it is initiating an investigation. Hoeven has also repeatedly raised the issue with Greg Ibach, Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, stressing the need for strong oversight to prevent anti-competitive behavior.
  • Working with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, administration officials and farm state senators, including Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, John Boozman and Thom Tillis,to ensure food processing plants are able to safely operate, which is vital to maintaining the nation’s food supply and ensuring producers are able to market their products.
  • Securing nearly $25 billion, including $9.5 billion in emergency funding specifically for ranchers and specialty producers, to support producers in the CARES Act. 

Hoeven continues working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to get assistance out to cattle ranchers as quickly as possible, including direct payments under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP).