Lucas: PRICE Act Addresses Vulnerabilities in the Meat Supply Chain

According to Oklahoma Republican representative Frank Lucas, the Price Reform in Cattle Economics, or PRICE Act, addresses areas of critical importance for cattle producers. He noted the pandemic highlighted the weaknesses and vulnerabilities in the U.S. meat supply chain.

“It demonstrated though this was an ultra-efficient system we have, just how susceptible it was, whether it was sick employees in a packing plant or restaurants couldn’t take that half of the meat supply that was packaged and designed for their sales, or when consumers in panic went to the grocery store and discovered that there wasn’t enough hamburger or bacon, or chicken breast to meet their needs. It demonstrated a bunch of these things and this may be the time hopefully with the momentum we gained here to try and focus on that.”

Included in the bill are existing legislative proposals to open new markets for state-inspected beef products, such as the Direct Interstate Retail Exemption for Certain Transactions Act, and new provisions to aid producer-owned beef processing facilities and increase transparency in fed cattle transactions.

“The goal of the PRICE Act of course is to maintain what I would describe as a robust food safety inspection system, but it also tries to create the opportunity for producer owned processors to develop a better capacity,” Lucas continued. “When one plant in western Kansas processes five percent of the meat in the country, and that facility, if it goes down is at risk is a huge danger. So how do you encourage more smaller facilities.”

The former Chairman of the House Ag Committee believes that the various elements of the PRICE Act can help cattle producers improve their chances of survival in the days ahead- if the measure can gain the traction needed to be passed by Congress and signed into law, possibly during a lame duck Congress.

Click Here to read the legislation proposed by South Dakota Representative Dusty Johnson.

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