As Oregon lawmakers gather in a special legislative session to address the impact the coronavirus has had on the state’s economy and resources, one piece of legislation being discussed could help the Oregon cattle industry in the long run.
Jerome Rosa, Executive Director of the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association said lawmakers are discussing a return of the state’s meat inspection program. That program was discontinued in the 1970’s as a money saving effort. Rosa noted, during this pandemic, consumers want to know more about their food. But what they learned he noted, is the hoops that Oregon producers need to jump through if they want local USDA graded meat.
“We do have 13 small USDA inspected plants, in Oregon, but they are very small, and they are very limited in capacity. And we have another 16 of these mom/pop type of lockers.”
Rosa said the proposed legislation would look at security federal funds, with the help of senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, to improve those existing facilities and bring them up to current USDA requirements, as well as reinstate the state meat inspection program.
Rosa said this proposal would help smaller operators across the state, by allowing for sales opportunities that don’t currently exist.
“You know, it will also help the bigger guys too that there will be more opportunities. So, they won’t be 100% tied in to one particular plant or local plant. They will have some other options. Will it meet all of their needs, we’ll likely never know. But, it will be an additional option.”
Rosa added, additional options are always good for increasing bottom line prices for Oregon ranchers.
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