Small meat processors could face tens of thousands of dollars in new costs

Buckeye Farm News

Small and independent meat processors are at significant economic risk due to new and costly requirements under a new federal regulatory proposal, according to American Farm Bureau Federation.

The draft document from the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) spells out new and costly requirements for local meat processors under the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) Systems Validation proposal.

In a letter to FSIS, Farm Bureau stated that many of its members who raise livestock, “rely on small and independent meat processors” to process meat they raise for their own consumption. In addition, local meat processors offer farmers and ranchers “opportunities to create specialty and value-added products marketed through niche outlets.”

“(Local meat processing) facilities are most at risk from increased costs due to (new validation costs for) multiple species and multiple products, with a relatively low volume over which to spread those costs,” AFBF’s letter stated. “The loss of small and very small establishments would be devastating to our livestock-producing members.”

AFBF also said it has received “literally hundreds of concerns” from small, independent meat processors over the last three months pointing out the damaging economic consequences of the proposed rule. Increased compliance costs ranged from $65,000 to approximately $640,000 per year for those local plants.


In Better News

Farm Bureau is pleased with a new proposed rule that the U.S. Department of Agriculture said would address concerns “related to increasing consolidation and vertical integration in the livestock and poultry marketplace.”

“For too long producers have had to bear the financial hardship of being at the whim of production contractors, resulting in inequality in production practices, increasing losses and decreasing profitability,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. “The (proposed rule) would level the playing field.”

Included in the proposal are protections for farmers that are required to provide expensive capital upgrades to their growing facilities as well as improvements in market transparency and competition.

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