Ohio is the first state to join the interstate meat shipment program created by the 2008 Farm Bill, the USDA announced this month.
Ohio Farm Bureau had been advocating for the program for several years.
The program provides an opportunity for state-inspected meat and poultry processors to ship their prodcuts across state lines, helping these small businesses access new markets.
“Before this agreement was finalized, small and specialty meat processors in Ohio who are inspected daily by the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) were prohibited from selling their products over state lines. You had to be inspected by the federal government to do that despite the fact that our state inspection program has been rated as “at least equal to” the federal program since 1969. It just didn’t make sense,” said Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Dave Daniels.
Under the new agreement, small, state-inspected businesses with 25 or fewer employees will now be permitted to sell their products across state lines. Meat products produced in selected estabilshments will be subject to the same regulatory sampling programs as those established in the federal inspection program.
Following the announcement, several Ohio facilities said they expected an increase in business as a result of new opportunities from the agreement.