Great Falls, MT- Montana Farmers Union appreciates the efforts of two state law makers whose work to amend HB 2, the budget bill, that will allow the State to explore more opportunities for meat processing as well as level the playing field for custom butchers.
The two bills sponsored by Rep. Brandon Ler and Sen. Ken Bogner proposed significant changes to state and custom exempt meat inspection for sale of meats. The USDA threatened to refuse funding for meat inspection if these bills passed in their original form.
Montana Farmers Union President Walter Schweitzer appealed to Senator Bogner to include an amendment that would allow the Montana Board of Livestock to apply and implement a Cooperative Interstate Shipment (CIS) agreement with the Food Safety Inspection Service. Sen. Bogner agreed and was successful in implementing the CIS program in HB 2. Rep. Ler’s bill, HB 336, explores the opportunity of an interstate cooperative meatpacking compact that has the necessary protections in place for our state inspected meat processors.
“The actions taken by Rep. Ler and Sen. Bogner will ensure that our meat inspection process is not at risk,” said Schweitzer. “I have always felt that it is ridiculous that foreign countries are able to process meat and sell across the United States, and yet a state Inspected plant that meets the same standard is unable to sell across state lines. The CIS will allow for state inspected plants to sell across state lines and to export. Thank you Rep. Ler and Sen. Bogner for your support of Montana agriculture.”