U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND) announced today he is cosponsoring the Processing Revival and Intrastate Meat Exemption (PRIME) Act, bipartisan and bicameral legislation which would make it easier for small farms and ranches to provide locally-produced meats to consumers.

“Making it easier for local producers to get their product to market strengthens our food supply chain,” said Senator Cramer. “In the United States, 80 percent of meat is processed by four companies, two of which are foreign-owned. Legislation like the PRIME Act is a positive step toward protecting our food supply and preventing pandemics like COVID-19 from further disrupting it.”

North Dakota agricultural leaders also voiced their support for the legislation.

“We understand the specific and unique needs of our states meat processing industry and the consumer,” said North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring. “We believe that this bill will ensure food security in our communities.”

“It is important to increase opportunities for competition within the highly consolidated harvest and processing industry by reducing roadblocks to allow smaller facilities some much needed flexibility,” said Daryl Lies, President of the North Dakota Farm Bureau. “It is good for farmers and ranchers as well as consumers!”

The PRIME Act – introduced by Senators Angus King (I-ME), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) - would give individual states the option to permit intrastate distribution of custom-slaughtered meat. Representatives Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Chellie Pingree (D-ME) authored companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

“All across Maine, local farmers are creating superior agricultural products – however, they are encumbered by one-size-fits-all regulations designed with larger producers in mind, limiting their access to processing facilities and additional markets,” said Senator King. “Now more than ever, these obstacles are a major hindrance to both our farms, who need every tool possible to stay afloat during the coronavirus crisis, and our consumers who are looking for local products amidst potential shortages. Let’s make sure that local farmers can feed their neighbors, both during this pandemic and after it’s over.

“Thank you Senator Kevin Cramer for cosponsoring the PRIME Act. The PRIME Act now has 5 sponsors in the Senate and thirty-eight sponsors in the House!” said Representative Massie. “This bipartisan bill will empower American farmers and American-owned processors to provide wholesome beef and pork to local consumers.”