Hoeven Helps Introduce Legislation to Expand Ranchers' Ability to Sell to Local Consumers

Senator Working to Improve Beef Producers’ Access to Fair & Transparent Markets

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee and a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, recently helped reintroduce the Processing Revival and Intrastate Meat Exemption (PRIME) Act. The bipartisan legislation, which is sponsored by U.S. Senators Angus King (I-Maine) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.), would expand ranchers’ ability to provide more locally-produced meat to consumers.

“While we continue working to address issues of fairness and transparency in cattle markets, this legislation would provide additional options for our ranchers to get their products to consumers,” said Hoeven. “By enabling custom slaughterhouses to sell to people and businesses within their state of residence, we can help ensure more market access for producers.”

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. The bill does not preempt any state law concerning the slaughter of animals or the sale of meat products. In addition to Hoeven, King and Paul, the legislation is cosponsored by Senators Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah).

The PRIME Act aligns with Hoeven’s ongoing work to ensure ranchers have access to more competitive markets and to improve fairness and transparency in the beef industry. Among other efforts, the senator recently:

  • Helped introduce bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) that would require a minimum of 50 percent of a meat packer’s weekly volume of beef slaughter be purchased on the open or spot market.
  • Urged Attorney General Merrick Garland to continue the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) investigation into the nation’s four biggest meatpackers, in a letter led by Senator John Thune (R-S.D.) and Representative Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.).
    • The DOJ began its inquiry into meatpacking companies last year, after Hoeven and his colleagues made the case to DOJ to investigate alleged price manipulation and anticompetitive behavior in the cattle industry.